Monday, September 20, 2010

New River Segment- Cumberland Trail

Day One....Cove Lake to Montgomery Fork campsite 6.6 Miles
Day Two....Montgomery Fork to Norma Road 10.6 Miles
Total Miles...17.2

Lora and I hiked the New River segment of the Cumberland trail this weekend. After I got off shift I met Lora and we headed to Cove Lake state park. The trail sign still reads Smokey Mountain segment, but they have officially changed it to New River segment.

You definitely want to go to the Cumberland trail website and print off the trail description and maps for this hike.

After you hike under I-75 and cross over Cove Creek and the railroad, you will climb 1900 feet in the next 4 miles. You might stop a time or two to catch your breath. This is also the highest point on the Cumberland trail when you cross the 3,000 foot elevation mark. At the power lines the trail is grown over and continues to be as you hike around the crest of the ridge. At the top is supposed to be a wonderful overlook which is obviously not marked or on the trail as we never did see it.

From the top you follow a old grown over jeep trail down the other side and when you get to the Mine #10 road you find a warning sign for blasting in the area. Kinda makes you wonder. The trail on the other side of the road is grown over so it is hard to see. You hike down, sometimes steeply as Lora slid into a fall on the way, to the Montgomery Creek campsite. This campsite is located off the trail, but is on the creek and has a good water source.

With the heat, it felt good to get wet in the creek. We ate dinner, got a fire going, and enjoyed the evening.

The next morning we hiked on. The Montgomery Fork and Spring Branch bridges do not exist anymore. The pylons are still there, with nothing on them. After crossing Greens Branch bridge you start another climb up McCory ridge and Anderson Mountain that will build character. Here, Lora showed me again how you can fall if not careful as the path was removed by a root ball of a fallen tree.

When you get to the Lower Field East Perimeter life gets rough. The field is overgrown about chest high and you have to bushwhack your way through with no signs of a trail to follow. After that you will cross a gravel road, which you really need to follow until you get to the gate as the trail continues through overgrown fields. When you get to the gate you bushwhack your way to the woods and it is a battle all the way to the top of Anderson Mountain. Not much sign of a trail all the way to the top. Just look for blazes when you can find them. When you get to the top you will be wondering through grass fields around knee high with the Cumberland trail signs on eight foot high posts. There is still some pretty views of the Cumberland mountains from the top.

On the way down you will follow a grown over road and cut off into the woods. From there you go down to a gravel road which you follow until the crossroad with a sign and with an arrow. The trail is overgrown at this point and you will not see the blazes from the road. Just bushwhack as they are there. Follow the arrow. This will take you to the unkept section of the trail. Yes, more character as you try to find your way from blaze to blaze for the next two miles.

Over all the trail that is in bad condition is a little over 4 miles from the first field to the decent of Anderson mountain at the gravel ATV road. After you get by the large boulder in the middle of the trail go left and there is a little evidence of a trail into the woods. From there you can hike down to Norma road where you want to get ahold of Miss Linda Ward as she will give you a ride back to the park. She is a very nice lady that runs a hunting camp from her house.


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