Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Stratton Bald to Naked Ground

My explorations in Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness continued earlier last month with a nice two-day backpacking trip with Dennis. After my adventure on Slickrock Creek trail, I decided I had better pick something reasonable so as to not lose a friend and settled on the Stratton Bald to Naked Ground loop. I had done Naked Ground earlier in the year and knew it was clear and in good shape and had been told that Stratton Bald trail was also clear so it seemed like there would not be the tangles of deadfall that had tortured me over Labor Day weekend.

Stratton Bald would end up being the crux of this trip with the first day starting with hard hiking on a seldom traveled trail. The beta I had been given ended up not quite being true with the first half of the trail being very overgrown and covered with plenty of deadfalls. I had been up late at the GReensky Bluegrass concert the night before and the trail seemed exceptionally hard to me. Water was at a premium and after losing the trail for a little while due to a rattlesnake when we finally arrived at Obediah Gap where we would make the first camp we had little water left and were rather concerned about what the next day would entail.

Luckily once we got to the Swan Cabin area the trail was indeed clear and there was water to be had. Naked Ground is in phenomenal shape thanks to all the hard work done by SAWs and was quite pleasant hiking down to the bottom where we set up our last camp and had a very relaxing evening before making the leisurely hike out the next morning.












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