Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ohio 2015

Lora and I were blessed to spend a few days in Ohio with Valerie and Braedon. We also got time in with Gordon, Janice, and Olivia. Braedon took me swimming at the hotel pool alot!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Yellow Stand Lead - Big Frog Wilderness

Day One: 4.1
Yellow Stand Lead 2.3
Big Frog 0.9
Rough Creek 0.9

Day Two: 8.4
Rough Creek 0.6
Fork Ridge 1.8
Big Frog 1.9
Grassy Gap 1.7
Big Creek 2.4

Lora and I headed over to the Big Frog Wilderness for an overnight backpack. We started at the Yellow Stand Lead trailhead. This trail has lots of mountain views this time of year. There was still lots of colors on the trees which surprised us. We took it up to Low Gap where we turned on the Big Frog trail going down to the Rough Creek trail. Rough Creek drops down to the West Fork where after we crossed the creek we hiked to where we found a place to set up camp.

Our campsite was not level and it was very rocky which of course was a challenge to walk around. We gathered firewood and enjoyed a night around a nice fire. Just as we were talking about calling it a day, it started sprinkling. We got camp cleaned up, bear bag hung, and under our tarps before the real rain started coming down. It rained a few times, but not hard through the night.

The next morning we headed out and climbed to the Fork Ridge trail and took it to where we thought was Chimneytop, but no. The trees were all frozen from the night before. We talked to some guys that thought that they were at Chimneytop as well and came to the conclusion that there is nothing special about the place. We headed down trail #64 which is Big Frog and figured this out when we came back into Low Gap once again. So we turned and took Grassy Gap trail to Big Creek instead.

Grassy Gap is a very beautiful trail as long as scenery is concerned. Creeks, mountain views, and a variety of ecosystems. We even got a good view of the frozen Big Frog through a gap. At Big Creek we headed back down to the car. There are lots of camping spots along this trail. There is also one creek crossing of the Peter Camp Branch.

It was another beautiful hike.


Friday, November 13, 2015

TTA Annual Meeting 2015

TTA Annual Meeting 2015.
Hosted by the East TN chapter.

 I got to the meeting Friday evening just in time for supper. The meeeting was The food was good and the company was great. Getting to see hiking friends from across the state is so fun. We had a guest speaker Backpcountry Mgm Specialist Christine Hoyer who presented a great slideshow about the GSMNP. Then some cool music. Then off to the Lazy Daze Campground to set up camp. Sara and I camped along with Gary and Steve. I got to use my hammock since no one was in the spot beside us. It got pretty chilly. 32 the next morning.

 After breakfast, Sara and I hiked with Bruce Whitehead on the Jakes Creek trail. We first met up with the hikers going on the Cucumber Gap, Little River hike, to listen to and walk with a Ranger around the Elkmont historic area. Bruce, Sara and I had a great hike, climbing up to Jakes Gap and back. We got back to Townsend in time to clean up for the evening and shop the white elephant sale and bid on the silent auction items. The dinner was great, catered by Ruby Tuesdays. 

Awards for this year were Joan Hartvigsen for the Bill Stutz Award, and Jim Poteet for the Bob Brown Award. The live auction was lively and hopefully raised a lot of money for the CT spring Breakaway. 

Sunday I hiked with some Soddy Daisy hikers at the East Lakeshore Trail led by Tom Kressler. It was a pretty hike along the Tellico lake area, and thru the surrounding farmland. 

Fun times with the Tennessee TTA hikers. It was good to see everyone again. 


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pretty Hollow - Smoky National Park

Day One: 9.6
Pretty Hollow Trail: 1.6
Palmer Creek Trail: 3.3
Balsam Mt. Road: 0.7
Balsam Mt. Trail: 4.0

Day Two: 9.8
Balsam Mt. Trail: 0.3
Mt. Sterling Ridge: 3.9
Pretty Hollow Gap Trail: 5.6
Total Miles: 19.4

We started in Cataloochee getting to the trailhead around 1 pm. We got to see some Elk on the way to the trail. There were lots of people in the valley and quite a few on the first half mile of the trail. After that we saw three backpackers, two hikers, and two people leading their horses. After that we had the mountains to ourselves! Yes, I told the horse people that I was proud of them for wearing out their horses as you don't see that very often.

It was a beautiful day for hiking and we got a good breeze most of the way to Laurel Gap Shelter. The Shelter has been reworked and looking good! Knowing that we were to have rain tonight, we gathered wood and started our fire in the fire place in the shelter. We had a nice evening around our fire place and no visitors except the resident mouse. He picked on us most of the night climbing around the bunk and packs.

One quick story: I had just fallen asleep and was snoring quite well. Lora had to get her earplugs out of the Ziploc bag. Hearing this I woke up thinking something was in our food bag and yelled "HEY!" and clapped my hands. As I was trying to get out of my blanket, which held me tight, Lora was yelling "What? What?" As I leaped to the floor, I told her that something was getting our bearbag and I was shining my light through the fog at the hanger. After not seeing anything around the bag, I was explaining to Lora that I heard something wrinkling plastic and she explained what she had done. OK, so maybe I worry a little bit too much about my food......

The rain had stopped the next morning and we had a beautiful hike back down the mountain.