Building the infrastructure for North Fork Citico Creek Digital Lab (NFCCDL) (Owl Camp):
First day out of Unicoi Gap (TN) opened with an easy (albeit pack-heavy) stroll down an old logging road, later turning steep, wet, and slippery. After a night sleeping in a trailside encampment and a shorter hike down a much easier trail, we arrived at the NFCCDL (Owl Camp) site. Lunch was followed by a short but intense rain shower, what we erroneously supposed would be the first of many, so we scrambled to set up tarps for protection and as the first stage of the NFCCDL.
A 20×20 silnylon tarp stretched between four trees– a hickory, an oak and two dead hemlocks–and tied up by the Jeannette Andrew Elevation Team (JAET) became the main staging area, with headroom provided by another conveniently located uprooted hemlock trunk (probably the result of an earlier wind storm which also produced a ready stock of dead branches). Protected from water from above, the next order of business was avoiding the stream flowing through the nascent NFCCDL. Shiva gathered forked sticks, planted them upright, and we arranged and lashed rows of sticks, forming a 4×4 low table. Rain all you want, the designing can commence.