December 19-21, 2008: Mountain Justice Winter Campout

Mountain Justice is hosting a Winter Campout at Frog Level Tennessee. If
you love mountains, camping, hiking, the forest and all that is wild
you’re invited to the Winter Solstice camp on Dec 19, 20th and 21st.

WHY: To reinvigorate, enthuse, inspire mountain
activist in the Appalachians; to bring passion, humor, joy, and fervency
of purpose back into the
cause; to forge friendships, cooperation, and alliances throughout
Appalachia.

Mountain Justice Winter Camp exist to
explore having at least one meeting a year that is mostly social. Folks
will meet and naturally form discussion groups and form plans.

BRING: Camping equipment, food, booze (lots),
weird wilderness outfits, musical instruments, bizarre toys, imagination,
a good and gonzo attitude.

Matt is going to help build some sweat lodges euro style. There are
large open fields that are perfect for frisbee, poi, and winter games.

Come dressed to stay warm and dry. A warm sleeping bag is a must.
You cannot expect to sleep where you pass out during a winter camp.
Please come prepared and ask if your not sure what prepared is.

We will be bringing at least one full keg of Stout beer to sell so
y’all don’t have to buy corporate swill. If you homebrew bring a sample.

We want to strongly encourage folks to come self sufficient. Individual
campfires are unnecessary and wasteful.

We can’t stress enough the virtue of self sufficiency (aka “takin’
care of yourself”). This means personal gear, sleeping gear, eating
gear, your *own* food and a way to cook it. There will be a regional
field kitchen set up, please let us know if you’re bringing one. You
won’t be near any stores so pick up what you need
along the way.

Think rain, sun, cool, and cooler weather patterns. Here’s a little
bit more specific list::

  • a good attitude (let’s make it FUN)
  • tent
    and/or tarp
  • sleeping bag
  • clothes: layers, layers, layers. It can
    get windy and chill in the winter and decently cold at
    night. It’s the mountains, y’all.
  • Rain gear
  • boots and creek-crossin’ sandals
  • water filtration system
  • food enough for the weekend
  • kitchen setup: campstove, pots/pans,
    utensils, plates/bowls/cutlery, etc.
  • mug for HOMEBREW (yes,
    that’s homebrew for sale…yummy )
  • sunscreen
  • toilet paper (if you use it, you need to bring
    some)
  • musical instruments

Frog Level is accessible by road and by the
Appalachian Trail (AT). As the AT crosses White Rock Mountain it connects
to Frog Level via the Lacy Trap Trail (#36). Its about 3 miles from
the AT to Frog Level and the trail is rated as moderate.

On Dogs: We love dogs, but we must ask that you do not bring them.
A great deal of biodiversity exists at Frog level. There is a beaver
dam at the end of the far meadow and turkeys, coyotes, wildflowers,
and bear live in the hills and valleys. Us humans will create enough
disturbance as is and we must ask for your assistance in avoiding further
impact. We have also had altercations between dogs and children and
there are folks who feel a kids-safe space must be dog-free. Please
help us create a Winter Camp that is fun and safe for everyone – including
wildlife and children.

Directions: (Follow the Frog!!!) First, get yourself a map of Tennessee
and find Johnson City . The mountains east of Johnson City is where
we will be (south of Watauga Reservoir).

From the North, West and South (except
the extreme southeast )

  • Take Interstate 81
    to upper east Tennessee.
  • When you see signs for Johnson City ,
    get on I-181 and travel about 14 miles to Johnson City .
  • Get off
    at Exit
    31 (Hwy 321, Elizabethton) and take Hwy 321 (and Hwy 67)
    East for approximately 9 miles to Elizabethton.
  • Go thru Elizabethton and
    follow 321 as it joins 19E south (you will be turning right
    onto 19E)
    towards
    Hampton (approx 5 miles).
  • Look for signs to the USFS Dennis Cove campground and follow them.
  • At Hampton , 321 will split from 19E so turn left at the Texaco
    and follow Hwy 321 (also 67E) east a little over half a mile.
  • Look
    for “Citizens
    Bank” and turn Right onto Dennis Cove Road .
  • Travel up this
    steep and very windy paved road (with at least two hairpin
    curves) and enter the Cherokee National Forest (about 5 miles).
  • Follow
    Dennis
    Cove Road past the Laurel Creek Lodge (last spot for
    gas, firewood and ice), and pass the Appalachian Trail Crossing and
    the
    Dennis
    Cove Campground.
  • About another mile and the pavement ends
    at the top of Dennis Cove.
  • THE ROAD BECOMES GRAVEL AT THIS POINT! Slow down and follow this
    road which is also known as Forest Service Road #50 for 3/4ths of
    a mile
    to a 3 prong split in the road.
  • Take the far right split (onto FS
    #50F) and travel along this unpaved mountain road for another
    2 miles and you will arrive at Frog Level!
  • Please look for a good place along the road to park out of the
    way of incoming and outgoing vehicles.
  • Welcome to Frog Level, y’all.

Now, seein’ that the road in is pretty rough, and if you have
a very low riding passenger car, you may want to consider the
very long
way in. Instead of turning at 321, you would continue south on
19E and travel up the Doe River to Roan Mountain . Pass Hwy
143 on your
right and turn left onto Forest Service Road #50 and follow it
way up into the mountains.

This road is in
better
condition
than the portion from Dennis Cove. Follow this until you see
the Frog at the split and turn left and follow that road
down into
Frog Level.

From the southeast

  • Find sunny Asheville ,
    NC on your maps.
    Head towards Erwin, TN on Hwy19/23.
  • Stay on Hwy 23 going
    northish.
  • Pass Erwin , TN. The main road will become 19W/23 and
    I-181 — this is okay.
  • Take Exit 31 to 321N/67E (Elizabethton).
  • From
    here, follow
    the directions above.

Frog Level is drained by the Laurel Fork, which
flows into the Doe River . The Doe joins the Watauga River and it flows
into the South
Fork of the Holston . The Holston joins the French Broad River near
Knoxville to form the awesome Tennessee River . The Tennessee flows
south through the Tennessee Valley and west into Alabama before turning
north and hooking up with the Ohio River . Just downstream, the Ohio
joins the mighty Mississippi, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

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