Sunday, June 26, 2016

North Chickamauga Creek - Don

Lora McBride, Judy Varner, TC Varner, and I had an unusual but fun day on the water. We launched our boats at the new North Chickamauga Creek WMA Canoe / Kayak Launch near Northgate and almost immediately had to get in the water and drag our crafts over or around one log jam after another. In the first one forth to one half mile we spent more time in the water or on the bank than we did in the boats but it made for a day to remember.

I took lots of pictures of which 33 are posted below. If you get to the photo of the Barred Owl, look closely and you can see there are two owls in the picture.

Don's photos

Sunday, June 12, 2016

TTA Mt. Cammerer

Joan planned another camping/hiking weekend in the Smokys, this time at Cosby. I really like this campground. It’s peaceful, always find a spot to camp, nestled in the mountains, a beautiful creek to cool off in, and trails to climb mountains right there. Most of the group had arrived by lunchtime Friday and hiked to Sutton Ridge on the Lower Mt. Cammerer Trail, then the Cosby Nature Trail. 2 snakes reported. I got there just in time for supper. We had fried chicken and BBQ, baked beans, steamed broccoli, several different salads, and desserts-mmmm, the best thing about front country camping-you can bring whatever will fit in your car! It looked like tent city in the group campsite but I found two trees without poison ivy covering them to hang my hammock. The group next to us was really excited about being there and didn’t want to slow down their fun. Around midnight I suggested in my “don’t make me come over there” voice that it was time to go to sleep. ZZZZZZZZ. 

The birds woke us up to another beautiful day for a hike. Low Gap to Mt. Cammerer Lookout. It’s a steep climb up Low Gap to the AT. We found lots of gnats at the junction and Gloria Dale modeled her bug net for us. We saw quite a few hikers, and a few Southbound thru hikers, trying to hurry since Cosby Knob shelter was closed due to bear activity and would have to keep on going to the next shelter. If they came from Davenport Gap Shelter, that’s about a 15-16 mile day. Plus, Tri Corner had bear warnings also. On the way down we got to see a rattlesnake that must have thought we couldn’t see him since his head was hidden in the grass. We cooled off in the creek at the end of the hike. Some of the ladies got to see turkeys and a bear being released after being captured and tagged. We relaxed for a while and then headed to dinner at the Magnolia Tree. Good food and cold drinks, great conversation. Back to camp for another campfire, no marshmallows, good cough medicine, pretty moon and stars, and some overly bright stars projected from a campsite up the hill from us. I had just heard a story on NPR about how most people in the US have never seen the Milky Way or a star filled sky due to light interference. So I guess you can make your own starry sky with a projector. Weird. Our neighbors were quieter tonight, talking quietly and went to bed when we did. Hmmm.

 Sunday morning birds singing, sun shining. Breakfast of champions, pack up, head out to another trail. Hen Wallow Falls via the Gabes Mountain Trail. Pretty creek crossings, wildflowers, and a steep descent to the falls, steep climb back up from the falls. Back at the parking lot some said goodbye and headed home. A few of us stayed and had a picnic with the leftovers. Then, saying our goodbyes, Joan headed to Big Creek to check out the next camping destination. 

Nancy’s list of wildflowers we saw: Beebalm, goat's beard, Mountain wood sorrel, red elderberry, whorled loosestrife, rhododendron, Mtn. laurel, Solomon's Seal (gigantic!!), Partridge berry, Indian pipe, Pipsissewa, Galax, Canada Mayflower, bluets, Indian cucumber. 

Hikers: Joan, Marcia, Bill, Marietta, Sara, Jan, Jean, Kathy, Gloria Dale, Nancy, Betty, Garnett, Jane, Lora.