3 DAY TRIPTOTAL TRIP MILEAGE: 17.2 MILESMODERATE DIFFICULTYAVERAGE MILEAGE PER DAY: 5.7ELEVATION GAIN/ ELEVATION LOSS: 4000 GAIN, 4000 LOSSDAY 1 - 5.3 MILESWe begin our day hiking up Big Creek. We will take a dip at Midnight Hole Falls and enjoy the forest in this scenic forested creek bed. Onward, we will pass Mouse Creek Falls and make camp at Walnut Bottom, aptly named for its Walnut trees!DAY 2 - 5.8 MILESToday will be filled with ascent and views as we take Sterling Ridge and walk a mile high to our campsite for the evening. The camp is at the base of Mount Sterling Fire Tower, which you can climb if you desire. Views of the Pigeon River Gorge, the Cataloochee Valley, and the Unaka Mountains are the cherry on the top of a full days hike and complete our trek for the day.DAY 3 - 6.1 MILESOur final day in this portion of the park will be a day of descent, much needed and much appreciated. We walk off of the Mount Sterling Ridgeline and down the Benton Macaye Trail back to the Big Creek Ranger station, a fine cathartic finish to a rewarding 3 days in the backcountry.
www.americanwildtrekking.com Jake Wittman spent his youth running in the cornfields and swimming the creeks of Southern Indiana. His first love of adventure and wild places came in the form of forays into uncharted forest areas around his Southern Indiana hometown of Evansville. Eventually these childhood pursuits would develop into a passion for remote wilderness travel in Shawnee National Forest and Land Between the Lakes in which Jake honed his wilderness skills through the writings of Bradford Angiers and Tom Brown. When he was twenty he hitchhiked out of his hometown seeking greener pastures, eventually landing him in California, Europe, and finally Washington DC. He became a skilled bartender in Washington DC and began funding his own expeditions all around the world. He was blessed enough to travel to 27 different countries by the time he was 23 and eventually hiked four major long distance internationally renowned trails; the Via Alpina on the border of Austria and Germany, the Camino De Santiago in northern Spain, the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, and the GR-10 in Southern France. All of his experiences eventually led him to become a professional backpacking guide in the Grand Canyon and Smoky Mountain National Park. Jake worked for The Wildland Trekking Company in the Grand Canyon and for Smoky Mountain Guides in the Smoky Mountains. During his time in the Southwest he lived on the Navajo Nation for two years and gained an appreciation for Native American culture, history, and mythology. Jake is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, he holds a Leave No Trace Master Educator Certification, and is also a licensed Wilderness First Responder. He is a mountain biker, a world class hiker, and an all around adventurer that The American Wild Trekking Company is proud to claim for their own. Jake currently lives in the beautiful city of Knoxville, TN with his wife and daughter.