Savage Gulf - Hobbs Cabin Backpack Feb 22-23, 2014
Charlotte and Kim from Murfreesboro and Ann from Clarksville enjoyed a night out under the stars at Hobbs Cabin this past weekend. Charlotte was the tour guide since this was Ann and Kim’s first trip to the cabin. The weather was perfect! Sunshine, clear skies and warm breezes were a welcome relief (and an apology) from Old Man Winter.
We started our “there and back” hike to the cabin at the Savage Gulf Ranger Station. A sign tacked to the kiosk warned of bears and to hang all food. For a brief moment, we thought we were in the Smokies. First stop - Savage Falls. We gratefully dropped our packs to cross the suspension bridge and appreciate the falls. After Thursday night’s storm, the creeks and streams were swollen, and the falls were higher and more powerful than remembered. As Ann said - the sound of the rushing water played as background music for most of the hike.
On our return to the main trail, we met a large group of Boy Scouts from Murfreesboro whose leaders were instructing them on Trail Etiquette. We eavesdropped for a bit and then continued on to the North Rim trail. Once on this trail, we stopped several times to appreciate the views, eat lunch on a ledge, and soak up the sun. Along the way, we side-stepped fallen trees, untangled from groping green briars, rock-hopped across streams, and even enjoyed an old-fashioned foot washing. The water was COLD, but invigorating and soothing to tired achy feet.
After 9 relatively level (but long) miles, the cabin was a welcome sight. We chose a prime spot with level ground, a big fire ring, healthy trees, and great views for star gazing. Charlotte, the expert fire-builder, gathered tons of dry-ish wood as Ann and Kim filtered and hauled gallons of water uphill both ways. Shortly afterwards, the Boy Scouts arrived and received more instructions from their leaders - this time on Camp Etiquette. Again we eavesdropped a bit, decided they were good neighbors and then went about the business of setting up camp.
After the sun settled down (and the Scouts), we sat around Charlotte’s fire, ate a delicious dinner, swapped hiking stories, and star-gazed. About 8:30 Kim made a feeble attempt to hang her food in the only tree with a branch, and we called it a night.
The Scouts were up and out early the next morning practically without a sound, but we lingered over coffee, tea and conversation as the sun warmed the day. Our hike back to the Ranger Station was similar to the hike to the cabin: perfect weather, lethal green briars, blown down trees, multiple stream crossings, and another foot washing. But something was different. Time in the woods does that – transforms the everyday into something miraculous. Maybe this is the true lesson.