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TR: GSMNP Campsite 39 Pretty Hollow Gap Trail
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Ryan Tucker
(BeartoothTucker) - M
TR: GSMNP Campsite 39 Pretty Hollow Gap Trail on 06/19/2010 11:36:41 MDT Print View

We snuck up to Cataloochee Valley this weekend in the GSMNP for an overnighter. It was a family affair again. We walked 1.7 miles, my daughters longest backpacking trip to date. Good weather, mid 80's with a breeze cooling into the 60's at night. No fireflies to speak of, certainly nothing like we saw in May.

Cataloochee Valley


My wife's pack was 13.8 lbs, mine was 20.3 lbs and my daughters was SUL at 1.2 lbs. Her pack included her white bunny "Lucy", "Bie" blanky, Silver Mist toothbrush, Princess toothpaste and Princess writing pad.

I of course carry her bag, our tent Lightheart Duo, etc...


We walked about .2 of a mile up the trail and saw Elk #20 feeding. She didn't seem to mind us at all, almost enjoyed having her photo made.


creek 1

creek 3


Bought this tent recently and I like most things about it. The views are amazing! It is a 1 year option for my family as we'll out grow the space by next summer. I already have a MLD Super Mid fund going. However, for two it is a great tent. Easy to set up, can't speak for its storm worthiness but we didn't have any condensation issues this trip. We had one side completely open and the other side half open.


This is my first GSMNP trout. I was using my Tenkara Iwana, mainly bow casting on the tiny creek. With family duties I only fished about 40 minutes and caught two bows. This was the first. I was fishing a green inch worm.


Daddy's Girl

The highlights of the trip were seeing the elk and a small black bear. I was the only one that saw the bear. He was running up a hill about 100 yards in front of us. I caught a glimpse of his middle section and hind legs. My guess would be he was about 80-110 lbs. We also saw fresh bear p00p further up the trail.

My daughter can throw rocks into the creek for hours and one over zealous throw caused her to fall into the creek. She was rolling in camp wearing sleeping stuff most of the trip.

Campsite 39 showed some use and one set of the bear cables was busted. The other set worked great. For a campsite close to the road and on a major horse route it was a nice area.

As always we had a great trip.

Edited by BeartoothTucker on 06/19/2010 11:57:15 MDT.

Justin McMinn
(akajut) - F

Locale: Central Oklahoma
Re: TR: GSMNP Campsite 39 Pretty Hollow Gap Trail on 06/21/2010 10:13:16 MDT Print View

Hey Ryan,

Love that last pic! Looks like you may need to start a pink cuben pack fund too!

Did you have much experience fishing before you got your Tenkara? How big was the stream? Any problems with the foliage around the stream?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: TR: GSMNP Campsite 39 Pretty Hollow Gap Trail on 06/21/2010 11:43:37 MDT Print View

I think the last picture is great too!

Ryan Tucker
(BeartoothTucker) - M
fishing on 06/21/2010 12:18:09 MDT Print View

Yea, it has to be pink at least for now. Last year it had to be purple.

I picked up Fly Fishing in Montana, I hesitated on going the Tenkara route because I always felt like the big fish in the high alpine lakes were just out of normal fly fishing reach. Spinner envy! :)

However, most of the creeks I have seen in the smokies seem perfect for Tenkara. The fish size is also perfect for the Iwana a trophy fish in GSMNP is 12 inches or better. The problem in Montana is Lake Gertrude had 8 inch brooks and Black Canyon Lake had 18 inch Cutts. I don't care to have rods for all occasions. So I just stuck with my standard western rod and reel. I never bow casted it though. Which in tree lined lakes would have been a perfect technique.

The creek was Pretty Hollow Creek and at only 1.7 miles up from the parking lot it was narrow. Most places less than 12 feet wide. So Tenkara was perfect. That combined with the packability, etc...makes it perfect for LW backpacking. With Klass' suggestion of how to hold the line you can literally be fishing in about 1 minute. That is important to me, because with the family I try to throw a few flies here and there I don't really get to go out for a couple of hours of solitude.

So I don't miss assembling my western rod.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: TR: GSMNP Campsite 39 Pretty Hollow Gap Trail on 06/29/2010 10:47:22 MDT Print View

Sounds like a very nice backpacking trip, and a great way to indtroduce the next generation to the outdoors. I need to get my 3 yr. old daughter out for her first overnight hike. She would love that Princess backpack!