Monday, June 22, 2015

Oregon June 2015

Another great visit to Oregon.  We started out with Marjorie, after a good night, we went hiking with her at Pittock Mansion in Portland. Later we met up with Melanie and Avelyn for a picnic lunch. We got to Jagon and Melanie's and got her moved into the new house which we would be working on the next few days. We got lot's of grandbaby love!

We went back to Portland to see Marjorie compete in the three mile Rugged Maniac Obstacle  course where you climb towers of shipping containers, rocket down a massive water slide, crawl through underground tunnels, leap over fire and experience some BIG new obstacles. That was very cool!

The next day the girls took Lora, Avelyn, two dogs, and me on a 8 mile hike at Opal Creek Wilderness Area. We hiked from the girls memory, so when we came to the end of the "8 mile loop" we had to turn around and hike back. So our little adventure turned into an all day 14 mile hike. It was a great time


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Kephart Prong

Day One: 8.0 Miles
Kephart Prong Trail 2.0
Grassy Branch 2.5
Dry Sluice Gap 2.9
Cabin Flats 0.6
Campsite #49

Day Two: 9.0
Cabin Flats 1.6
Dry Sluice Gap 2.9
Grassy Branch 2.5
Kephart Prong 2.0
Total Miles: 16.8

Lora and I headed out to cover some more trails in the Smoky's that we have not been on.  We got an extra half hour delay at Metcalf Bottoms waiting on the rangers to clear a tree off Little River Road. We got to our trail head at 3pm Eastern time.

We started at Kephart Prong and took in what is left from the CCC camp that was there 1933-1942. The trail description says that "your ascent is so gradual that you rarely sense a climb." They lied! The only flat spot is crossing the Oconaluftee river on the bridge. The only place we saw people was between the trail head and the Kephart Shelter. A common day hike.

From the shelter we started through the different levels of spring flowers. We saw the azaleas, the mountain laurels, and Rhododendron blooms among others. We also kicked up our first grouse on this section. The climb warranted us to cool off in all the springs along the way.

We finally, 2600 feet later, made it to the top where we found the only Rhododendron that I know of that grows straight up. You could actually walk through it if you wanted to. After a little break we started our 2200 foot drop down to Cabin Flats on the Dry Sluice Gap trail. We were excited to see that this trail was freshly weedeated. Just after starting down we kicked up our second grouse which messed up our pacemakers among other things as he was at head level about six feet away.

When we got to Cabin Flats trail we saw that they had also weedeated it. This area has some old growth so we were blessed to see some extremely large trees. When we got to camp, we had it all to ourselves. Lora collected the water and noticed that she forgot to pack the hose for it while I started collecting firewood. We got camp set up and ourselves cleaned up before dark.

As we set next to the fire Lora noticed some flashing in the woods. Upon further investigation we noticed that the synchronous fireflies were putting on a show for us. So we spent the evening enjoying a private showing. Later that night we got to hear an owl as well.

I woke up to the screaming of my name! Thinking I was dreaming, I heard it again. Lora had a deer visit her at her hammock. Of course it took off with all the screaming, but I tried to make an emergency exit of the hammock which is never pretty.  Other than that we had a calm night.

The next morning after breaking down camp, we took the Cabin Flats trail down across the metal trestle bridge to the connection with Bradley Fork trail to claim this trail done. We turned around and started our steep climb back up Dry Sluice. On the way up we saw another grouse, but this time we watched him cross the trail and climb up the side of the the mountain. Much more peaceful!

When we got back to Kephart shelter there was a man from North Carolina that we visited with, then a Father Son from Lexington Tennessee. We got to talk trail with them and give them some suggestions on things to see in the Smoky's.

Another great backpack!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Lilly Bluff

I met the Plateau TTA hikers in Crossville to catch a ride to the trailhead at Lilly Bluff. 12 or 13 hikers today, not sure, but we didn't lose anyone.  We hiked the Point Trail out and back, with lots of overlooks and a bluff climb (bushwhack) for a couple of us. I hope for no chiggers......then out to the overlook. Lunch was here for half the hikers, while the other half ate ours on the go to hike down under the bluffs to see a couple of waterfalls. Our leader picked us up by the bridge and we met the others at the Boulder Field parking lot. This is a really cool area with huge boulders among the gorgeous hemlock forest. This area was donated by the owner to the Nature Conservancy. Glad it was preserved for us to enjoy. 


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

River Park Urban Hike

I drove to the Tennessee Riverpark to hike with SD TTA. McBob was our leader for the morning, with 10 hikers. I had never walked the along the river downtown. We met at the parking area by the Boathouse Restaurant and Raw Bar.

 It's a pretty walk, we passed a marshy area where we saw green heron and a crane. We passed the bluff view art district and walked across the Walnut Street Bridge, down to a new coffee shop and then back the way we came. Lunch was at the Boathouse and it was good. We sat on the terrace overlooking the river.  I had ginger chicken salad on a bed of lettuce, mmmmm, and enough left over for supper too.

We only did about half of the river walk. It starts at the Chickamauga Dam, about a 10 mile walkway, open to bikes too.

Good hike.