Monday, November 6, 2017

Nathan Bedford Forrest SP

Day One: 7.75
Day Two: 6.25

After a slight change of plans this weekend, Lora and I decided to overnight at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park. I had hiked here in 2007 with the Outcasts.

We started with a visit to there museum. I wanted to show Lora the boats they had in there.

We started at the trailhead behind the Interpretive Center and followed the markings for the ten mile trail. We then followed the blazing for the twenty mile trail. They are working on their markers right now so they are a little confusing. They have not marked the 20 mile trail and it is in need of repair as well. Once you pass the old CCC buildings on the upper Northeast corner and drop down to the river, the trail becomes impassible. Flooding and overgrowth have over taken the trail. We reverted to the trail map and by using the topo, we crossed the creek and turned West to find the trail. This is where we spent the night. It is a good water source and this is where the Outcasts camped as well.

We got to see deer, an owl, a turkey, and a whole mess of little lizards on the trail. That night the coyotes sung to us, one being very close. We enjoyed the campfire into the night.

The next morning after packing up, I checked the topo again to make sure before we headed out. The map shows you heading back down to the river after climbing the ridge. The trail actually climbs the ridge and then follows an old roadbed West before dropping down into a creek valley. Must be a reroute they never changed on the map.

We got to see more deer and turkey today. We were also trying to keep up to the markers when they were available. The signage on the way back is a little misleading as well. You need to follow the signs for the "cabin" to get back to the trailhead. We miss read their map and ended up at a gate leaving the park. Now they have a better map on the webpage which I suggest printing off and taking with you.

The shorter trails are flater. I would rate the longer trails moderate because there are no switchbacks on any of the hills.

We talked to the ranger after we got off the trail and hopefully they will continue to work on their trails.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Foster Falls / Denny Cove

After work, Lora and I headed to Foster Falls Natural Area to campout for the night. We stayed at the Father Adamz campground. All the sites where booked so it was easy to pick the one that was not. This is a nice campground with some space between the sights. We even found firewood. We enjoyed the night around the campfire before retiring to our hammocks for the night.

The next morning, after hiking out, we headed to Denny cove to hike their new trails. We saw deer from the parking lot. We started out at the overlook and then hiked to the Buffet wall that the climbers use. From there we hiked on to the waterfall. Beautiful falls! On the way back we rescued a box turtle that had gotten himself stuck in a whole under a rock. Took some prying, but we got him out.

When we got to the trail split we hiked around the bluff on the Denny West trail and had lunch at the base of the bluff. We then headed back and hiked along the Denny East trail along the other bluff wall. We got to see a large black snake which luckily I got to spot before Lora. The snake and I still have our hearing. After that we got to see a lizard. Then we headed back to the car.

When we got to Dunlap we stopped to see the antique cars and tractors at their Days of Yesterville.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Father / Son Trip 2017

Day one: 8.1
Lead Cove Trail 1.8
Bote Mtn Trail 1.2
Anthony Creek Trail 3.5
Crib Gap Trail 1.6
Day two: 8.9
Parking Trail 0.5
Rich Mtn Loop 2.9
Indian Grave Gap 2.8
Crooked Arm Ridge 2.2
Parking Trail 0.5
Day three: 8.7
Meigs Creek Trail 3.5
Meigs Mtn trail 1.9
Curry Mtn trail 3.3
Total Miles: 25.7

This years trip was affected by hurricane Nate. I arrived driving through the heavy rains of the storm. Of course the weathermen were saying heavy rains for all the days we were going to be out. The wait and see game began.

The ladies seemed unaffected by what the news people were saying. They were laying out plans left and right. By the time dinner was over they had a plan and ours was wait and see.

The next morning the ladies were off and the weather was sounding better. On the road we went. Lead Cove was where we were heading. Not giving up totally on the backpack, but dropping it to an overnighter. We had a couple of light sprinkles, but the main problem was humidity and heat. We had a great day on the trail and Dad even showed us a cove bear. The bear didn't care that we were in his woods, but did keep peeking at us. If I were an action photographer, I would have gotten some good pics. I am not.

