Backpacking Trip Report
We walked in at about lunchtime on Thursday and for the first time in a while the weather was perfect, daytime temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s with lows in the 50s, fantastic! There had been a front come through the day before with hard thunderstorms and the creek was still up just a bit, worrying me that the fishing might be a bit slow. My worries were well-founded, at least on the first day. After we got everything set up I grabbed my rod to see if I could catch a few fish. The outfit I used on this trip was an 8'9" TFO finesse 3wt, a Lamson waterworks reel, and Cortland peach 3wt line. Fishing was very slow, I caught a total of 3 fish, none of which was very large. Patrick, my partner on this trip, had the same luck only catching a couple. That did not upset me too badly, just being out in this gorgeous part of western North Carolina is good enough, fish are just a bonus. I did have high hopes for the coming morning though. Even though we did not catch much fish, there were tons of interesting things to see.
The next morning dawned cool with a few scattered clouds. When I went down to the stream to get water I noticed a fish jumping in the small pool close to camp, a really good sign that fishing would be better today. After breakfast, I grabbed my gear, walked up the trail about a half a mile, and then dropped off through the laurel into the creek. I caught a nice rainbow on my first cast and lost count after that, I caught fish or missed them in every place that looked likely. None were very big, they were average for this stream, but what they lacked in size they made up for in beauty. I even had the good luck to accomplish the Appalachian wild trout grand slam, a rainbow, brook, and brown trout on the same day. The brown was a little fatty, it is obvious he was feeding well. I fished for several hours up to the base of a large waterfall and too tired to go any further climbed back up to the trail and back to camp, a fantastic day!!
I used the same old gear for this trip with one exception, Warbonnet Superfly tarp, Dutchware gear 11' netless hammock, and an Enlightened Equipment Revelation top quilt. The exception was my underquilt, I recently bought an Arrowhead Equipment Jarbridge underquilt. It is insulated with Apex insulation and made right here in the US. At $108 shipped it is a bare-bones quilt, it has the features you need and none of the things you don't. I have to say I was very impressed, the quilt is rated to 25 degrees and even though it got nowhere near that, the coldest it got on this trip was 47 degrees, I stayed warm and toasty. The build quality was tip top and there were no issues with any of the suspension or adjustments and at 20 ounces I know this quilt will be in my bag on many more trips. A little of a disclaimer here, I am not sponsored or an ambassador for any person or company. All of my gear is carefully selected by myself and bought with my own money. The gear I mention or review is all gear that I personally use and trust.
Even though we did not get to explore the headwaters trail, this ended up being an outstanding trip with fantastic weather and fishing. Thanks for reading, and as always if you have any questions or comments just hit me up in the comments.