Nov 27, 2020Roby Lake parking lot

Roby Lake parking lot – seems these small SUVs are all the rage. Just as well I didn’t know that when we bought ours. Paddy Creek Wilderness, Day One. November 2020. Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

The Annual Diocesan Convention (the work project that has been keeping me busy for the past three months) and Thanksgiving are over. There’s a break in the weather, and I can spend two-and-a-half days backpacking. The forecast is for two good (but maybe cold) days before rain sets in. That sounds a lot like how my last visit here back in February played out. Only this time the ground won’t be frozen.

Despite getting everything ready Thursday night, I still managed to leave home an hour later than I planned. Some unfinished work items kept me busy for a couple of hours. It was almost one o’clock when I finally hit the trail. Three guys, hiking the loop counter clockwise — the same direction I was going — had just set off. I gave them a few minutes headstart so I could have the trail to myself.

I didn’t notice when I was taking this picture, but it seems these small SUVs are very popular. We knew they were being snapped up when we bought ours, but I didn’t realize I’d be coming across entire trailhead parking lots full of them. It’s probably just as well I didn’t know that, or I might have held out for something a little different. I don’t like being cast as a member of the herd.

The plan

The plan for the next few days was simple, but this trip was a bit of a last minute idea, so I had not researched my routes and mileages, relying instead on my memory from my last visit. The overall plan was to do a figure of eight loop, hiking the ‘short cut’ between the north and south loops twice.

Day One (Green)

Hike the South Trail to the ‘Short Cut’ and switch to the North Trail and Camp near the three creeks confluence, where I camped last time I was here.

Day Two (Blue)

Hike the North Loop to the Big Piney Trail Camp, and then take the (gravel) road and find the Slabtown Overlook. Then return to the Big Piney Trail Camp, and hike the South Loop to the junction with the short cut, and take the short cut and camp near Little Piney Creek (hopefully I’d scout out a camping spot on Day One). If that was too far, or I was delayed I’d stop near Big Paddy Creek.

Day Three (Red)

The weather is due to break, with rain in the forecast, so assuming my main plan worked out, and I camped on the short cut, I had a five mile hike on the North Loop back to the Roby Lake Trailhead. On my first visit I hiked this section in the rain. One day I’ll get to hike it in better weather.

Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

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