Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hunter Bend - Tennessee River

Lora and I went back out Hwy 30 to the bridge over the Tennessee River.  This time we went straight across the river next to where the Old Washington Ferry used to cross and went up the creek next to it.  The old ferry was actually at the ramp which is a bit of history.

There are a couple of unnamed sloughs here, but they have also put a gravel road in which cut's you off from paddling the sloughs.  So we did all the exploring we could and had lunch there.  While we were eating, we got to see a gray fox swim across the creek just down from us.  Lora also got to see the biggest snapping turtle she has ever seen, which of course came with a scream as it was by her paddle.

From there we went East on the TN river to Clear Creek and paddled up it.  It does a complete circle around a cow pasture and then opens up to a small lake.  We got to see a four point buck in velvet and Lora got to see, with another scream, a snake while she took a potty break.

We did not get to finish the East side of the split as we needed to head back.  We stopped for a swim on the way back to the car and we also got to see a raccoon climbing the bank along the way. We also got to see a flock of turkeys in a field.  Lots and lots of ducks, geese, and water birds.

We got another 8 miles in.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Armes Gap trail - Frozen Head State Park

I kind of invited myself on a hike with Pete, Lillian and Hix at Frozen Head State Park. I met up with them at the old Brushy Mountain State Prison and followed them up the mountain road to the Armes Gap trailhead. The 4 of us started climbing the old jeep road and took a spur trail on the left to the old prison mine. There are some small buildings still standing, the guard shack has a fence around it. The mine openings are gated. Very cool area to explore. Lillian told us about the history of the mines and how Brushy Mt Prison came to be built.

Back on the jeep road we kept climbing. A pickup truck came up behind us, it was a park Ranger. He didn't offer us a ride, just kept going. Before we got to the top of the mountain, he came back down and stopped to chat. He told us he had spotted a Canada Lily on the jeep road and gave us directions on where to find it. Lillian asked him about the old mining area and if they were going to include it as part of the history when they open the prison as a visitor center and museum. He agreed that it was a good idea. He gave us some info about an old home site on Hwy 62 that may be preserved by the Historical Society of Morgan County. He said good bye and we kept climbing.

When we got to Tub Spring we looked at all the trail junctions and decided to stay on the jeep road. We found one Canada Lily growing right by the side of the road just a little past all the junctions. We walked until it was lunch time and that was at the Coffin Spring trail junction. It looked overgrown, must not get much foot traffic. After lunch we started back the way we came. We took another short spur down to the Panther Branch Rockhouse. Heading back down the jeep road we found a lot of blackberries; that held us up for a while. Back at the trailhead, plans we made to meet up at Sonic in Wartburg. Turtle pecan Master Blast....yum!

After saying goodbye to everyone, I went back to the park and waded in the creek for a little while to cool off and get the dust off my feet. It was a beautiful day with 75 degrees for the high; a cool breeze, and good friends to hike with.


Pete's Pictures:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

2014 4th of July Trip

Lora and I headed out to do some trails on her to do list.  It was a great few days that we got to spend with Dad and Mom as well as celebrate our United States Independence.  Of the 150 trails in the Smoky Mountain National Park, Lora had 67 more trails to hike.  After our three days out her new number is 71     trails to hike.  Doesn't add up very well, but you will see why.

We started out at the Sugarlands visitor center.  We hiked the Old Sugarlands trail from the Headquarters building out to Bull Head trail.  After we got going we found the Two Mile Lead trail.  After we hiked to the Bull Head trail we headed down the Two Mile Branch trail which is also not on the map.  We took it to the Grassy Branch trail , which is not on the map, back to the Two Mile Lead trail.  So we completed one of her trail and added three.

After we got off the trail we called Dad and Mom who were working the Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge. We got to Pigeon Forge Patriot park in time to catch the last three bands playing.  We got us some dinner and were extremely upset to find that there were no cotton candy vendors anywhere.  Anyway the concert was great and there ended up being around 60,000 people there.  The main band was Lonestar and towards the end of their concert we could see Dollywood's fireworks going off.  After the concert, Pigeon Forge put on their fireworks display with music to accompany it.  It was amazing to hear 60,000 people singing America the Beautiful at the same time.

With every large gathering, the exit took quite some time.  We wondered around for a while and then walked up to Dad and Mom's car which was still sitting in line in the parking lot that they started at.  We visited a bit longer until the traffic started moving.

Day two, we got up and took Dad with us.  We dropped off a car at Greenbrier at the Grape Yard Ridge trailhead.  Then we headed to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature trail for the other end of the trail.  We did some exploring of the local neighborhood, before finding the wrong end of the one way nature trail.  We then found the right road and followed the many many cars heading around the loop and squeezing between parked cars to the trail head.

We hiked a couple of miles and stopped for lunch.  Mom had made us some mighty fancy trail sandwiches which were really good.  We met up with some hikers looking for the locomotive parts just up from Campsite #32.  We showed them on the map that they were at the wrong point.  We went to check out the campsite and the others followed us and then kept going down the trail.  Well we followed them looking and not finding the same site.  When we got to the end of the trail we were at the wrong trailhead.  We had taken the Injun Creek trail, which is not on the map, and ended up at the ranger station in Greebrier.  So between the three of us experienced? hikers, none of us had read the signs at campsite #32.  We had to hike the two miles of road to the car.  Dad showed us where the Rhododendron Creek trail was which also, not on the map, goes up to the Grape Yard Ridge trail.  Thus, we had completed one half of a trail and added two more to her list.

Day three, after church, we headed to the Top Of the World and the Gold Mine trail.  This was Mom's hike and another trail.  We hiked down to the Cooper Road trail and took the Cane Creek trail.  This finished Lora's Cane Creek and we didn't add any trails this time.