Wilson Creek, NC
Thursday, October 14th thru Sunday October 17th, 2010
Day 1 – Thursday, October 14th, 2010
Day 1 Photos are posted here:
Since 2006, the SSPBDT has held its annual fall Mancation Camping Trip at the Mortimer Campground. The SSPBDT has organized other camping trips which include wives and children, but the annual fall trip is strictly Men only!
Since SSPs fiscal/vacation year ends on October 31st, and our company does not allow us to carryover vacation days, the fall Mancation is the perfect opportunity to use up those remaining vacation days.
This year I would be one of the early arrivals, along with Steve and Scott M. Since the campground is fairly small and doesn’t take reservations, it is important that several members arrive early to snag our primary gathering site and as many surrounding sites as possible!
Thursday morning I packed up the truck and headed on up to the Mountains of North Carolina. Most of the 2.5 hour drive up to the campground was through a light but steady rain, but once I got inside the Wilson Creek Wilderness area the rain has stopped. I decided to take the opportunity to stop and photograph some scenic spots along Wilson Creek on the way to the campground.
Thunder Hole on Wilson Creek
While photographing some nice cascades down a steep bank, I heard some car horns honking. I could not see the cars, but my guess was it was Scott and Steve passing by. So I finished up my shots and continued on to the campground!
Ten Foot Falls on Wilson Creek
Mission Accomplished! Scott and Steve arrived shortly before I did, we snagged all the spots we needed, and started setting up camp
The SSPBDT is legendary for our giant tarp erections. The massive SSPBDTCTPT (Spartanburg Steel Products Beer Drinking Team Camping Trip Party Tarp) is truly a sight to behold and one you are likely to never forget!
The goal for any SSPBDT tarp erection is to get the tarp and supporting ropes, strings, and bungees up high enough to eliminate any potential trip or clothesline hazards. This is accomplished by climbing trees, steep hillsides, picnic tables, and the roof of Steve’s S-10 pickup.
Scott M putting up a tarp string
Scott and Steve erecting the tarpLast year during the erection we had a rare SSPBDT lost time injury as Scott M. broke his leg. Here is an excerpt from last year’s trip report:
During the tarp erection, Scott was dragging the main 300-ft support rope up the side of the steep hillside behind the community gathering site. Out of the corner of his eye, he spots a full moon and quickly turns to avoid scarring his eyeballs. Then from behind a hissing white uni-fanged cat leaps out of the woods towards Scott.
Scott darts out the way, still hanging onto the rope that is now wrapped around a Holly Tree. The momentum of his 260 pound body causes him to lose grip of the rope. His right foot lands on a tree root stopping it dead in its tracks. Unfortunately the rest of his body continued down the hillside. A loud popping sound coming from Scott’s ankle was heard for miles.
This year, the tarp erection went up without a hitch!
Steve in awe of the giant tarp erection!
Despite the fact that I loaded up the bed of my pick-up with firewood for the trip, Scott decided we needed more. There were a couple of really huge logs lying around the campground that Scott decided needed to be split.
Scott Splitting some wood!
After a few hours and one broken axe the log was split!
That's some big wood there Scott!
Also joining us on this first night were my hiking/photography buddies Skip and Johnny. While the core team of the SSPBDT is made up of all SSP employees, we do allow select outsiders to attend our events.
Once Johnny arrived, he and Skip joined me for a short hike to Thorps Creek Falls. The trailhead is at the end of the campground and the “hike” is only about 5 minutes. Since I have camped here about 10 times, I have hundreds of photos of this little waterfall. However, there is always something different.
Usually fallen leaves are simply washed downstream. With an extremely dry summer, the creek levels are unusually low and all the leaves are trapped in the pool at the base of the waterfall. Using the low light just before dusk, I was able to achieve some really slow shutter speeds to capture the leaves swirling around in the pool.
Thorps Creek Falls
Later that evening after a nice campfire meal, we all went for a night time graveyard tour. Crystal clear skies revealed a bright half moon. Between the moon and our flashlights we played around with some long exposure night time photography!
The Mortimer Graveyard at Night
There is just something magical about hanging around a graveyard at night! However, the night air was cold and after all the FABs we brought along were consumed, it was time to get back to the warm campfire and our coolers!
Back around the campfire, the Mancation festivities went on well into the night.
The Giant Tarp Erection Glowing above the Campfire
Additional photos from Mancation Day 1 are located here: