Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sequatchie River / Hiwassee River - Agency Creek

Lora and I headed out to canoe the Sequatchie River.  We went to Hwy 30 and searched for the boat ramp. There is no sign and the road is just before the bridge on the Southeast side.  They do have a gravel parking area under the bridge and a good ramp.  Unfortunately, we found out that the river is blocked by many large downed trees.  We headed North first and then tried South, getting blocked in either direction.  We loaded back up and then headed to the Hiwassee River.  We had not explored the Agency Creek area so we picked that area.

There is a private boat ramp / marina just North of the first campground on the North side of the Hwy 58 bridge.  It cost you $3 to use the ramp.  We did a clockwise loop from here covering the whole creek area about 4.25 miles.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Forney Creek

Day One: 7.9
Forney Ridge Trail 0.5
Forney Creek Trail 7.4

Day Two: 10.8
Jonas Creek 4.1
Welch Ridge 2.4
AT 3.8
Forney Ridge 0.5

Total Miles: 18.7

Lora and I headed out to Clingmans Dome for an overnighter.  As always the Dome's parking lot was full of cars and people.  We started down Forney Ridge and got rid of all the people when we hit Forney Creek. We saw one couple on this trail.  Forney Creek is a steep down hill with lots of beauty.  We experienced Spring again as we went down the trail.  Early Spring flowers at the top and late Spring flowers on the bottom.  There is some good creek crossings which the last three were waders.  There were a couple of guys at campsite #69 and a group of high school students from Wisconsin at campsite #70 where we stayed.

We listened to the owls talking as we sat by the campfire.  The guy from #69 had talked to some through hikers the night before and they had been in half inch hail two days ago and snow the day before.  It was really nice weather for us.

We got up the next morning and hiked Jonas Creek trail up to Welch Ridge.  We walked the first half in Crocks for the water crossings.  The second half switches back and forth up the mountain.  Lora did a spectacular fall on the way.  She made it across all the creeks and a huge tree across the trail only to fall over a small rock and into the mud.  She got some bruises from that.

We stopped along Welch Ridge for lunch and then continued the climb to the AT.  There was lots of bear sign on Welch Ridge.  We saw are first person of course on the AT.  You never the hike the AT by yourself and we passed lots of people on the way to Clingmans Dome.

We felt that we have not climbed a mountain in a while as our baby cows got a good workout!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

TTA Piney River

On a cloudy Saturday that threatened rain, 5 intrepid TTA hikers set out on a trek of the Piney River Section of the Cumberland Trail, near Spring City, TN.  We left a car at the picnic area on Shut-In Gap Rd. where we would come off the trail and drove up the mountain to the Newby Branch Trailhead where we began.  The trail  passes through dense mountain laurel, rhododendron, hemlock and hardwood forest.  The first scenic landmark we encountered was White Pine Cascades, (where there are no White Pines), a beautiful multilayered cascade that was in full glory.  We passed quite a few spur trails leading to rockhouses, picnic/camping areas and other waterfalls but did not choose to take them at this time.  We crossed Deep Pool Bridge, Rockhouse Branch Bridge, Pine Branch Bridge and the amazing Piney River 100 ft. suspension bridge.  These bridges were constructed by the Bowater Paper Company when the land was owned by them.  Our last landmark/obstacle before trail's end was MacDonald Branch, a boulder scramble across a wide drainage.  It was a little late in the season for wildflowers but we did see bluets, wild geranium, laurel, skullcap, hearts-a-bustin', spicebush, rattlesnake weed, stonecrop, partridge berry, milkweed, and one very frequent mystery flower.  And it didn't rain!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Little Cedar Mountain and Dunlap Coke Ovens

Lora and I headed out for Little Cedar Mountain to do some hiking.  We had heard about it from Tony who had done trail work on it.  There is four miles of trail according to their map which if you do the pond trail you get five as an out and back.  The trails of course are in great condition after just being worked on.  The trails take you through good rock formations, good views, and along the lake.  Great hike.

After the hike we checked out Marion County Park on the lake and then went to see the Nickajack Dam where we got to watch a tug boat change out barges.

From there we stopped in Dunlap on the way home to see the Coke Ovens.  The museum was not open, but since they were working on the grounds, they let us in.  Really nice people.  The park is run on donations only and staffed by volunteers.  We enjoyed the museum and then walked around the grounds seeing the ovens.  We want to go back and do some more exploring in the area to see more of the historic sites up the side of the mountain.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Crusher Hole and Fall Creek Falls

Lora spent the day out at Fall Creek Falls State Park.  She did the falls trail and the Crusher Hole.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hiwassee River - Flag Pond Slough

Lora and I have been busy with lots of stuff going on.  We did get out and do a short wildflower hike a couple of weeks ago and got the canoe out for the first time last weekend for a couple of hours.  We had a week of Grandbabies which was sweet.  We got spring planting done as well.

Well, we got a day off with beautiful weather so we loaded up the canoe and headed out.  We went to the Hiwassee river and put in at the boat ramp on Hwy 58.

As I back the trailer down the boat ramp, there was an elderly man walking down the ramp.  When I got out and spoke to him, he asked if there was a charge for water.  I told him no that the water is free.  He was carrying a kerosene tank with him.  Well, I started unfastening the canoe and a man coming down the boat dock said "hold on, I am coming"  I looked over and the old man was bent down trying to fill his container. The water at the end of the ramp was too shallow to put his container in and the man could not get back up once he had squatted down.  I was tore up for not watching this man or paying attention to him.  The other guy got him back up and I filled his container off the back of my trailer then took it back up to the parking area where the old mans van was parked.  I had driven around it on the way in and never put the two together.  His van had overheated.  Well we got his van filled back up with water and started for him and sent him off with a prayer.  I am so glad he did not fall in the water while I was not watching.

I joined back up with Lora, who had spent this time visiting with the other guys wife on the dock.  We pushed off and followed the coast line East.  We got to see lots of deer, water fowl, fish, and turtles.  We went as far as Flag Pond Slough which is under the bridge on Hwy 306.  We had lunch on the point before Flag Pond.  Then we paddled out and followed the island side back to the ramp which is about 7 miles. Another beautiful day on the lake.