Saturday, February 27, 2016

Chickamauga National Military Park

Chickamauga Battlefield was the destination for the SD TTA hikers. Eleven hikers started at the Visitors Center and hiked 7 plus miles. We passed lots of cannons, monuments, markers, tablets, . There are over 50 miles of trails here. Some for foot traffic only, horse trails and bike trails. Color coded also, be sure to pick up a trail map at the visitors center.

Here is a link to some interesting facts about the Battle of Chickamauga

We ate at Park Place after the hike. Good food!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

PilotWines Loop - Big South Fork

Three of my backpacking friends had agreed to go on a wintertime overnight with me (with disclaimers: not too cold, no ice/snowstorms/not too far away/ect.) This weekend looked promising. Other than the updates I was getting from Craig and the Outcasts from their trails.

We drove to Big South Fork, Station Camp East trailhead to hike the Pilot/Wines trail. The parking lot was full of trucks and horse trailers. We were hiking the trail counterclockwise. They all went the opposite direction maybe to the Big Island Loop. The trail was in fairly good condition after the rain/snow earlier in the week. Not too much mud. We got to see the Wilderness Resort cabins and stable on the border of the park; they have immediate access to trails from their cabins.  I was able to find Pilot Rock for the ladies to see. It really is impressive. We got to the river level and hiked up the creek to find a campsite out of the mud. There was plenty of firewood and a log to sit on by the campfire. It stayed cloudy thru the evening but we did see the moon shining thru.

Sometime thru the night, it rained a little, then the thunder woke us up at daylight. We got packed up and started cooking breakfast under my tarp when Nancy’s fuel canister rolled down the bank into the creek. I ran down to the crossing to try and catch it. It got stuck between a rock and a hard place, so I grabbed it.

We headed out to cross the creek, sprinkles came and went. We got to the Dome Rockhouse and had a snack in the dry. When we got to the car all the horse trailers had disappeared, I guess horses don’t like rainy days. Just as we were loading up, the rain came down. Good timing! We stopped at the Hitching Post for something to drink and talked with the owner and his companions. You can’t get permits here for overnight backpacks anymore. The park service has an online option or at the Visitor Centers. It was really handy to get them here in case you weren’t going into the visitor center areas. He also runs a lodge in case you need a place to stay.

We got to the Cracker Barrel to the other car and during swap over Amy noticed her poles were missing. She had left them in the Station Camp parking lot while changing shoes. After a quick call to the Visitor Center, the Ranger told her he would check it out when he got off work. Hope he finds them so she can get them back.

Thank you to my adventurous backpacking friends for agreeing to a February backpack J

Sunday, February 14, 2016

CT - Soddy Creek

Day One: 12.2 Miles
Mowbray Pike to Board Camp Creek

Day Two: 4.8
Board Camp Creek to Heiss Mountain Road

Total Miles: 17

Lora and I headed to the Cumberland trail to backpack the Soddy Creek Gorge.  We started on Mowbray Pike trailhead and hiked to Hwy 111. We have not hiked this section since 2013.

It was a beautiful day and me met a few people out on the trail after we got past the Hot Water trailhead. We checked out the two new bridges over Deep Creek and Soddy Creek. It was a challenge going over Deep Creek as a tree was laid up the side of the bridge. Lora crawled on her belly under the tree, but I had to take my pack off and hand it to her.

When we went through the cliff wall section along Board Camp Creek the trail was covered with ice to help us out with our challenge.  A couple of miles further we found a flat area to set up camp for the night.  We enjoyed a night around the campfire.

The next morning we headed out and met one guy that Lora had hiked with before.  It was a good hike with my best hiking partner.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

TTA Roaring Creek

Today’s hike was on the Cumberland Trail at Roaring Creek. 8 hikers with John as our hike leader. We started out at a fast pace, trying to get warm. Or maybe because everyone else’s legs were longer. The first water crossing slowed us down then the climb up the ridge warmed us up. We had beautiful views from the overlooks into the valley below, and Cranmore Cove. At that overlook you can see both Sequoia and Watts Bar’s towers (how safe do you feel now?) We left three of our hikers here to have their lunch. 

We continued on to Galbraith Creek and had lunch there, studying on how deep and slick the water crossing  would be. Nobody wanted to wade, so after we ate we headed back to the trailhead. No critters today other than buzzards. No goat, no wildflowers. Good company and a beautiful day to hike.

This was scheduled to be a long and difficult 12.6 miles.  However, due to high water at Gilbreath Creek, the hike was shortened to 9.2 miles.  The weather was good.  It started out quite cold in the 20s but eventually warmed up to about 50.  The roar from the high water made the name Roaring Creek appropriate.  The hikers from today's hike were Gloria, Don, Lora, Pat, S. Cutter, Mark, Pete and John.