Monday, May 29, 2017

Collins/Barren Fork Rivers

I met Craig in McMinnville at 127 boat ramp. It has a nice parking area, but you have to carry your boat a little way to the water. The current was too strong for paddling upstream. So plan B. We consulted the river map book and the TWRA site to find some other ramps. The VFW was the next one. It was crowded with kayaks and people that didn't know the rules of using the ramp. Craig did a great job maneuvering the trailer down between all the boats and gear.

We headed upstream fighting the current occasionally. Saw about a thousand turtles. We didn't see anyone until the confluence of the Barren Fork. We decided to paddle on the Barren Fork for a break in strenuous paddling. Found a shallow spot for lunch out of the sprinkles, then paddled as far as we could. Turned around and met the TWRA officers in their motorboat. They were cheating, anyone could go upstream with a motor. Started a faster trip back, no paddling, just steering, listening to the birds sing.

Got back to the VFW ramp and had the same issue with kayakers not knowing the rules of sharing a ramp, but they moved when the TWRA officers pulled in with their boat. We got out of the river just ahead of the rain.

About 6 miles round trip


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sale Creek with Sara and Don

I met Don and Sara in Sale Creek for a kayak trip. We put in on Illes  Road boat ramp. This is directly across from Patterson road boat ramp. This was my first trip in the kayak this year, and had my new PFD too. The boat floated and I remembered how to paddle it. We went thru the marsh grass area to Rock Creek as far as we could go, then turned around and paddled to where you can see Brown's Bridge. We saw some ospreys and a few nests.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Clear Creek - TN River

Finished exploring Clear Creek off  the Tennessee River North of the Hwy 30 Bridge. We put in on the East side of the bridge and paddled up stream to Clear Creek. Saw some baby ducks, they swam as fast as they could to hide while mama duck tried her best to distract us. Two different osprey nests were being fiercely guarded by the parents. They didn't like our canoe, As we paddled into a more shallow part of the creek we got to see lots of gar, and one swimming snake.
The waves in the river got higher on the way back to the boat ramp. Lora got some steering practice, a few close encounters with logs. More practice time needed...


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Hyatt Ridge

The Chattanooga Hiking Club planned this hike. I met Jamison and Ashley in Hixson and rode to the Oconoluftee Visitor's Center where we met Barbara our hike leader and the other 12 hikers. We loaded up and drove to Straight Fork Road and left a couple of cars at the Hyatt Ridge trailhead and drove on the the Beech Gap Trail. Four hikers took off for their 16 mile day, and the rest of us hiked uphill to campsite #44 where we had lunch. This campsite doesn't look as pretty as it did 6 years ago. Hogs have rooted up the area and the grass was high around the bear hangers. A couple hiked by and told us about a man-way that goes by the spring and continues on from here. Will have to check it out sometime.

Five of us left the campsite with all the car keys so we could collect all the cars and get them to the Hyatt Ridge trailhead. Joyce and I got to see a snake but it wiggled away too fast for me to get a pic. And no I didn't scream..... We saw lots of wildflowers; painted trillium, Southern red trillium, umbrella leaf,  wild ginger and more Solomon's seal than I have ever seen.

We moved all the cars and hung out until everyone came down the hill. I rode back to Chattanooga with Boe and Monty after a scenic trip around Big Cove and Cherokee.

It was a great hike and a fun time with CHC.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Rainbow Falls - Benton Falls

Lora and I headed out to the Cherokee National Forest to find waterfalls on the Chilhowee Trail System. We went to the Tennessee Landforms website and located falls to search for.

We started out at the Clemmer Trailhead on Hwy 30. It was 1.7 miles out to the "Rainbow Falls" according to their map. On the trail sign it just said water falls. There were a couple of good water crossings to be done on the way out there going across Rock Creek.

The first fall you come to is the 20' Rock Creek Falls. Off to your left there is a path going up along the rock wall. Once up on the rock wall you continue hiking to the 40' Chestnut Mountain Falls. From there you will notice water coming in from the left. Climb up the bank through the rhododendron about fifty yards to the 25' Thornburg Ridge Falls Which flows from under a large rock bridge. Continue to work your way above the falls to find yourself facing the 16' Big Bluff Falls.

We hiked back to the car and then headed to the Benton Falls trailhead at McKamy Lake. We did the 0.5 mile hike around the lake first. You can just  go straight over the dam to get to the trail. As you head down to the base of Benton Falls you will notice a footpath to the right when the trail makes a left. This footpath ends shortly and you have to climb through the rhododendron to the 20' Silvermine Creek Falls. Straight ahead across the creek you can climb through the rhododendron to view the 20' Elora Falls. We headed back to the car and almost made it before the rain poured down on us.