Date: January 26-27, 2002
Location: Trail 206 Sipsey Wilderness Area
Trail: 5-10 Miles Some day hike Some Overnight
Members: Tim “Two-Pole” Webb, Marty “Navigator” Schulman, “Bomber” Brown, Nena Brown, Danny Millwood, Kim Millwood, Mike “Hank” Henshaw and Gary “Whiteman” White
Guests: Kathy Gilbreath, Kathy Dolman, Will Weaver and Jim Temple.
This has to be one of the most complicated hikes as far as logistics are concerned. “Hank” and “Whiteman” loaded a tremendous amount of gear in their canoes at the Thompson Creek bridge and proceeded to float downstream to the appointed campsite at the eye of the needle. “Two-Pole” and “Navigator” along with Kathy, Kathy, Will (no relation to won’t) and Jim headed up Whiteoak hollow and across the ridge to Bee Branch. After touring the East Fork of Bee Branch they proceeded downstream then back up the ridge to the old road number 205. While testing the stability of the footlog across the branch, “Navigator” decided that it was moderately stable - just as he fell through with a portion of the footlog try to occupy the space that should be occupied by his brain. The group soon learned that contrary to popular belief they should follow “Two-Pole” instead of “Navigator”.
Now, back to the remaining four members of this fine trip. “Bomber”, Nena, Kim and Danny hiked down trail 206 to rendezvous with their gear that had been transported to their campsite. The recent rains provided for some great waterfalls and the weather was perfect.
The overnighters had camp set up by the time the dayhikers arrived and announced that they were in need of medical attention for “Navigator”. First aid kits appeared from everywhere and it was decided that since Nena had been inside a hospital once that she should be the one to perform surgery. It was soon discovered that with the proximity of the foreign material to the brain that this would be classified as micro-surgery. When Nena found that she did not have the strength to remove the footlog, Danny’s assistance was procured and soon “Navigator” was patched up as good as new (not to say how good that was).
After a short rest, all went to explore the bluffs above the campsite. The views were great and everyone enjoyed the afternoon but “Hank” was concerned about the rapids just below camp.
Soon the dayhikers had to leave to travel back up trail 206 to their vehicles. The others gathered firewood and prepared supper. It is hard to not enjoy an evening in the Wilderness when you have the comforts of lawn chairs, hammocks, charcoal fires (to grill your steak on), salad, ice cold soft drinks and freeze dried ice cream. As usual there were plenty of tall tales told around the campfires the night wore on. “Hank” was able to stay awake until 9:30 due to his 2 hour afternoon snore.
By daylight the fire was rekindled and Danny was complaining about being cold. Soon the frying pan came out and bacon and eggs were fried warming everyone's spirits. Camp was broken and cleaned and all the gear carried below the rapids along with “Hanks” canoe but “Whiteman” was determined to go through them before loading gear and heading to the Cranal Road crossing. The hikers traveled downstream then turned North along the old road number 205 then down Whiteoak hollow to the trailhead. Even with all this walking and then driving to the Picnic Grounds they beat the slow float team to their take-out point.
Most agreed that this was the most enjoyable trip they had been on in this area.
Submitted this the 31st day of January 2002 by “Whiteman”.
Nena,Bomber, Jim and Whiteman at Eye of needle "Whiteman" at rapids near Eye of the Needle
Nena does stick removal surgery on "Navigator" Group tends camp near Eye of the Needle