Thursday, October 18, 2018

Father/Son Trip 2018

Our annual outing went as planed which is a rarity. We had good health, no closings, and good weather. We met up at the Ponderosa again, got some chores done, and last minute packing. Tuesday we headed out one way and the ladies out the other way.

We drove to Bryson City and got to the Deep Creek Trailhead. We had a 6.3 hike into campsite #59.  There were some people out hiking today and we found one friendly copperhead snake on the side of the trail. We saw lots of fishermen out in the creek. Just before we got to camp a light rain started. That rain gave us a break to set up camp and then came back for the night. We visited under the tarp until bedtime.

The next day after breakfast, we headed out for a day hike. We did a mile up to Martins Gap trail and then headed down Sunkota Ridge trail. It was a beautiful day for hiking and a beautiful trail. We took the loop trail back to Deep Creek and back to our campsite. It took a while, but we finally found enough dryish wood to make a campfire for the night. We heard some coyotes tonight and I got to hear an owl both nights.

Thursday we headed out. We got into some hikers and photographers as we neared the parking area. We stopped in Bryson for some lunch and then headed home. Another great hike.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Raccoon Mountain TTA

Lora and I headed to Raccoon Mountain to hike with the Tennessee Trails Association. We did the 12 mile loop around the lake. We met at the visitor center and hiked counterclockwise. It was a great day of hiking and fellowship.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Newton Bald/Gunter Fork

Day One: 5.6
Newton Bald Trail to Thomas Divide to campsite #52  5.6
Day Two: 10.8
Newton Bald Trail 0.5
Mingus Creek Trail 5.6
Newton Bald Trail 4.7
Day Three: 5.2
Big Creek to campsite #37 5.2
Day Four: 10.2
Camel Gap Trail 1.0
Gunter Fork Trail x2 8.2
Camel Gap Trail 1.0
Day Five: 5.2
Big Creek Trail 5.2
Total Miles: 37

Lora had a few more trails to mark off and we had five days. This is our anniversary hike for 2018. We parked at Smokemont campground to start the hike up to Newton Bald. It was hot and the trail was steep climbing 3000 feet. On the way up we saw a couple of park workers with two horses and two mules toting chainsaws. We thanked them for all their work. We hiked to the Thomas Divide trail and then back tracked to campsite 52 for the night. It was a peaceful night under the stars.

Day Two:
We hiked back to Mingus Creek to get that trail marked off. We headed South down to Deeplow Gap trail. Got to see some grouse and some huge mushrooms. When we got to the bottom, we turned around and headed back up, just because.  Then we took the Newton Bald trail to Smokemont for the night. We took a side trip up Big Cove Road to Mingo Falls. Mingo Falls is a 120 ft high waterfall located in the Qualla Boundary—a land trust of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians—near the town of Cherokee. When we got back to camp we found that we had neighbors with lots of little children. Not a quite night.

Day Three:
We got up and drove to Big Creek campground where we started our hike to campsite 37. We stopped to look at the waterfall, when a large tree fell next to the trail. That will get your heart a pumping! We were the first ones to camp so we gathered all the firewood we could find.....not much! We ended up with about 19 campers in the area that night.

Day Four:
We got up and hiked to Camel Gap , then on to Gunter Fork. We saw 6 hikers from the Great Smokies Hiking & Adventure Group. Steve H. was hiking his last trails needed to finish his map. Their plan was for 26 miles. Hope they made it before dark. We had one crossing of Big Creek and then about five crossings of Gunter Fork. It is a beautiful trail with two large cascades. One of which had a nice plunge pool at the bottom which we took advantage of on the way back down. There were a few less people at camp tonight. Sometime in the morning we got a few sprinkles so we had to get up and put the tarps up.

Day Five:
We headed back to the car. It was another great five days on the trial.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Savannah Bay

Lora and I headed over to Savannah Bay to do some canoeing. It was a great day for getting on the water. We put in at the boat ramp on Snow Hill Road. We did a clockwise trip around the bay with exploration of the wet lands and creeks.  Five miles of paddling. We got to see lots of Herons, one white Heron, two green Herons, King fishers, Cormorants, Lora got startled by several things. One being a dead deer in the water by the bridge. Always thinking that everything is out to get her.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Pinhoti Trail CHC

My first hike on the Pinhoti Trail. Destination: Snake Creek Gap trailhead on Georgia Hwy 136. This is a huge gravel parking lot with a bathroom. Met three hikers from the Chattanooga Hiking Club. Susan was our hike leader today and had a map and trail descriptions for each of us. This part of the trail is Section 25, we did 5.2 miles of it and returned for a total of 10.4 miles. There were a few wet weather streams in the first 1.1 miles. Then you see the pile of rocks at the crest of Mill Creek Mountain. I think someone is trying to make the mountain taller. It's a really pretty ridge top walk with two good views into the valley. When the leaves fall, the views along the ridge will be much better.

