Saturday, March 25, 2017

SMHC Backpack

I drove to Maryville to meet up with the SMHC for a backpack/trail maintenance day. We were ready for the drive to Newfound Gap and then to Smokemont to drop off a car. Steve and Tim brought tools for the four of us. Tim carried the loppers, Steve carried the weed whacker and a saw, Amanda had clippers and a folding saw, I had clippers. Ready for battle. We got stopped right away by a group wanting to take our pic and give us trail snacks. They were with the Tremont scavenger hunt team and thought we were thru hikers. There was a lot of traffic between Newfound Gap and Charlies Bunion. We started our maintenance after the Bunion, leaving the crowd behind. Clipping with stitches in my hand from a week ago was challenging (builds character) and sawing limbs left handed was not as easy as I hoped. We managed to wrestle some trees out of the trail but a few are going to have to wait for the chainsaw crew. We cleared trail all the way to Pecks Corner.

There were beautiful views all along the way and we had to stop and soak up as much as we could of all those gorgeous mountains. The Sawteeth always are impressive; Tim pinpointed Bradley's View.

It was supper time by the time we got the shelter. It was a full house with tents all around. I claimed my spot inside but was willing to go hang my hammock if necessary. Evidently hammocks are a no no around the shelters per the head Ranger. With all the thru hikers it's necessary for tents to be allowed. I don't understand how the hammocks would be worse.... The hiker next to the wall was already in his sleeping bag when I got there. Early midnight for him I guess.

I heard a lot of comments from some of the NOBOs about coming back to the Smokies after they finish the AT; they want to see more of this beautiful place. They were all in bed by 7. Thru hikers midnight. It poured down rain during the early morning. It was a good time to sleep in, but two hikers were up and ready to go before daylight, must have been the 23 miles per day pair.  By daylight most of the rain was gone. We cooked, packed, and then started cleaning up around the shelter. One of the thru hikers got a bag and started picking up trash, old socks and things people had left. We filled up the mulch buckets for the privy, and picked up everything but the tissue blooms, that's above and beyond what we do even with gloves on. Tim tied the trash onto his pack, the other guy must have carried the bag out with him (many thanks) after thanking us for all we were doing. This was my first work trip with the club. The rest of the AT maintainers are the hard workers. Read their work reports, you already see their efforts where you hike and sleep and get your water. Their work goes on all year long.

We left with our rain gear on and started up the hill, noticing a couple of hammocks hanging a little ways from the shelter. Then I heard the thump thump thump of a grouse, then a woodpecker laughing. and later another grouse thumping. There sure was a lot of uphill going down Hughes Ridge, getting the 2.6 miles segment I needed for my map :) The rain stopped and it got warm.

Then Chasteen Creek where we went straight down watching for a spur that we somehow missed, seeing beautiful cascades and enjoying the creek views. Stopped at campsite 48 for lunch and resting our feet from the rocky trail. Then to Bradley Fork and out to Smokemont. We piled into Tim's vehicle and started up the road climbing into the rain cloud. I rode back to Maryville with Amanda and managed to leave my shoes in her car. I didn't notice it until I was 30 minutes away. I sent her a message and she sent back one saying she also found my poles and water bottle. Oh my! She said she would mail them ASAP.

She did and the box was at my garage on Tuesday evening. I think she sent a drone to deliver so quickly :)


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Enterprise South Nature Park

Lora and I went to the Enterprise South Nature Park by the Volkswagen Plant in Chattanooga. This is where 100 old explosives bunkers are from the old TNT plant. They have converted in into a bike and hiking trail park. Four of the bunkers are open for tour and there is Hidden Lake on the property as well.

We hiked the Poe Run path, the Hidden lake trail, the Boulder Point trail, the Deer Hollow trail, the Poe Run Overlook, and the Poe Run path again, Making a 5.6 mile loop.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Wolf Cove hike

I had heard about Joette Carter's hike that she leads on her family property but had never been there, so I called her Saturday morning to see if I could join her. She said come join us, and gave me directions to find the entry point. Not too far from Winchester and a pretty drive to get there.

We had 6 hikers. Some who had been here before, but got to see new places on this hike.  We counted 13 or 14 caves, most with water coming out of them or running into them. And two with HUGE entries. Too many waterfalls to count. Joette saved the best for last. I had to just stand there and absorb the beauty, water coming from so many openings in the rock wall and from above and seeing how high the ridgeline was beautiful! If this one was the only waterfall we had seen all day, the hike to it would have been worth it.

 And the wildflowers were showing off. We saw trillium, hepatica, stone crop, yellow and purple violets, anemone. From there we hiked a different route from her usual route along the creek, looking for more caves or whatever we might find. And then the climb... you are in a cove and the only way out is UP. We had to think like mountain goats and switchback our way up to the top.  I was thankful for the trees to grab hold of. Sometimes they come in that way,says Joette , they slide down thru the leaves. Can't imagine. We saw some house sized boulders on the way along the horse trail.

If you ever get the opportunity to go with Joette, do it. It's worth every minute of it.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Edgar Evins SP

Highland Rim trail 2 miles
Millennium/Merritt Ridge 8 miles

Lora and I headed of to Edgar Evins State Park. We camped out at the primitive campsites in the campground. After we got our camp set up, we headed to The Rose Garden 14622 Old Baxter Rd, Silver Point, TN 38582 for dinner. It was a great place to eat with really good prices.

After dinner we headed back to the campground and sat around a campfire. We got to hear owls that night.

The next morning we woke to an owl and then crows. Even got to hear a loon while we ate breakfast. We packed up and headed to the park visitor center. We did the Highland Rim trail for a warm up and then met the TTA for a hike on the Millennium/Merritt Ridge trail.