Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tim's Ford State Park

We headed out to Tim's Ford State Park. We were told by the lady working the front desk that there was a back country site, but it was not open yet. On the way out we met the ranger and talked to him about the site. He wrote up a permit for us and said that we would be the first to use it.

We started  at the welcome center and hiked the Lost Creek Overlook Trail to the Marble Plains Trail to the Ray Branch Trail out to the campsite. According to their signs is a 8.8 mile hike to the campsite. You can shorten this hike by starting at the Marble Plains Baptist Church on Marble Plains Road and hike 6.5 miles. Basically you hike the shoreline all the way to camp.

The campsite is located on the top of the finger on the West side of Ray Branch. You can walk a short ways down to the water on the Evens Loop. We set up camp and enjoyed the evening by the campfire under the bright stars above. All night we heard the Loon, geese, and owls.

The next morning we did the Evens Loop and then hiked back to the church. We took the Marble Plains ADA trail out. After lunch we took the 4.4 out and back hike on the Spann House trail which is another nice hiking trail.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Twentymile Loop

I met Judi and Gene at the Motorcycle Pit Stop on 129 and then traveled with them on the Dragon Tail to the Twentymile Ranger Station. We only saw a couple of zippy cars as we started on the Dragon, no motorcycles today. No photographers either. Off season I guess. There were a few cars already in the parking lot when we arrived at the trailhead. We started up the trail and followed the Twentymile trail on the old railroad grade past the cascade. We smelled the campfire smoke before we got to campsite 93, several guys still around the campfire. We stopped for snack at the junction of Long Hungry Ridge and the Loop trail at the Proctor Field Gap. Then it was new trail for me! It's a pretty 2.9 mile trail with a small waterfall just before the junction of Wolf Ridge. We stopped for lunch at the junction and Gene made us some hot tea; he had carried his stove, fuel, cups and an assortment of tea and coffee. My cold hands were very happy to hold a  cup of hot tea. Gene demonstrated his fuel cannister and windscreen and pot. This stove can burn wood too.

We had all carried our water shoes for the crossings on Wolf Ridge but didn't have to wade any creeks because some really nice folks had built bridges and had cabeled the bridges to rocks and/or trees. Maybe now when the creek rises it won't wash the bridges away. One of the bridges was curved and pretty high above the creek. Impressive bridge building!

Thanks Judi and Gene for a great hike! I got home and got my pink highlighter out and marked off another trail!


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fiery Gizzard Day Loop

The South Cumberland SP advertised a hike on Sunday with a Ranger to Sycamore Falls. I went for the hike but the Ranger had been called to the Stone Door for an emergency so I decided to hike the day loop while I was there. There were several vehicles in the parking lot and a few hikers coming off the trail. One couple started just ahead of me, so I took my time enjoying the beautiful day. I saw some valentines along the trail; a blue rock with a heart on it.

The couple ahead of me stopped to take pics at the Blue Hole so I stopped to say Hi and offer to take their pic for them. They were from Georgia and had come up the day before and were exploring the area. I told them about the trail and surrounding areas, and then hiked on. It sprinkled a little bit before I got back to the car. Even tho I didn't hike very long, I still made the required after hike stop at the Dutch Maid Bakery. One strawberry filled jelly roll, and a Tennessee Moonshine wedding cake. Mmmm good.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

McGill Creek

Lora and I hiked the McGill Creek segment of the Cumberland Trail from Downy View Road to McGill Creek. This segment is under construction. We parked by the fence and followed the flagging. There are two sections on the way to the creek that are built trail. You walk through the woods then follow a small stream down into the McGill Creek gorge. There is a waterfall just before you get to the creek. Beautiful area.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Cumberland Trail - Arch Mt. Section

Lora and I headed out the hike the Arch Mt. section of the Cumberland trail. We dropped off a car at Frozen Head State Park where the ranger told us the story of rescuing some backpackers the night before.  They had gotten cold and couldn't get a fire started. It had gotten down to around 0 degrees.

We started the hour and a half journey over to Smoky Creek. We took the Southern route which traveled along 116, Shea Road, and then Smoky Creek Road. Lots of gravel and you feel like you are out in the middle of nowhere.

After finding the parking lot we started with our crossing of Smoky Creek. Cold and wide! Soon afterwards we found that you are going to really have to pay attention to the blazes. This trail is in need of hikers and volunteers to do some clearing. We cleared as much as we could along the way, but it needs lots of feet on the trail and it is going to need some chain saws as well.

The trail travels through some very pretty areas along the creek. The water runs out as you climb to the ridge for the rest of the hike to Frozen Head. In the description at mile 5 heading South (8 if heading North), it is a little misleading. There is no water or camping area once you start climbing and you get above the creek.

We camped just above the spring for the creek up on the hill side. We got a good fire going, but the wind picked up and gave us a challenge dodging the smoke. We had to get up a couple of times to restake our tarps.

Once you are on the ridge there are a lot of views especially this time of year. It was a little hazy for our hike, but you could see a long ways.

This trail is quite strenuous.