Friday, April 13, 2018
Ladies Spring Backpack 2018
We started out our plan with 7 ladies, due to unforeseen circumstances Plan A went to Plan B. Then on the way to the Smokies,to Plan C when another lady cancelled. Plan D when 4 of us met for lunch and discussed weather, bears, thru hikers and shelters. We left Sara's car at Tremont and drove to Elkmont to start out on Jake's Creek. There was a fine display of wildflowers along the way. Plan D changed to E on the way up Miry Ridge. Three of us made it to campsite 26, got set up. Gathered water and firewood and had a fine evening around the campfire. After more discussion about mileage, shelters and the forecast, Plan E went to F.
We went to bed and listened to the wind howl and screech and howl. All night long it sent gusts making the tarp flap and press against my hammock. tick tock. Earplugs blocked out most of the noise and I woke up at daylight, Sara and I planning to hike on up to the AT to Greenbriar Ridge and down to Tremont, 12 miles. No sleep last night for Sara, so Plan G? so I put on my boots and left most of my gear at camp and hiked the rest of Miry Ridge to the AT and back to camp in two hours. Record time for me doing 6 miles in the Smokies. Along the way I heard a grouse making the thump thump thump noise, heard a turkey gobble, saw one of the biggest burls on a tree I have ever seen. Climbed over and around 12 trees down in the trail.
Back at camp, packed up, said our goodbyes to Nancy, she started down Miry back to Jake's Creek and Elkmont; Sara and I hiked to Lynn Camp Prong and went down, down, down, seeing hillsides blanketed with wildflowers, to the junction with Middle Prong where we saw horses and riders. Then lots and lots of hikers, fishermen, and more hikers out enjoying this beautiful day. We stopped to wet our bandannas a few times. The parking lot was full, we went a little way down the road and stopped by the creek to soak our feet in the cool water.
We stopped for ice cream in Townsend. Good idea Sara. Mmmmm traditional ending for a backpack (well for me anyway)
Lots of Violets that Nancy and Judi named.
Spring Beauties, Trout Lily, Bishops Cap, Wild Phlox, Bellwort, Mandarin, Sweet White Trillium, Showy Orchis, Toothwort, Foam Flower, Chickweed,Anemone, Mayapple, Fringed Phacelia, Wild Ginger, Trailing Arbutus, Dutchman's Breeches, Solomon's Seal, and False SS, Seersucker Sedge, Golden Alexander, Dwarf ginseng.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Lora and I went waterfall hunting at Fall Creek Falls. We started out on the Wheeler Farm Loop where we got to see the 90' Medley arch. We did a little off trail to see 60' Sinking falls, 35' Burchett falls, and 25, Wheeler falls.
Then we went to the main park to see 256' Fall Creek Falls, 250' Coon Creek falls, 60' Daisy Cascade, 95' Piney Creek Falls, an unnamed falls on Cane Creek, and 45' Cane Creek Cascades.
Wildflowers were abundant:
Wild ginger, Purple Phacelia, Twin Leaf, Columbine, Anemone, Buttercups, Mayapple, Fire Pink, Chickweed,
Toothwort, Foam flower, Stone Crop, Dwarf Crested Iris, Sweet Betsy Trillium, White Trillium, Southern Red Trillium, Wild Oats, Squaw root, Wild Phlox, Yellow woodland violet, Common Blue Violet, Long spurred Violet.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
We got to meet Dan, Deanna, and McKinley for Easter. Dad and Mom met us too as we all gathered at the Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky. They met up on Thursday, Lora and I got there Friday evening. The group had hiked muddy trails all over the park Friday so we started out with Henson's arch in the Red River Gorge which is right across the road from the Natural Bridge Park. From there we hiked to the the Natural Bridge and balanced rock. Back to the campground for some Hamburgers.
The next day we got up and met our friend Tim at the Bison Way trailhead in the Red River Gorge. We had met Tim on the AT years back and said that we would get with him when we got up to the Red River Gorge. This was our first chance.
