Saturday, August 11, 2018

Michigan 2018

Another wonderful gathering of family at the Elk Lake Cabin. Lot's of fun and laughs. We had four campers at the Sugar Springs Campground and families at The Camp hotel. The annual canoe trip was on the Manistee River using the Shel-Haven Canoe Rental. The one day that they we did have rain, which was not much, we hung out at the pavilion at the campground and played games. We did get a Taco Tuesday in at the Elk Lake Bar.  Our cousin Jimmy came and did a fish fry which spoiled us all and yes, we had a slider night too!


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Hangover SMHC

I met the SMHC at Tellico Plains Visitor Center to follow them to the trailhead. Got a pic of the dragon mailbox at the Visitor Center. I thought the greenery was real, oh well. The temp was low 60’s, sweet for July. The drive up the Cherohala Skyway was beautiful. Started our hike at over 4000 ft. at Beech Gap.  Phlox was blooming everywhere. The connector trail bridge was out so we climbed back up to the road and walked about .25 to the other trailhead where the gate is. 10 hikers, started out the roadbed that finally turned into single track to get to Bob’s Bald. And it was a big climb, but the views from the bald are wonderful, flowers everywhere including Turk’s Cap Lily and Bee Balm. Butterflies and bees were all over the place. Tim pointed out the Mile a Minute vine. We had lunch looking at the views. The next segment of trail is WAY overgrown, over my head (and everybody else’s too). You can just barely see the trail and there were trip hazards like trees across the trail, step ups that you can’t see because you are too busy trying to push your way thru the weeds and keep them out of your face. Some had briers on them. After about 1000 feet of this it gets better. Still overgrown in sunny places. And a few ripe blackberries in the sunny places.

Within a mile of the Hangover, one of the hikers took a tumble, crashing into a rock with his knee. About 9 first aid kits came slinging out of packs, and a nurse in the group took charge and got his knee bandaged, and his arm, then he and Tim and two others started back to the cars. The rest of us found our way towards the Hangover, getting out the map a couple of times, wishing for the kind of signage we have in the Smokies. Wishing for a sign that says THE HANGOVER this way!

We started downhill and finally heard Steve yell I found it! Come on down!  Plowed thru some bushes to get to the rocky outcropping. Great views and a breeze blowing, found some ripe huckleberries. Then the climb back up thru the bushes, at the top of the ridge I discovered I had lost the mouthpiece on my water bladder tube. Not worth the climb back down, no telling which bushes it would be hanging in. We got back to the trailhead and found our injured hiker and leader waiting. He got loaded up and headed to the ER.

Beautiful hike. Hope the injured hiker heals quickly. 


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Wolftever Creek

We put in at the Wolftever Creek boat ramp and stayed left following the coast line. We paddled five miles to Island Point Drive and back to the boat ramp for a total of 7.8 miles. It was a beautiful day and we got to see lots of wildlife. Lot's of boat competition on the way back to the ramp.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Montgomery Bell State Park

Took Braedon out camping this weekend. We spent most of it in the lake, but we did do some creek exploration. Caught some crawdads and saw a snake. Had a great time. Braedon started the campfire for roasting marshmallows.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

Falling Water Falls TTA

I surprised my TTA chapter by showing up for the hike at Falling Water Falls on Signal Mountain. George was leading me, Donna, Ed, John, and Jane to a beautiful water fall. It was a cool day for July, in the 70's. We saw another wet weather falls on the way down the trail. Donna did a little trail dance on a slippery rock. I got the picture of the Falls by crawling to the edge of the overlook. We came out on the road and walked thru a pretty neighborhood to get back to the cars.

I stopped on the way home to get a couple pictures of an old toll house. The Conner Toll House was used when the W Road was the only reliable route to Chattanooga.

