Stubblefield Campground to Alligator Branch Swamp
March 11, 2019
We woke up early at the overflow campground ready to start our day. Little did we know that our 12-mile day would turn into a 13-mile day due to being unable to find a spot to camp.
The trail is located directly across from the overflow camping area and we were soon greeted with mud and tree roots (aka trip hazards). It was misty and seriously humid and the mosquitos were horrible during the first hour of the morning.
Our packs were loaded down and this was the first day hiking with our full load (an extra 15 pounds for myself, with a pack weight of 45 pounds). The day was going to be slow.
We knew it was going to be a long day, so we decided we would stop at every mile marker and take a quick 5-minute break.
There was a lot of creek crossings during just the first mile.
Clayton took the opportunity to scare the crap out of me while recording video and for the first half of the morning it drizzled and rained which felt great.
We did our first road walk of the trail today, it wasn’t too bad but it seemed to go on forever (even though it was only around 2 miles) especially since I had to tinkle and decided I could hold it (stupid). It was fenced off private property on both sides, so literally no where to go find a spot.
Shortly after the road walk (and after an immediate potty break) we hiked to a pond so we could fill up with water (filtered of course). Clayton learned how to filter water in the backcountry.
Once we filled up our water it was time to hike to the funnest portion of this section, the Camelia Lake Dam and Spillway which is a private lake located within a subdivision. The trail crosses right over the spillway so precaution needs to be taken when crossing it as it is slippery.
Once we crossed the spillway we were immediately greeted by ankle to calf deep mud thanks to construction equipment that had made huge ruts and caused it to be a huge muddy/soggy mess. Due to this it also obscured the trail which made the trail very hard to find.
We had planned to make camp shortly after the spillway, but could not find a spot due to downed trees and widow makers so we ended up hiking another 2.5 miles to get to Alligator Branch Swamp where we finally found a place to make camp, bonus that it was right near a creek with clear water.
It was an exhausting day, so once we reached camp we set up our tents, cooked dinner and then both went straight to bed despite that it was only about 6:30 pm. I didn’t even bother to film us heading into camp or setting up camp because I was that exhausted lol.
Watch the Video =)
Trail Condition: Muddy (ankle to calf deep in places), not as bad as prior sections.
Camping: Didn’t see many good camping spots. Around mile 29 (before you get to 29 and after the road walk) there is a primitive campsite for camping next to a pond. The next camp spots would be Alligator Branch Swamp after mile 33. We were following the guidebook which said there were some good site for camping before then, but could not find those spots (downed tree’s and/or widow makers).
Water Sources: Several creeks from mile 20 to 26, however only reliable sources we saw were the pond around mile 29 and the Creek around mile 33. You do not want to filter from the lake unless it is a last resort due to run off from laws (fertilizer, etc..)