There were five or six campsites along the trail and a big one by Swamp Creek where we had lunch. On our return climb out of the cove, we had stopped for a breather and I saw something moving on top of the ridge. Not a bear, not a hog, it's a big black and white dog. Sniffing around not paying any attention to us. Nobody but us on the trail all morning, and it would be a long walk into either valley....and then along came some hikers but nobody was looking for a dog.

After the hike I drove further on 136 then left onto the Scenic Byway. There are other trailheads for the Pinhoti, John's Mountain Overlook, Keown Falls, and the Pocket. The Pocket had a campground. Keown Falls parking lot was full, lot of folks out today. Then I drove to John's Mountain WMA. There must have been 200 tents in the meadow areas. Lake Marvin is there and they have rock climbing, hiking, biking, horse riding.

A little about the Pinhoti Trail:

The Pinhoti Trail is a long-distance trail, 335 miles long, located in the states of Alabama and Georgia. The trail’s southern terminus is on Flagg Mountain, near Weogufka,  Alabama, the southernmost peak in the state that rises over 1,000 feet. (The mountain is often called the southernmost Appalachian peak, though by most geological reckonings, the actual Appalachian range ends somewhat farther north in Alabama.) The trail’s northern terminus is where it joins the Benton MacKaye Trail in Georgia.
The Pinhoti Trail is a part of the Eastern Continental Trail and the Great Eastern Trail, both very long-distance US hiking trails connecting multiple states.
The north terminus is approximately 70 miles west of Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Georgia has about 164 miles of the trail, and Alabama contains the other 171 miles of the 335-mile-long trail.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


Day off......Road Trip!! Headed South to Alabama. First stop Russell Cave National Monument. Very interesting, never been here before.

Then headed to Mentone Alabama. Interesting little town and future shopping place for my mother and sister-in-law. Lots of craft shops, history, and views. Tried to check out the St. Josephs church that is open 24/7. The doors were locked. Ate at the Green Leaf Grill which has some great food.

From there we headed to Desoto Falls in Desoto State Park and then on to Little River Canyon State Preserve . We enjoyed the views along the Canyon drive with lots of overlooks and some Subaru driving for Lora.

On the way back we stopped in Ft. Payne AL which was hosting the Boom Days Festival where we listened to some good music, looked at some old cars, and ate.

Another great day with my best friend.


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Tim's Ford TTA Float and Hike

Joan and Sara planned a great weekend for a float/hike at Tims Ford State Park. Four ladies- Sara, Joan , Jean and I met at the Tims Ford Dam boat ramp and paddled out to Little Island. Joan had already been there to clean up the island and set up her tent. It's a really pretty island to camp on. Squatters had built a table and a potty there before they were evicted. We did a night paddle around the Big Island which was really fun.The lights on our kayaks attracted some kind of insects that left a mess, they were plastered to our boats the next morning.

Saturday morning sunrise was beautiful. We spent the morning paddling on the lake and then to Ray Branch to do a little hiking. The new SP boat was parked at the trail entrance and we found the Ranger Nathan and a few volunteers building a new segment of trail. We tried to hike a loop, ended back at our boats, had lunch and hiked some more. Found the back country campsite that Craig and I stayed at before. Looks totally different, overgrown along with that section of trail. Needs feet on the trail to keep the weeds at bay.

Back to paddling across the lake, thru the usual weekend traffic. Relaxed on our pretty island, cleaned up, paddled to the cars and drove to Twin Creeks Marina for dinner. the Reuben I had was really good with kettle chips. Lots to choose from and the football games playing on the big screens was keeping everyone entertained. Full and happy, we returned to the boat dock and paddled some of the calories off on the way to the camp. Jean kept a small campfire burning to light up our night as we watched the stars pop pop pop. Sunday morning weather forecast got us up and moving and off the Island by 7:30. Paddled to the cars and loaded up.

Thanks ladies for new adventures for me: kayak camping and night paddling.