Thursday, August 30, 2012

Snake Den Trail- Smoky Mountains

Day One:
Snake Den Ridge Trail 4.6
Maddron Bald Trail 1.5
Campsite #29 6.1 Miles

Day Two:
Maddron Bald Trail 1.5
Snake Den Ridge Trail 0.7
Appalachian Trial 2.3
Camel Gap Trail 4.7
Big Creek Trail 0.5
Campsite #37  9.7 Miles

Day Three:
Low Gap Trail 5.4 Miles

Total Miles: 21.2

Having the time and trying to get into shape for an upcoming hike in Colorado, I talked my Dad into doing a three day backpack in the Smoky's.  I offered him a few suggestions and as usual he found another to test my shape.

We headed to Cosby and took the Snake Den trail up.  You gain 3400 feet in 5.3 miles.  There is one level spot......oh never mind, there isn't.

It starts out as a gravel road and at 0.7 it has an old traffic circle and becomes trail.  At this point we started our wildlife viewing as a doe walks down the trail towards us. I think that she would have actually passed us on the trail until Dad stepped aside to let her by and she jumped off the trail and circled around us.  We followed this up with the discovery of a three and a half foot timber rattler on the side of the trail.  He was not happy with us bothering him and showed it with his rattle.  After waiting for him to move on, we decided that we were going to have to move this guy.  Dad picked up a LONG stick, scooped the snake up, and threw him off the trail.  He was still rattling as we walked off.  Shortly after the last visitor, we jumped up another doe.

During one of our breaks as we were sitting on the side of the trail, we heard a very loud burp.  Well, we figured if it was a bear the good news was that it was full.  Then a backpacker came down the trail.  He was surprised to see us, but blamed the noise on something behind him.  He would be the only other person we saw until camp.

We took the Maddron Bald trail down to campsite #29.  There was a view at the top of Maddron Bald which we got a picture from.  When we got to the campsite there was a couple and their daughter from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  We visited with them that night and next morning.

The next morning we hiked back up to the Appalachian trail.  As we took a break at the Camel Gap trailhead a backpacker came by.  He had started at Springer and was on day 36 of his 39 day backpack.  He said he was a long section hiker of the AT.

We took Camel Gap down to Big Creek and campsite #37.  We did stop once at the creek to cool down.  At campsite #37 we had to do some major searching for firewood.  We did manage and had a calm night around the fire telling lies and taking cough medicine.

The next morning we took Low Gap trail out to Cosby.  You go up 1350 feet in 2.5 miles and then drop 2000 feet in 2.9 miles.  Good practice.  Thanks Dad!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Big Creek Trail- Smoky Mountains

Plateau and East TN TTA had a joint hike in the Smokies. I met Cheryl and crew in Crossville, and we met everyone else in Knoxville. 20 hikers ready for the trail! The Big Creek Trail was originally built by the CCC as a motorway. The camping area at Big Creek was the site of a logging mill. I was carrying my backpack fully loaded today. Just for fun! hmmmm. I did bring my camera from home; it's in my car in Crossville.... the pictures are links to Cheryl and Pat's.

It's a beautiful creek walk along this trail. The Rock House is supposed to be visible from the trail but I didn't see it? But I did see Mouse Creek Falls...pretty. There are a lot of big boulders in the creek and pools to splash in.

I did manage to spot a snake on this trail. A real pretty rattlesnake all coiled up. I managed to get real clooooossssssssse before I saw it. No screaming, just jumped about 5 feet.

We stopped for lunch along the creek. Then hiked to the junction of Swallow Fork Trail. A few of us hiked .2 miles further to the junction with Low Gap Trail.  Lower Walnut Bottoms Campsite 37 is located here; it has several campsites in this pretty area.

It was a pretty hike. Always good to be in the mountains.  


More Pictures:

Soddy Creek

Lora and I went to Soddy Daisy to do some canoeing after church.  We loaded in at the public park area down town.  We paddled back up Soddy Creek to where the rocks stopped us.  Not very far.  We came back under the bridges and stopped at the campground to eat lunch.  Unfortunately, a yellow jacket got in our tea jug and Lora tried to swallow it.  She got stung in the mouth.  We had to make an emergency trip to the drug store for some Benadryl.  Good news is she is alright.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gunstocker Creek- Hiwassee River

Lora got off work early so I picked her up with the canoe in tow.  Trying to get to the Hiwassee river we finally found a place to put in on Gunstocker Creek.  There is a launch site on the West side of the bridge on Blythe Ferry Road.  This is a really good area for canoes or kayaks.  The water is shallow so no boats or jet ski's. 

