Sunday, January 29, 2017


Lora and I headed to Laurelbrook on our mountain so she could show me two trails that led to a fall and a point. She had found these a few days ago and wanted to hike them. So when we got there the first hike was 0.4 miles to the 20' Brush Creek Falls. Then we drove around to the point trail and hiked 0.5 miles out to an overlook of Roaring Creek Gorge.

After we got back we did a map search on the area to find where we were and what we were looking at. We found out that we had hiked to this fall before from the other side off of Rigsby road.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

SMHC Abrams Falls-Cooper Road

Billy and Steve from the SMHC organized a great hike with Jeremy Lloyd, Naturalist from Tremont Institute. We started in Cades Cove at the parking lot for Elijah Oliver cabin. There were more than 15, less than 20 hikers.The forest around here had been burned at some point and Jeremy was teaching us to look at the forest as we hiked. We saw some interesting things today. A bear paw print beside a deer hoof print in the dirt. Some old coyote scat with persimmon seeds in it. A pitch pine among a white pine forest, and learned to recognize it. And Abrams Creek is the lowest elevation in the Park. And you can see Look Rock tower from the trail.

We hiked from Abrams Falls to Hatcher Mountain; it was good to see the pines growing again after the tornado in 2011 ripped the forest apart here. The forest renews itself after fires and tornados, it just takes time. Some of the pines were 5 years old; we learned from Jeremy how to count the whorls of limbs to count the age of the pines. We found a sunny place on the trail to have lunch, and a few found a good spot to stretch out for a little while.

From Hatcher Mountain to Cooper Road, the 5.5 miles I needed for map marking! And back to the cars. 13-14 miles. Didn't get Wet Bottoms this time. Maybe next trip. We came out with more than 15 less than 20 hikers so I guess the 10% rule worked.

Thanks Jeremy, Billy and Steve for a great hike!


Friday, January 20, 2017

MLK Smoky Mountain Weekend 2017

Garnett planned a great weekend for the 12 of us. Staying in a huge log home in Pigeon Forge, hiking every day, sharing meals and cooking duties, relaxing and hanging out. I got there in time for dinner Thursday evening, added my cough medicine to a variety of bottles on a side table and filled up on black bean chili and chicken chili, served by Judi and Nora, yummy! Amy took me on a tour of the house, 9 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, some with Jacuzzis, two living rooms, various decks, hot tub area, and huge upper parking area. Roscoe’s Retreat can sleep 18 (more if you want to camp on the decks).
Friday after a great breakfast we carpooled to Elkmont and hiked Curry Mt/Meigs Mt trails, got back to the cabin for Judi’s treats for hungry hikers. Another wonderful dinner by Amy and Linda, and the hot tub for relaxing tired muscles and an evening walk to top it off.
Saturday, after another yummy breakfast, we took advantage of the weather outlook for no rain and hiked Alum Cave.  Impressive trail work, new footbridge, cables in the rocky areas, steps built, two years of restoration work well done! We had a candle lighting and prayers for remembering Betty’s son Chris while at Mt LeConte, she said he loved this trail journey. Such a lovely way to honor his memory.
Nancy and I grilled chicken and asparagus on the charcoal grills outside. Haven’t used charcoal in a long while. We had to use a flashlight and headlamps to finish up, and her yummy roasted veggies, salad and apple pie filled us up. And another evening walk kept me from falling asleep too early.
Sunday we filled up on another yummy breakfast then we drove up Newfound Gap to Kanati Fork trail… well actually we passed the trail and parked at Kephart Prong and walked back up the road. Have to get those extra miles in! It was a little wet so we had a variety of colors in all the raingear. Uphill, and a mudslide about a mile in, two hikers got down and dirty. Lunch at the junction then back down. Then to Oconoluftee Visitor Center where we met up with Amy, Nora and Judi who had hiked the Tow String Trail and they reported it was not the mud bath they expected, but in good condition. We hiked the River Trail to the park boundary, a lovely hike along the river. Back to the cabin for more delicious munchies from Judi’s magic supply. Dinner by Garnett, cornbread, brisket so very tender, cornbread, salad, and did I mention cornbread??? Delicious.
Monday morning pack up and breakfast bagels by Gloria Dale and all the lovely leftovers and fruit. Hugs and goodbye’s to Amy, Nora, Gloria Dale, Cathy, Marietta, Dianna, Betty, and Judi who were all heading home, Nancy, Linda, Garnett and I headed to Cosby to hike Maddron Bald/Gabe’s Mountain so Linda could finish Gabes for her map. We had a pretty hike to campsite #34 which is really pretty and has lots of room. Had lunch and music here, then hiked back with Garnett practicing her balancing act along the trail. Impressive. Back at the trailhead we parted ways, and I drove to Cherokee Orchard Road to see if it was open. It was even though the fires had burned all thru this area, there were full parking lots for Rainbow Falls and at the gate for Grotto Falls. Good to know for future map marking.

Happy to have had this MLK weekend with all these fabulous ladies. This was their 10 anniversary for MLK hiking weekends. Congratulations!


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Falling Water Falls State Natural Area

Lora and I headed out to the Falling Water Falls State Natural Area on Signal Mountain. We hiked to the 110' Falls and then drove to the unmarked trailhead at the corner of Ivory and Glenway. This trail leads to Falling Water Falls and is about 2 miles long one way.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

First Day Hike Denny Cove

First Day Hike Denny Cove

This was a TN State Park hike led by Ranger John Ball with South Cumberland SP. The directions had a google map with the entry road across from the Foster Falls Volunteer Fire Department. I wrote down the directions and entered into my GPS. I gave myself 30 extra minutes since I wasn't familiar with the area. The GPS took me on the scenic route across Sequatchie Mountain Road, thru the dense fog, up then down the mountain. I turned around went back, called Craig for help, asked my phone to google it, my other GPS said I was still 30 minutes away. I finally got back on 41 and found the VFD, turned in 15 minutes late. Met a car coming out that said they drove in and saw No Trespassing signs and came back out. I told them it was a mile in but they didn't want to trespass so they left. I drove on and found the huge parking lot with a state truck and maybe 10 other cars. I got my pack and poles and started looking for the entry point. I found flagging but no sign. Another lady showed up and I told her we could hike together and maybe find the other hikers. She agreed to try it so we scouted for boot prints in the mud, no luck, then crossed the  gravel road and saw a road/trail and walked that way, found flagging then the bluff. We saw the Ranger and the other hikers down below, and started to climb down but they waved us on along the bluff to a better trail. One hiker came back to guide us. There are other trails used by the rock climbers leading to lots of climbing routes.

After apologies for our lateness, we hiked two miles in, seeing two waterfalls, and views into the beautiful cove, and  the Buffet Wall used by the climbers, There are lots of anchors on the wall so you can see some of the routes they take. No climbers today since it started out rainy and wet. The rain stopped for the hike, so we enjoyed hearing the Ranger tell us about the area. The trail ended along the Buffet Wall, volunteers are needed to continue the trail, There is another waterfall close by. The climbers deserve a lot of thanks and praise for getting this much built. Here is a link to their site, they are fundraising to help pay for the acquisition of this land.