Sunday, March 29, 2020

Stinging Fork New trail

Craig and I explored the new segment of the Cumberland Trail being built between Stinging Fork SNA and the Head of the Sequatchie. Didn't know we would have a creek crossing, we didn't take crocs so we took off our boots and socks and waded across. Not as painful as January crossings, but Craig went slow enough in front of me to make it pretty refreshing. Lunch was by a pretty little stream.

We hiked until we found the End of Trail sign, then followed the flagging thru the woods for a little while until the holes hidden under the pine needles and the greenbriar got the best of us. I had heard the trail was 10 miles long and 7 of it had been built. The 3 miles needing to be built must be in the middle, where we were.
We will have to explore from the other end.


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Shakerag Hollow

Shakerag Hollow is well know for spring wildflowers, and it was right on track today. Sara, her friend Sara, Michael, Marietta, Marcia, Sherlene, and me. Not sure who was the most excited about seeing the blooms. Ooos and aaahhhs all over  the place. Sherlene pointed out so many blooms and found the Jack in the Pulpits and Dutchman's Breeches for me, first I've seen this spring. And the white trilliums were showing off. Then we saw the Red trillium. The Celandine poppys were gorgeous. Hillsides covered with spring beauties. Thank you Sara for the invite. We worked hard to not hug and stay the appropriate 6 feet apart due the the Virus of the Century. So many parks shutting down, we were happy to have this trail to hike on the Sewanee campus property.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Little Cedar Mountain

Sunday afternoon hike with Sara. I got there early, paper was scattered all over the place from the turnoff to the kiosk. The parking lot was covered, it was in the grass too. I put on gloves and got a shopping bag out of the car and started picking up paper. Got bitten by black ants on my arm. People pulling in asked me if the papers were mine, LOL. A few folks that pulled int helped pick up some of it. I filled up both their trash cans with the paper. Looked like travel magazines you find in rest stops, someone had torn the pages out and scattered them. The police officer that drove thru waved at me, wouldn't even stop to ask questions. What would possess someone to trash this place???

Sara got there and we started our loop hike. Wildflowers were out! We saw trillium, larkspur, purple phacelia, stonecrop, Little Brown Jugs, wood sorel, and a yellow flower I think is Hoary Puccoon.

The views of Nickajack Lake were really pretty. Several family groups on the trails, everyone happy to be out on a pretty day.

Stopped on the way home at Stone Cave Bakery for some fresh baked bread. Washed my itchy arm in the cool spring water across the road from the bakery, swallowed a Benedryl and tried not to scratch.


Monday, March 16, 2020

Mammoth Cave Weekend

Backpack on a rainy weekend? Nope, let's take the camper out. Decision made on Friday, Craig is at work, so I (Lora) packed the camper and hooked up the rig! We won't talk about how long it took....

Saturday morning I met Craig in Cookeville, we made it to Mammoth Cave National Park in time to set up camp, eat lunch and get to our 1:30 tour, the Extended Historic Tour with Ranger Steven and Ranger Steven. Ranger Steven #1 knows his history, stories and legends. I never imagined how mammoth the rooms in the cave could be. It's incredible to see, and then the fat man's misery tunnel you walk thru (sideways), the coffin, the elevator, so many cool things to see.  And then the Ranger turns off the lights so you can experience the darkness in the cave. One story was of a guy who got lost in there and they found him by the sound of him banging rocks together. He said he banged rocks because the quietness in the cave would make you crazy, all he could hear was his heart beating. It was pouring rain after our tour so we hung out in the camper, Craig sank my battleship, twice. It quit raining long enough for a walk around the campground with a headlamp.

Sunday morning, no rain in sight. We hiked the trails around Mammoth Cave. Down to the Green River, Sunset Overlook, River Stix, White's Cave, and a few trails not on the map and some on the map that were in the wrong place. Either the map needs work or the trail markers need work. We got to see woodpeckers, deer, squirrels, and chipmunks. There is a sight where the old ferry used to come into the park.

We made it back to camp in time to eat lunch and pack to go. On the way home we stopped by Standing Stone State Park and hiked along the lake. We parked at the visitor center and took the tea room spur to the lake trail and back up the cabin spur. Lot's of wildflowers out.


Saturday, March 7, 2020

Big Frog TTA

Jan and Kathy planned a hike up Big Frog Mountain on a beautiful sunny day. I met them at Thunder Rock Campground by the Ocoee River. A crew was there sawing trees that were down in the parking lot and campground area. The bathroom floor had been painted too. Spring cleaning I guess.

Another hiker Jan from Nashville met us and we carpooled up the forest service road to the trail. The ladies were telling us about their last time being here, that their directions took them on a scenic drive the wrong way on the forest service road. They had better directions this time and got us to the trailhead without any issues.
We didn't have any trouble finding parking space, we were the only car. Yay, we have the forest to ourselves!

