13 Dec High Water on Eagle Creek
I left directly from work Friday afternoon and drove through Robbinsville, NC on the way to Twenty-Mile Ranger Station in the Smokies. Along the way it had been raining and as I reached Robbinsville there was a mix of rain and snow. I arrived late at night with the snow coming down. Several young guys arrived and parked soon after I pulled in. They were planning to night hike to the top of Gregory Bald. My plan was more modest and involved hiking a mile or so into campsite 93 where I would spend the night.
December 11th – 13th, 2008
The next day I hiked to Eagle Creek where I had planned to walk to Spencefield Shelter. As I rounded the bend over Campsite 90 I heard roaring water and saw a river that reminded me of a small Colorado river. The water was rushing over rocks and seemed to want to carry everything away.
Crossed here twice at 1st ford, once in each direction.
I had not consulted my brown book and if I had, then I would have known that there were at least 15 fords of Eagle Creek. I made it across the first crossing and at the 2nd crossing I made it to nearly mid-stream when I felt myself about to go weightless. The current was pushing hard against each leg and against each hiking pole. I strained to stay upright as the current swept away one of my hiking poles. At that point I knew that I had to return to the bank, but wasn’t sure I could make it. Very carefully I shuffled along the rocky bottom and made m way out of the strongest current and back to the bank. I couldn’t believe that there were already 2 fords and I thought about a reattempt, but first I consulted the brown book. With the brown book stating that there were at least 6 – 7 difficult crossings with some of the later crossings harder than the first, I knew that it would be foolish to continue on Eagle Creek trail. I returned to Lost Cove Campsite 91 where I built a fire and attempted to dry out.