The other pics are the view into the Sequatchie Valley on the way down the mountain.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Roan Mountain TTA

Joan planned a weekend of camping and hiking at Roan Mountain. I met Sara in Crossville to ride with her. We arrived at Roan Mountain State Park and explored the campground looking for the group camp. We found a Ranger that gave good directions along with a reminder of the 5 MPH speed limit in the park. We found the other campers all set up, and a few ready to hike. I hung my hammock by the river. We hung out and waited for the hikers to return so we could have dinner. Dick had appetizers ready, drinks and all, along with Jean's Blue Moon. We had quite a spread for dinner with chicken, baked beans, broccoli salad, slaw, quinoa, and Sara's brownies and cookies for dessert. The Park had musical entertainment at the amphitheater which was conveniently located close by our camp. We clapped and laughed with the Roan Mountain Moonshiners. Great entertainment. And then a nice campfire with our group. Joan and her sister Jean along with MaryEtta and Jane had a cabin in the Park rented for the weekend.

Saturday morning we drove to Carvers Gap to start our hike on the AT to the Rhododendron Garden and the Cloudland Trail to Roan High Knob. The fog on the mountain top limited some of our views, and after we read the info at the Cloudland Hotel site, our leader took us back to the AT and we started descending. I remembered when Craig and I were here, the Garden was on TOP of the mountain. I voiced my doubt about going down the mountain so we voted to climb back to the hotel site and get our bearings in the fog. We heard cars so I checked out the parking lot and got directions to the Gardens. We explored the trails and found the overlook, with a cloud sitting on top of the mountain, there were no views here.  A lot of the blooms had passed their prime and the storms had knocked off a lot of the blooms. But we still saw some really pretty ones. The Cloudland Trail led us to High Knob. We were in high winds at the overlook at Roan High Knob so we found a less windy spot for lunch, then retraced out steps to the parking lot at Carvers Gap. The number of cars had multiplied and maneuvering out of the lot was challenging. Back at camp we snacked and started a fire. The cabin crew came back ready to cook hot dogs and chili, and all the leftovers from last night. Jane's strawberry cake was delicious! Campground music again tonight, Southern gospel trio from Piney Flats.  I knew most of their songs.

Sunday morning thunder woke us up and we hit the ground running to pull down our tents and hammock before the rain started. I just barely got my stuff in the car before the storm broke. We sat in our cars in the downpour, then cooked breakfast under the canopy. It had stopped raining when Jane showed up to show us how to take it down. Loaded up, said goodbye to Marietta, Jane, Dick and Jennifer. The rest of us headed back to Carvers Gap hoping to get above the fog.

We hiked North on the AT climbing the balds. The clouds were moving fast. We found the Gray's Lily on Jane's Bald, then found more, and then more. I was a happy hiker! First time seeing these beauties. Found bluets, and some other flowers that I can't name or find in my wildflower book. We took the Grassy Ridge trail to the rocky top where a plaque is set into the rock as a memorial to a man that loved the Roan. Along the way we heard coyotes howling on the ridge. We had a windy lunch the returned to the AT watching the sun break thru giving us a few views. Then the clouds returned, with the howling wind gusts blowing us around on the trail. It didn't stop MaryEtta from singing "The hills are alive." We got back to the car just as the rain started. We parted ways with Jean and Joan who were heading out to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The rest of us got back to the campground, and started a convoy to Sycamore Shoals State Park. None of us had ever been there. Fort Watauga is there, they do reenactments of the siege of the fort and the mustering of the Overmountain Men. The town is the home of the oldest standing frame house. The ladies got their State Park books stamped.

This was my third trip to Roan Mountain. Once to see waterfalls and blooms staying at the Mountain Harbor Inn, once backpacking in the rain, and this camping trip to see the blooms.  The next trip will be.....


Chester Frost State Park

Lora was off hiking with the TTA, so I took Dad, Mom, Melissa, Samantha, and Kaylin out for a camping trip at Chester Frost State Park. We got there before the 2pm check in time, so we ate lunch and hung out at the beach until time to set up. When we did start setting up a storm came in with a high powered wind which tore off awnings and threw chairs all over the place. Luckily we hadn't got that set up yet. The storm blew over, we got set up, and off to the beach.

Samantha got a campfire going and the girls cooked Smores for us to eat. They also helped out with the cooking of hamburgers for dinner and pancakes for breakfast. Good eats.

We had two great days of swimming and visiting. We watched as numerous storms went down the mountain, but none effected us. We did get into some storms on the way home Sunday, but everyone made it home safely.