Mom scored some tickets to the Dixie Stampede for the night. So we went and enjoyed a dinner and show. I highly recommend this to everyone. Great entertainment!

Day Two:

The weather cleared out for our second day and looking good for the next as well. It was going to be steamy and hot, but let's go! Plan B. Dad was wore out from the night before hiking we go!

Rich mountain loop was today's plan. We got our bear sighting in, first thing after Oliver's cabin. Then we began the steep climb up Rich mountain. It only sprinkled while we were eating our lunch. It was a bit tougher trail, but we enjoyed it all the same. Earlier to bed tonight.

Day Three:

Today was looking the same temp and humidity. We brought both cars and did another loop off Meigs mountain. We left a car at Metcalf bottoms and then drove to the sinks to start our hike. Meigs Creek has around 13 creek crossings all being rock hopping. We ate our lunch at the Meigs mountain connection. Another great day of hiking.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

AT - Dicky Gap to VA 625

Day One: 10 Miles
Dicky Gap to VA 601
Day Two: 10.9
VA 601 to Chatfield Shelter
Day Three: 11.4
Chatfield Shelter to Reed Creek
Day Four: 11.3
Reek Creek to Lick Creek
Day Five: 1.4
Lick Creek to VA 625
Total Miles: 45

When Lora got off work Friday we drove to Hungry Mother State Park so we would be able to start our backpack earlier on Saturday. This is a beautiful park in Marion, Virginia. Three different camping areas and a pretty lake. We had supper at the restaurant there, outside with a view of the lake. Good food. We joined the interpretive Ranger at the group campfire, she had marshmallows to roast and a story of how the park got it's name.

Saturday we drove the Back of the Dragon to meet our shuttle driver Bubba. We blew pass our unmarked VA 625 and had to turn around and drive back to find it. VA 625 is a long rough gravel road. Bubby was waiting for us at the trail head. We left our trusty Subaru and headed to Dickey Gap with Bubba. He had lot's of stories to tell. We spotted a groundhog and some deer on the drive.

We hiked to just before VA 601 and started to set up camp when a hiker came through. We asked how close the next road was. He pointed behind us and said "Right there" hmmmm. We picked up the packs and moved on past the road up on the ridge.


Sunday we saw lots of deer and chipmunks, and heard a bear crash thru the woods by the creek. We went up and over lots of ridges with only one view all day on Glade Mountain. Lots of South bounders, all of them telling us there was no water going North. It made us nervous about having water until we kept crossing water.  One guy finally told us, North of where our car was, water was scarce, about 15 to 19 miles between water sources.

The Partnership Shelter was impressive; Built with logs, and a SHOWER! That was a first for us. To bad it was too early to camp. We went into Mt Rogers Ranger Station/visitor Center and saw a huge stuffed Hellbender salamander. They had a live one too in an aquarium.

Chatfield Shelter was our camp spot for the night. We hung our hammocks and gathered wood, Two guys showed up and hung their hammocks on the other side of the shelter. We swapped blog addresses.


Monday we crossed lots of water. Saw deer, chipmunks, and two grouse startled us. We crossed train tracks, cow pastures, boardwalks, and I 81 where we stopped for chips and tea to go with our PB/J sandwiches. We ate lunch on the wooded hillside overlooking the ducks swimming in the creek.

We stopped at the Old Settlers Museum and looked at the school. Three apple trees in the back got our attention, Yumm!, and then Lora spotted the grape vine growing up the back of the school house and they were ripe. We traveled on munching apples and grapes. We passed through more farmland, and old apple orchards, and saw wild cherry trees. Found a crooked style, but no crooked man walking a crooked mile.

Got to Reed Creek in Crawfish Valley and found a sweet campsite. The water was in different pockets, we found one that had enough for taking a bath. While I was scooping water I saw a Hellbender salamander in the creek. I was so excited being the first one I have ever seen in the wild. Lora saw it's tail, but it hid under a big rock. We went back to the creek after dark and she saw its head but it was still too far under the rock. I told her to look around in the creek for more. She was real excited until a spider bigger than the salamander scared her out of the creek.

