Coweeta Hydrological Laboratory
The sign reads: Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, watershed 37
This outdoor lab is part of the Nantahala National Forest as a study plot for studying rainfall, streamflow, climate, and forest growth.
The night before, Fox and I had made Muskrat Creek Shelter (M=11.6; C=78.4; E=4600). Weather was moving in before sunset and we had crammed 8 hikers into this A-frame. A great water source, but the privy was little more than a sketchy sheet of plywood over 'the hole'. A drousy hiker could easily make an unfortunate misstep into quite a wakeup.
During dusk and again early this morning, we heard this occasional low-pitched thump thump drumming from different directions in the wood. It would start slow, speed up and stop, then start up again. What was THAT? One of our sheltermates solved the mystery: a ruffed grouse mating sound. Crazy.