backpacking
6 months ago

A group of my friends, our 8-10 year old kids and I backpacked the North wilderness last weekend. We started at the Laurel Fork Campground. It was a beautiful place. The trail is overgrown but generally passable. We averaged 1 mile per hour (due in part to lots of breaks for the kids and the overgrown trail). If you lose the trail in the Meadows/Fields, just look for the carins; they mark the trail pretty well.

Be aware, there is very little camping in the North wilderness. We found a nice spot at about 7 miles on the trail. There were several nice spots at 8-9 miles (after the big meadow).

If you are looking for solitude, this is your place. If you are looking for views, this is not your place.

backpacking
8 months ago

Two of us thought we would take a relatively easy all downstream shuttle over night trip. The measured distance of our trip was 9 miles. When we were done we both swore that it was 14 miles. The trail is not maintained except by use and disappeared into meadows of four to five foot tall grass(?). We probably spent 2/3 of the hike looking for the trail. The first day took us 5 hrs to go five miles. The second day took 7 hrs to go the final four. Campsites are virtually non-existent. However, this is a National Wilderness Area and thus you can't expect well maintained and clearly blazed trails. Indeed, other than a few rock cairns, the trail is not blazed at all.
This hike is NOT for a beginner nor weak at heart. I was seventy two and my friend was thirty three. Both of us are experienced backpackers and yet found the hike quite challenging. I'm planning to do the trip again, knowing what to expect and maybe a better way to navigate.