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!


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