Near Floyd Tower Road, heading towards Harmon Spring Trail Camp.
The day started dull and grey, with the overnight temperature somewhere around 45°F but it warmed up to 80°F later and was nice and sunny at times. We had a slow start, a problem we encountered most of the trip, what with sitting in our bags chatting, drinking coffee and eating breakfast, breaking camp and taking pictures. We never seemed to get away before eleven!
Our plan was to camp somewhere near Harmon Spring Trail Camp, and once we were on our way we stopped only briefly so that I could take pictures of one of the old campground grills, which are scattered around the area and are being slowly consumed by the undergrowth. I also took a picture of the completely unspectacular spring, actually an artesian well, which looks like a large metal gate post stuck in the ground, out of which runs a length of metal pipe with a bit of rubber tube on the end from which the water runs into a concrete trough. We’d already taken water from the creek – we use a MSR SweetWater Water Purifier System which combines an active charcoal filter plus a chlorine treatment, so we didn’t need to help ourselves to the spring water.
The problem with stopping near water (apart from the noisy frogs) is that it generally means the next day’s hike will invariably start with a climb of some sort. Today was no different, after a short walk up a hollow the trail started to climb a total of some 260 feet. It was fairly easy going, and after that the trail tended to hug the ridge contours. We crossed a couple of forest roads which is where I took today’s picture. The trail ran along side but not visible from a couple of gravel roads for a mile of so.
Soon the trail started to descend off the ridge towards Little Brazil Creek, near the bottom we passed a large man-made stock/wildlife pond. once in the bottom of the valley the going was fairly boring for a while, and it was difficult to work out exactly how far down the valley we’d progressed. We stopped for a quick trail mix snack after crossing a small creek. Shortly after, we crossed Little Brazil Creek and the trail to Harmon Spring Trail Camp was very wet and muddy. We realised afterwards that someone had blazed (follow the orange tapes) a higher and drier alternative trail. I was fine but very dirty squelching my way through the mud, Ginger had to do a lot of bushwhacking to avoid the worst of the mud and water.
Harmon Spring Trail Camp is obviously well used. There was a wonderful display of daffodils around a couple of the trees. Seemingly either brought in by the horses that are obviously tied up there, or providing more fertile ground for the daffs to grow in.
The area was too well used for our liking, so after a quick look at the huge stock pond built around the spring we carried on along the trail until we crossed Little Brazil Creek for the final time. At this point the trail then climbs back onto the ridge over to Brazil Creek. We left the trail following a forest road running North parallel to Little Brazil Creek, and bushwhacked off the road to find a camping spot near the creek. The weather forecast was good, and the overnight temperature predicted to be up in the fifties, so we decided to not set the tent’s fly, and watch the stars from our bed. I found a pool in the creek deep enough for a good, if cold, wash.
We spent the evening sat by the creek watching the sun go down and eating one pot pasta and chicken followed by rice pudding serenaded by hundreds of ‘peepers’.