There is a little parking area and a short launch site for boats.  We put in and then went under the bridge first and explored all of that area.  Lots of wildlife and an old rock wall that is partway under water.  We went as far as we could up river until the tree fall stopped us.  There is beaver sign everywhere.  After that area we headed out toward the main channel.  There is a campsite at the point off the end of Woods Road.  We stopped and ate dinner there. 

There are some houses right before you get to the main channel on the East side next to hwy 58.  Quite a variety of houses and boat docks.  This is where we found the redneck paddle boat.  We paddled around the islands by hwy 58 and then paddled across to the West side and followed it back to the car. 

Great place for paddling.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Spring City - Canoe and party

Lora and I headed out to Spring City.  We had a church picnic to attend and thought that we would go early and do some canoeing in Watts Bar Lake.  It happens to be the Piney River section of the lake.

There were lots of Islands just out from the Spring City boat ramp.  We traveled around them and saw lots of wild life.  We saw fish, deer, and lots of birds.  We checked out a couple of campsites on the islands as well.

We canoed over to the party and were entertained by the Mt. LaConte band.  Lots of fun, dancing, and games.  Not even to mention all the food you could want.  Life is good.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Noel Island- Dale Hollow Lake

Lora and I headed out for the weekend.  The weather is finally getting back to where one can sleep in a tent.  Wanting to stay cool we headed back to Dale Hollow Lake.  We launched out from Lillydale recreation area.  We paddled around Phillip's Island and along the shore line on the far side.  Finally we paddled to Noel island and set up camp.  We got some beach time in.  After dinner we hiked around our island and then paddled back to Phillip's Island and hiked some more.  We paddled back and enjoyed the evening around the campfire.  We watched meteorites on through the night.

That night we found that Noel is very popular with the fishermen as we got to hear them talk all night as each group pulled up along  side the bluff we were camping at.

The next morning we went back to car and dropped off camping items.  Then we took the shore line back down to County Line Island.  We circled the island then spent the afternoon at the campsite on it.  Later that afternoon we headed back.

Dale Hollow is a very clear and pretty lake.  No houses on the shore.  You can get camping information at their site Dale Hollow.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ohio / Michigan 2012

Marco, Lora, and I headed out to spend three days camping with the grandchildren.  Samatha and Kaylyn stayed the night at our house and then went with us and we picked up Braedon when we got there.  Mom and Dad joined us at the Hickory Lakes Campground in West Salem, Ohio.

We enjoyed three days of swimming, hiking, and playing at the play ground.  We had campfires at night and told ghost stories with Smore's in our hands.  We played Mom's slinging ball game and had a great laugh when Mom got her balls hung in a tree.

After we dropped the grandchildren off we headed to Steve's house in Michigan where Deanna and children joined us for some family time.  We set up the campers in the yards and the party started. 

We headed out to Muskegon State Park on Lake Michigan the first day.  We did some hiking on the dunes and then enjoyed the beach.  The dunes had trees growing on them so we enjoyed the shade while hiking.  We got to see some Eagles that were nesting in the dunes.  Practiced our swimming and played some water football.  Deanna and I cannot swim straight if we had too.  We even got to do some wave busting when the ferry went by.  We finished up with a dead battery on the car.  After we got back to the house we celebrated Betty's birthday with chicken and sliders.

The second day we headed to the Muskegon river to do a little canoeing.  We rented five canoes from Wisner in Newaygo, Michigan and did the twelve mile trip.  We got to see lots of wildlife.  There ain't no telling how many snapping turtles we saw.  Marco took this special time to give Adam advise on life.  Adam did him some learning.  After we got back to the house we celebrated Betty's birthday with Kabobs.

The next day we headed back to Muskegon State Park and did some more hiking, kayaking, and then did some sailing on Steve's sailboat.  That was a new experience for all of us.  I was amazed at how little wind you need to sail as we went through the channel.  Lot's of fun.  Aunt Miki caught up with us afterwards as we celebrated Betty's birthday with pizza. 

Saturday Deanna and family left in the morning.  We broke out the cards.  Betty was the usual shark in this adventure, but did manage to give us break every now and then.  Afterwards we celebrated Betty's birthday with homemade soup.

Sunday morning we headed back to Tennessee.  Another great family vacation!  Oh yea, Marco gained five pounds sometime while we were on vacation.