Monday, November 1, 2010

Cumberland Trail-Grassy Cove Segment

Day One:6.5
Brady Mountain 6.5 miles
Day Two: 8.45
Brady Mountain 1.25
Road Hike 0.7
Black Mountain 3.8
Black Mountain Loop 1.7
Outcast Shortcut 1

Lora and I headed out to hike the Grassy Cove Segment of the Cumberland trail. This section includes Brady Mountain and Black Mountain.

Once again with the Cumberland trail area, you need to visit the website and print off the map and trail description. They assume you know the roads in this area or they are for local people only. They don't put street signs up.

After a little confusion we made it to the top of Black Mountain to leave a car. After that we drove to the Jewett Road trailhead to begin our hike. By the way, Jewett road is gravel back hill driving.

The trail is pretty well marked and clear. It has some good climbs that build character. The first overlook you come to is the Donnelly overlook. It's a smaller rock overlook that you can see Bear Den Mountain from. Lost overlook is more impressive and you can see Grassy Cove down below. None of the overlooks are marked and you really have to be looking for them.

Next, when the four wheeler trail heads off to your left and the trail goes straight, follow the four wheeler trail and look off the side of the mountain and you will see the plane wreckage. It's a very steep climb down the side if you want to take pictures.

Brady Mountain arch is a small arch on top of a bolder. We were not impressed, but the rocks around them are interesting to look at. The Brady Bluff Overlook is on another unmarked trail and this is a great overlook. You can see the Smoky Mountains, the Nuclear plant on the Tennessee River to the south and the twin stacks to the north. We ate our lunch and spent some quality time here.

From Brady Bluff Overlook we started hiking down the mountain. We had four big gobblers walk in front of us strutting their stuff. We found us a place to spend the night and then watched the sun set over the Cumberland Mountains.

The next morning we hiked the other mile and a quarter down to the road and then hiked the .7 miles from one trailhead to the other. We stopped at a house and knocked on the door to see if we could borrow some water from the tap. With no answer we started filling our water bladders. Of course then someone comes to the door wanting to know what we are doing. They didn't mind, so we finished and headed down the road.

From the road to Windless Cave is pretty clear hiking along an old road bed. The only thing that throws you off is the Cumberland trail signs. They point in the wrong direction on two different intersections.

We entered Windless Cave and explored back about thirty yards. After that we started the steep climb up Black Mountain. We saw our first hikers when we got to the designated campsite. When we got to the rock bluff we saw some people repelling and then when we climbed the stairs we started to see lots of people on the loop trail.

We hiked to the Southern Overlook and had lunch. From there we hiked to the Spring House and Remnants of old homes for some pictures. We hiked to the car, dropped our packs, and then hiked what we thought was the loop. When we came back to the stairs we realised that we ended up in the wrong spot. We climbed the stairs and took the northern loop. The Northern overlook is not as impressive as there are a lot of trees in the view. Then we hiked back to the Remnants of the old homes and found why we missed the trailhead. It's not marked and it's overgrown.

We did have beautiful weather and enjoyed the hike.


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