Big Frog trail # 64 starts at 2,160 feet elevation. The top of the mountain is 4,220 feet. We climbed. There are lots of views as you climb, winter time views. No big open views, but so much beauty thru the trees. And the climb is a nice one, easy to moderate, and so many different  forest types. The top is tree covered so no big views at the top.
A couple of campsites at the trail junctions, and one at the top and end of the ridge. At that campsite I saw a little glass jar tucked into an opening in the bottom of a tree. Looked like tissue it it, so not knowing if the tissue was used or not, I didn't touch it. May have been a geocache, but who knows. After seeing the abandoned sleeping bag/bivy and gas canister at the trail sign, you never know...

Big Frog Trail has a lot of trail junctions, all of them were signed. The trail descriptions say there's an excellent spring wildflower display here, but we didn't find any. May have to come back later this spring.  I did find an old growth tree to hug. 


Saturday, February 29, 2020

Stinging Fork Falls

Lora and I decided to hike the Stinging Fork Falls part of the Cumberland trail. We went in off Shut in Gap Road on top of the mountain. We went to the overlook first and then down to the falls. We followed the Cumberland trail along Little Soak Creek for about two miles before we headed back out. It was a beautiful day of hiking. On the way out we checked out the new section of the Cumberland trail that isn't opened yet. Yea, new trail!


Sunday, February 23, 2020

Frozen Head State Park - Chimney Top

Lora and I headed out to Frozen Head State Park for the weekend. We started up the Chimney Top trail after a group of Boy Scouts. We got past them by the time we crossed Rocky Fork Branch and started one of the many climbs. The snow kept getting deeper and deeper as we climbed enjoying the views. When we got to the top, we met more day hikers that were out enjoying the day as well.

When we got to Spice branch, we took it to the Spice Branch campsite to spend the night. There was not much snow at the campsite and we enjoyed the evening around a nice campfire looking at the clear sky with stars.

The next morning we hiked on to Judge Branch and took the loop with the Old Mac back to the car. We got off the trail early enough to catch a church service in town before heading off the Knoxville to meet Dad and Mom for a birthday celebration dinner. Happy Birthday Dad.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Chili Chilly Hike 2020

Marietta and Jim hosted their 18th Chili Chilly Hike, on a chilly sunny day. The Caldwell Rim Trail in Sewanee was the hike for the 26 or 27? hikers from several TTA chapters. And one pretty hiker sporting the famous Candy Corn Shorts. It's a pretty trail with a few creek crossings that a few folks got at least one foot wet trying to cross. We followed the bluff above the northernmost section of Lost Cove. The sunshine was beautiful especially after all the rain we've had.

After the hike we gathered at the Poteets' beautiful home for the chili lunch. 3 chili selections and so many sides, delicious cornbread, and oh my goodness the brownies, yumm! Lots of other tasty desserts too. There were lots more folks at the house that were not on the hike. About 40 total. Thanks to Jim and Marietta for a wonderful day!


Saturday, February 8, 2020

Backyard walk

Lora and I were off and we got snow so we did a walk back through the woods behind our house along the creek. By 2:00 that afternoon the snow was gone!


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Oregon 2020

Well the gang headed to Melanie's for a get together. Dan, Deanna, and McKinley were already in Oregon, Dad, Mom, Lora, Marjorie, Niles, and I flew in and drove to Melanie's for the night. It was great to be together and hear those ever so sweet giggles of grand babies.

The next morning we caravaned up to Black Butte where we were staying the week at one of Jagon's Dad's places. After we all settled in, we headed over to the slopes of Hoodoo Ski Area. Where there was some snow board action, snowshoe action, and snowman action going on. Deanna and family joined us afterwards for dinner and a fine evening of catching up on our lives.

Friday was tubing day at Hoodoo. We did some exciting trips down the mountain in groups of two and three.  Afterwards we headed back to the house and later took a hike around Suttle Lake. It's a beautiful mountain lake and a nice hiking trail with views of the mountains as well. We got back just late enough for Jagon to be worrying about us, but technically it was before dark that we got off the trail. Some smear games were played after dinner.

Saturday we got up and headed to Smith Rock State Park, There were a lot of climbers out there which I have to admit it is a climbers paradise. We hiked around the mountain and then came back over the top. Beautiful area for sure. More card games.

Sunday we headed back over to Hoodoo where Marjorie tried skiing for the first time and excelled at it. Lora and I played with grand babies and did some more snow shoeing. Deanna and family had to head back that afternoon. We did the Superbowl party. Jagon supplied us with an unlimited amount of food for the game. 100 + wings and things.

Monday we headed out to do some waterfall hikes. We started at Cline Falls State Scenic View Point which was a nice area reminding of the the bad lands of North Dakota. From there we headed to Tumalo Falls. The road was closed for the winter so we had a two and a half mile hike in to the falls on a snow covered road bed. The hike was beautiful as well as the falls. Melanie spoiled Mom by taking her shopping while we did this hike. Jagon's mom stopped by after our hike and we got to visit with her for a while.

Tuesday we hiked around Black Butte Ranch and then did a major cleanup of the house before we headed back to Melanie's house. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful loving family! Time with them is priceless.