Sunday, November 27, 2016

Harrison Bay State Park

Lora and I headed to Harrison Bay State Park after church. We hiked each of their trails and enjoyed the afternoon.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Cloudland Canyon TTA

Soddy Daisy TTA, I met George and Gail in Red Bank and we drove to Georgia to Cloudland Canyon. Pete met us at the Visitor's Center. It was a cool and windy 42 degrees. We hiked the West Rim Trail and enjoyed the beautiful views into the canyon. Lunch was at a rocky area out of the wind. Thanks to Sarah, George brought homemade biscuits with jelly or sausage. Yumm!

Back at the trailhead, we drove to the East side and looked into the canyon from that side. According to the park map there are a lot of trails here we still need to explore.

After saying goodbye to the other hikers I drove to Chickamauga to see the Gordon Lee Mansion. I walked around the grounds of the manor. According the the website of the Friends of, there will be candlelight tours during December. 


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Laurel Fork Creek Trail - BSF

Lora met me on Thanksgiving Day at the Middle Creek Trailhead of Big South Fork Recreation Area. We left my car there and drove to the West Entrance Trailhead. We hiked to the Laurel Fork Creek trail and headed Northwest crossing the creek 15 times on the way. This is a very pretty hike with lots of opportunity for camping along the creek.

We got to see one snake, two backpackers, and two horses with riders that should not have been on this trail. The sign said NO HORSES

After we completed the 8.5 miles we drove out to the Leatherwood Overlook and hiked the 0.5 out to the actual overlook.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Black Mountain

Brrr this morning! I met Crystal at the Brady Mountain/Black Mountain trailhead on Hwy 68 after driving thru beautiful Grassy Cove. We were checking out the trail to make sure we were at the right place because we couldn’t see any blazes or signs on the Black Mountain side of the road ??? We left her truck there and drove to the top of the mountain to start our hike. We were bundled up for the cold air, toboggans and gloves and scarf. We checked out the spring house then the spectacular overlook of Grassy Cove. We couldn’t see much of the Smoky Mountains, it was hazy that far out, but the sky was as blue as could be. Nice to see after the smoky days from all the wildfires. We hiked to the northern overlook but the views are not very good there, looking thru the trees. Then we started the downhill thru the bluff walls and boulders, checked out the campsite. Lunch was at Windless Cave, then on down the trail. Nice trail building on the bottom section. It sure was a beautiful day for hiking.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

McGill / Rock Creek

We had 10 hikers to meet us at the Roaring Creek trailhead in Graysville to hike the new McGill Creek segment of the Cumberland Trails. This trail begins left past the kiosk. Don Deakins of the Cumberland Trail Volunteers led us on this 4.5 mile out and back.  

After the hike we drove to the Upper Leggett Road trailhead in Sale Creek to begin the Rock Creek Gorge Loop. We had lunch at the Rock Creek overlook but because of the forest fires in the area there was a smoky haze in the gorge.  It was a beautiful lunch spot and then we continued on the loop to the Leggett Point overlook.  The loop goes along Rock Creek but unfortunately due to the drought the creek and side streams were completely dry. It was still a beautiful day for a hike and the fall leaves were beautiful.

Hikers from our chapter were: Craig McBride, Sara Pollard, Jan Safavi, Wayne Yancey, Jennifer Zahn. Lora McBride from the Soddy Daisy chapter joined us as well as Cumberland Trail Volunteers Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Judy and TC Varner.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cades Cove camping weekend

Herb set up a Slackpacker weekend and welcomed me to the group. I drove to Cades Cove after work Friday and found the group of campers around a roaring fire. I don’t think I have ever seen that much firewood at a campsite before. I was invited to a table full of food topped off by Judi’s delicious lemon cake. Plans were discussed for the next day’s hikes, what trails needed to be marked off maps; Judi working on her SECOND map!!! With a full belly I slept well under the stars, just the hammock, no tarp. I woke up to the sounds of a crackling fire, Firemaster Herb and master trail coffee barista Dwight already working hard. Pumpkin bread (made by Judi) and hot chocolate by the fire, packs ready to go, Gene, Judi and Garnett heading for the Rich Mountain Loop, Dwight for a scenic drive, Amy, Gloria Dale, Herb and I started for Rainbow Falls Trail. With a two wheeled U turn in the middle of downtown Gatlinburg we got biscuits from McD’s, (thanks to Gloria Dale) The trailhead parking was already packed so Herb was instructed on parking procedures going the wrong way on a one way road and we secured a spot. We headed up, and with a lot of wardrobe changes, made it to the Falls which was little more than a trickle. Further up we had two youngsters ask us how far to the Falls, Herb and Gloria Dale pointed them back down the trail. They must not have recognized the trickle they passed. We saw a spur trail that led to an overlook and Amy and I made an executive decision that it wasn’t necessary for map marking. We found the junction for Rainbow Falls and talked to a trailrunner that had passed us earlier and gone up to the lodge and back and was heading down Bullhead to finish his 3 hour run L Amy led us down Bullhead looking back along the way trying to see the Bull. I didn’t see it on the previous trip even with all the other ladies pointing out the obvious to me. We made it back to the trailhead and headed down the road towards Gatlinburg but got stopped by a bear jam. Bear sighting #1. We followed the crowds thru town, then managed to miss our turn by Sugarlands, With more informed directions Herb did another amazing U turn in the crowds of cars to get us on the right road. We marveled at all that traffic trying to get into Gatlinburg. Never seen it that crowded. At the entrance to Cades Cove we got in another bear jam and saw the full grown bear munching in the leaves on the hillside, not ½ mile from our campground. He must have found enough to eat, we didn’t see him after that.

We arrived to another food filled table with hot soup and cornbread (made by Judi) ready for us. We shared our hiking stories and Dwight’s drive and waited for Amy’s dance. We studied maps and planned Sunday’s hikes, shared cough medicine around the fire and watched the stars show up. The coyotes woke us up sometime thru the night, and Gloria Dale’s noisy neighbors finally settled down. I snuggled into Craig’s down quilt and enjoyed another night in my hammock. 

Sunday morning I woke to the sound of a crackling fire. The extra hour for the time change gave Judi enough time to rise and bake coffee cake for breakfast. I am loving this slackpacking getogether! Amy was heading to Rich Mountain Road to finish Indian Grave Gap, Gloria Dale was going to Anthony Creek to get a few miles in, Gene and Judi had to pack up the RV, Dwight and Herb were packing up, Garnett and I were on our way to Round Top Trail. We left her car at the Y and drove to the trailhead on Wears Valley Road. We snagged a parking spot .1 miles from the trailhead. Round Top is a pleasant trail, not a popular one according to the Little Brown Bible. We found one tree in the trail, and a big downhill slide that must be a re-route gone bad and was startled by a big bird. When we got the Little River crossing Garnett scouted out a good spot to cross. It was cold and knee deep and felt refreshing. In the parking lot we were applauded and cheered by two ladies who had watched us cross. Garnett took me back to my car and we stopped traffic for a short time, no U turns, all 4 tires on the road, no horns blaring. A great weekend of beautiful weather with good friends and new friends.