Monday, December 29, 2008

Deep Creek

A phone call from Jan Agee suggesting a Soddy Gorge hike prompted two more calls to other Soddy Daisy TTA members who no longer have employment obligations and presto… we had a group of hikers, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, George Bonneau, Ed Swanner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins, ready to hit the trail. Starting at Hotwater Road / Sluder Lane trailhead placed us in Little Soddy Historic Mining Area just a few hundred feet down the trail. Many stops were made in the mining area as we examined and discussed the numerous preliminary historic markers recently placed by Steve Smith and Jim Schroeder. A few miles farther down the trail we arrived at Deep Creek area where we walked on trail that had just been rebuilt after being damaged by rock miners. A non-official exit up an abandoned mining road and a few back roads took us back to awaiting vehicles.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at entrance to old coal mine

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lookout Mountain

Mike White, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Carla Hilling, Caroline Woerner, George Bonneau, Ed Swanner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins made a trip to Lookout Mountain which today was hidden in clouds. Although the hike did not go exactly as planned, those not familiar with the area learned the location of historic Cravens House and a back door entrance to Point Park. We’ll try this again, hopefully on a day when the spectacular views are not shrouded in fog.

Hike began and ended at historic Cravens House

Point Park was in clouds today

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mullins Cove

With rain in the forecast, Judy Varner, TC Varner, Tom Grable, Teresa Jordan, Mark Jordan, Carla Hilling, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins packed our rain jackets and headed to Prentice Cooper Wildlife Management Area for a hike around Mullins Cove Loop. Spring like temperatures and no rain during the first 3 miles prompted removal of rain gear and cool weather clothing, leaving most of us in short sleeves. During lunch break at Haley Road, rain clouds moved in and began to release a light sprinkle. A very light rain continued for the next 2 miles and gradually increased as we walked the sixth mile. By trail's end most of us were beginning to get wet pants from water running off our rain jackets. Mother Nature was kind enough to save the heavy rain until after we were in vehicles and on our way home.

Slide show of Don's photos

8 hikers ready for 6+ miles in Prentice Cooper

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trail of Tires Clean-up

Judy Varner, TC Varner, Caroline Woerner, Ed Swanner, and Don Deakins of Soddy Daisy TTA joined the CTC staff, park ranger Dan Basham, and 11 hard working college students from Grand Valley State University in Michigan for a day of maintenance and clean-up on a section of trail in Soddy Gorge that parallels Hotwater Road. This segment, sometimes referred to as “Trail of Tires”, is littered with automobile tires and other trash. Many bags of garbage were hauled out today and although we did not remove any tires, we did consolidate them into piles which will facilitate future removal efforts. Numerous trail repairs and improvements were also completed.

Slide show of today's photos

Caroline doing what she likes best, trail maintenance

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Deep Creek Trail Repair

Mark Jordan and Don Deakins joined the CTC staff, 11 college students from Michigan, and Kurt Emanuelle from Chattanooga Hiking Club for a grueling day of gathering big rocks and building steps on the Soddy Gorge segment of Cumberland Trail near Deep Creek. This stretch of trail along with much of the mountain side was destroyed by rock miners. Although damage to the mountain side cannot be repaired, the trail is being restored to better than original condition.

Mark Jordan building steps

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Stinging Fork Trail Repair

Judy Varner, TC Varner, Lora Smith, Ed Swanner, and Don Deakins of Soddy Daisy TTA joined CTC staff, Lisa Huff, numerous park rangers, and a bus load of college students from UT in Knoxville for a day of trail building and trail maintenance at Stinging Fork near Spring City. Much hard work was completed but many more days like today will be required to get this entire trail up to Cumberland Trail specifications.

Lora Smith raked non-stop all day

College students building trail

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bridge Pays Off

After yesterday's heavy rain, Judy Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins were curious about conditions at the recently completed Possum Creek Bridge so we hiked from Heiss Mountain Road to the bridge site for an inspection. Creek flow was sufficient to make a safe creek crossing impossible and, without this bridge, hikers would have to end their walk at creek's edge. However, with bridge in place, the creek now poses no barrier. We are beginning to reap the benefits of this construction project.

Whitewater under Big Possum Creek Bridge

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stone Door

Sara Pollard of Murfreesboro Chapter joined Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins for a hike to Stone Door at Savage Gulf State Park. This hike could more accurately be described as a stroll. It was an easy 2 mile round trip which required a jaunt down through Stone Door and extracurricular exploration around the rock climbing area to get our heart rate up. Upon our return to the parking lot, Sara headed back to Murfreesboro while Soddy Daisy members went to Savage Gulf ranger station for a slide presentation where we learned about history and content of the park.

Slide show of Don's photos

Natural overlook at Stone Door

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Black Mountain

Teresa Jordan, Mark Jordan, Carla Hilling, Lora Smith, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins joined 14 hikers from Plateau Chapter on a chilly winter morning for a 4.5 mile hike from top of Black Mountain to Cox Valley Road. Two overlooks and a stop at Windless Cave were highlights of the trip. Thanks to Joe Matlock for planning and leading this outing.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Windless Cave