That night by the fire we had owls and coyotes talking to us for a long time, then one owl that came into camp way in the night to see who was hooting earlier.


Tuesday we hiked in all sorts of ecosystems. Open fields, farmland, new forests, old forests, cedar forest, and lots of fences. We became experts at style climbing. Lora stepped in a cow patty after crossing VA 610, but got over it after the climb and view back at the valley.

We passed by the Historical Tilson Mill which ground wheat and corn in the 1860's for the residents in North Fork Holston River valley. Another good water source.

We then stopped at the Knot Maul Branch shelter for a break. It stunk of moth balls and does not have a reliable water source.

Lynn Camp mountain was a good climb for late in the afternoon. Lora saw a yellow jacket fly into a hole on the side of the trail. When she walked by about twelve flew out. I gave the command "RUN" and we took off up the mountain. Luckily not stings. On the way down the other side we had a massive tree across the trail that we had to climb through.

We continued on to Lick Creek where we spent our last night. Lots of owl talk again during the evening.


We hiked the last mile to our car. We could hear the beagles from the bear hunters. Hunting season started two days ago. We found our car under a heavy dust from the road and leaves. On our way back to town, we picked up a backpacker. Took him to town and then dropped him off at Mt. Rogers headquarters.

The weather was great for our whole trip. We never used our tarps at all. A bright moon every night and lots of stars in the clear sky. Overall we saw right at one million chipmunks, lots of deer, grouse, ducks, squirrels, and the Hellbender. Our flowers were Gentain, Asters, Queen Anne Lace, Golden Rod, Thistle, Daisy, and lots of unnamed ones.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Harbor Light Boat ramp - TN River

Lora and I put in at the Harbor Light Boat ramp off Dixon Pike in Soddy Daisy. The ramp fee was $7. We have never paid more than $5 to put in. The lady was worried about the parking lot filling up due to the Hamilton County Fair being at Chester Frost. The 3 trucks/trailers were evidently taking up a lot of space. After looking at the ramp, I hope the $7 fee is that high so they can resurface the ramp.

We paddled 4.7 miles out to the main river and hit the inlets up to the islands near the Sequoyah training center. Real nice area to paddle.

When we got back to the ramp, all the other boats must have gotten back ahead of us; we were still the only car/trailer in the parking lot.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

TTA Center Hill Dam

Saturday we put in at the Center Hill Dam. We floated 8.6 miles of the Caney Fork river down to the Betty's Island take out. There were lots of kayaks out as well as fishermen. We enjoyed the Eagles, Blue Herons, and Green Herons.  We even saw more fish than all the fishermen that we passed saw. There were 12 of us on the water. TTA Highland Rim, Sumner Trails and Murfreesboro float/camping weekend.

When we got to the take out, the boat ramp was nowhere near the water! One of the local outfitters was driving their van across the river bottom to the water's edge, so we did the same with the trusty Subaru and John's van.

The campers were going out to dinner so we met up with them at the Ragland Bottom Campground and negotiated with the campground host to not pay a day use fee. A storm coming in convinced us to hurry to the Sligo Marina, but we weren't fast enough to beat the rain. Wet, hungry, but welcomed anyway. Good catfish dinner.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Savage Gulf TTA

Craig had to work on my birthday so I went hiking (happy birthday to me!) in Savage Gulf with Richard Savage as leader for the Upper Cumberland TTA. I met them at the trailhead by the Savage Gulf Ranger Station.

Lots of overlooks, wildflowers blooming in purple, and yellows. Savage Falls had plenty of water spilling over. Always so pretty to see. Hiked Savage Day Loop, North Rim, Mountain Oak, North Plateau back to day loop. 9 miles.

One lady had issues with her boots and had to slow down. Vicki and Mike went back to check on her, then Vicki found the snake of the day. COPPERHEAD!