We drove through the 900 ft long NADA tunnel which is a really cool one lane old train tunnel. Tim took us and showed us the Indian arch, Adena arch, Council Chamber rock shelter with a waterfall, and the Indian Staircase. We also got to see salamanders with their eggs in a shallow pond. He was a wonderful guide.
After our hike we went and picked up Mom. We took her to see Angle Windows, Whistling arch, and Sky Bridge. We also stopped at an unnamed water fall. Back to the campground for BBQ. We celebrated McKinley's graduation with a tasty cake.
The next day, after sending the Brewers off, Lora and I headed to Whittleton Arch. From there we took Dad and Mom to see Mill Creek Lake. It was misting out so we didn't do the hike around the lake. From there we headed back to the campground to pack up and head home.
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Walls of Jericho hike with TTA Murfreesboro and Highland Rim. Crystal and I enjoyed the pretty drive over the river and thru the woods, farmland and small towns to get to the TN/Alabama border to see the Walls. We met a car piled full of hikers at the TN trailhead. Marietta, Jan, Joan, Sara, Ruth, and Wayne all in Jan's car. (I went to the wrong trailhead for the shuttle). We started down the trail finding wildflowers all along the way. Side trip to the Mill Creek blowhole which wasn't blowing, but really flowing. Jan and I found some baby salamanders in the creek. Teeny tiny ones. We we blessed with bluebells blooming all along the Hurricane Creek. We had lunch at the campsite by the cemetery. There were several tents, Boy Scout outing. They were ahead of us going to the walls. When we got there, the boys were swimming in the creek below the walls. I know their lips had to be blue, it was NOT warm enough to swim. Must be some badge they were working for...
We got across the creek without too many wet feet. Climbed up the walls for a look into the canyon. Realized my camera must be on the log I sat on for lunch since it wasn't hooked to my pack. (how to explain this one to Craig...)
On the way back across the creek, Crystal decided to test the water to see how cold it was, with water going down her rain pants and into her pretty new hiking boots. SPLASH! Not hurt, we kept going. The hike out to the Alabama trailhead was steep, and uphill and steep. We made it out and got transported to our car. Crystal and I drove into Winchester and found a small restaurant and got some grub before heading toward home. We drove thru Sewanee with a stop at the Natural Bridge.
Flowers seen: Bluebells, Bishops Cap, Bloodroot, Star Chickweed, Twin Leaf, Sweet Betsy Trillium, Hepatica was still blooming, Anemone, Mayapple that had the beginning of a bloom, Dutchman's Breeches, Wild Geranium, Spring beauty, Stone Crop, Pussytoes, Fire Pink, lots of Long Spurred Violets, Toothwort, Foam Flower, and I think Saxifrage but would have to see it again with my wildflower book in my hand. If I forgot any, someone please fill me in.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Lora and I headed to the Big South Fork for an overnighter. We got a late start Friday waiting on her to get off work. We drove the Divide road and parked next to the John Muir trail. We headed East towards the John Muir Overlook. When we got to what we thought was our last water source, we stopped for the night. We had a great evening for looking at stars and a good campfire. We listened to owls and coyotes.
The next day we got up and continued to the overlook. We found that there was more water now looking at the map. It was a beautiful day and got up to 75 degrees. We enjoyed the overlook and then headed back to the car.
After the hike we stopped by the General Store in Clarkrange for some ice cream.
Sunday, March 4, 2018
Lora and I headed out after church for a day hike. We parked on Hwy 111 by the guard rail and hiked South on the Cumberland Trail. Shorty after we started we went down by Board Camp Creek and ate lunch. Then we hiked a little further to the second creek crossing and did a little trail maintenance. The creek was dammed up and flooding the trail. We got it opened back up and flowing freely. We continued on and got to the point where we had camped before and then turned around and headed back. On the way back we stopped at some of the puddles and found lots of salamanders and their egg sacks.