This would be my first Solo Backpacking trip and the first one with my Buddy Spot coming along. I headed out Friday night (3/11/11) from Lexington, KY to Great Meadow Campground on the KY side of BSF. Had heard and read good things about it so decided to check up on it. Its a little off the beaten path (about 17 miles from US 27 on gravel roads) but was definitely a nice place to camp. Only 12 sites open this time of year, but I had the place all to myself, plus its a free campground which made it even better. I picked a nice spot tucked under the trees near the water. It was around 32 degrees F when I went to bed, but I was plenty warm in my tent and slept very well.
Got up Saturday in no rush and enjoyed coffee and oatmeal as I broke down camp. Ended up heading back to Stearns, KY to buy my backcountry pass but the Visitor Center there was closed and not to open until April. So I hopped back on 27 and went to Bandy Creek to buy a pass there. After a brief visit with the rangers there I made my way up to Twin Arches trailhead.
I got started on the trail at 12:30pm and decided to go see Twin Arches and then make a push to Jake's Place. I was in no hurry (with this trip being low on mileage) and was wanting to enjoy the sights and smell's of this new place in BSF for me. Twin Arches were very impressive and after lingering for a while, kept on towards Jake's Place. By the time I reached there, I could feel some hot spots on the back of my heels from my new Scarpa Mountaineering boots I was breaking in for a trip out west this summer. There was a nice campsite at Jake's place in the meadow I passed on, and good thing because another mile down the trail I found a wonderful little spot under a grove of Hemlock trees and nestled between two creeks of water. Much better than the previous spot I passed. This would be my camp for the night and I arrived at around 2:30pm. A nice easy day on the trail with plenty of time to setup camp and enjoy nature in my hammock.
Sunday morning was more of the same. A late leisurely start and on the trail by 10:45am after breaking down camp. About 1/2 mile up the trail I stopped off at Charit Creek Lodgel to check it out and talk to some of the workers who were preparing for opening weekend. Ill have to plan a trip back here sometime to enjoy the accommodations here and a real meal on the trail. After leaving here it was a hard mile push uphill back to the car and and end to a wonderful weekend with beautiful weather in Big South Fork.
Twin Arches is a great loop to remember if I ever take novice backpacker's out. Its low mileage, plenty of cool geological features to see, and plenty of water along the trail to refill at.