The Plateau chapter of TTA hiked on the North Chick trail. Jim the hike leader had worked all week on the Big Soddy Creek bridge project so I got his phone message about the hike plan on my way to the trail head. We were going to hike from the new parking area on Barker Camp Rd. I met the other hikers at the Lewis Chapel exit on 111 and headed to Barker Camp.
We had about a mile walk on a dirt road before entering the woods. It’s really pretty on this end of the trail. There are views into the gorge and an overlook on a short spur trail just before Panther Branch. It overlooks North Chickamauga Creek. We found a couple of campsites that are not marked on the CT maps. Along a rock wall someone had worked really hard to build a rock fence around the end of the wall and had a fire ring just beside it with some rock furniture. Things that make you say hmmmm?
We reached the Stevenson’s Branch campsite and the waterfall was just a little more than a trickle. Then up Ladder #3 onward to where you start back up the ridge. There is another campsite here (unofficial) so we sat down and had lunch before we started climbing. It’s a tough climb up to the rock shelf. When we stopped huffing and puffing, we split up with two going on to the Montlake Road trailhead and the other two going back for the car. Don and I continued onward climbed ladder #2 and then used the cable to keep climbing. The trail then follows an old roadbed to an overlook of Boston Branch and the beautiful creek gorge. Then the wooden steps that Craig and I overlooked the last time we were here. Much easier than the goat trail. We met a lot of people and dogs along the trail on this end. Lots of folks hike to the overlook and back from the Montlake Rd. Trailhead. We checked out the mine entrance and then took the Upper Hogskin Loop to the trail head. Jim and Cheryl met us a few minutes later.
We headed back to 111 toward the beautiful Sequatchie Valley with plans to eat at the Cookie Jar Restaurant outside of Dunlap. Lots of other folks had the same plan, 1 ½ hour wait………oh well, lets just head home. Said bye and see you next week to Jim, Cheryl, and Don. Next weekend is the TTA Annual Meeting at Fall Creek Falls State Park.