Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rock Creek Off Trail

Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Bob DeHart, Bob McGavock, Nance Jo Ogozalek, George Bonneau, Earl Helmer, Jane Ellett, and Matt Stullich repeated a recent off trail hike at Rock Creek where we walked along the base of a bluff line which allowed us to pass under Flat Branch and Rocky Branch Falls. Although round trip is only about 3 miles, it covers some very rugged terrain and could not be rated as an easy hike. It is also best suited for winter because much of the route passes through snake paradise. Since this hike provides so much enjoyment, we will probably do it again before spring.

Don's YouTube video

Group photo at Rock Creek Trailhead by Teresa Jordan


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Prentice Cooper

Sixteen hikers turned out for today’s hike at Prentice Cooper State Forest. Soddy Daisy TTA members Joanne Denise, Maria Lubkowitz, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Bob DeHart, Caroline Woerner, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Bob McGavock, and Lora Smith were joined by Laura Barber of Columbia-Franklin TTA, Steve Watson of Upper Cumberland TTA, Gary Kimbrell of Upper Cumberland TTA, Bruce Harvey of Murfreesboro TTA, Kelly Wilbur of Murfreesboro TTA, Sherry Wilbur of Murfreesboro TTA, and Gavin Wilbur of Murfreesboro TTA.

This hike, advertised as six miles, was probably closer to seven and many participants felt they had walked farther than six miles. The trail was sometimes difficult to follow and at one point we lost it altogether. We wandered a few hundred feet off course before our faithful Garmin GPS got us back on track but we didn’t get back to the trail before talk began of a nomination for the Golden Squirrel award.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo along Haley Road

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Raccoon Mountain

George Bonneau, today’s hike leader, led Sarah Bonneau, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Bob DeHart, Earl Helmer, and Nance Jo Ogozalek on a 4+ mile hike of one of many bicycle trails on Raccoon Mountain. George sets a fast pace so we got a good workout on this mid-week event.

Group photo at overlook over TN River Gorge


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Piney River

Heidi Wilhelmsen and Sarah Hurt joined Soddy Daisy TTA members Earl Helmer, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins for an 8 mile Piney River hike near Spring City. The weather, although questionable, held out through the day. There was potential for rain but we encountered no precipitation. Mid thirties temperature was excellent for hiking but a little chilly when pausing for a break.

Yesterday’s heavy rains had creeks running full and fast, full and fast enough for kayakers which we encountered as we hiked along Piney River. Full creeks were cause for concern as we wondered if crossing McDonald Branch would present a problem. Although we could not cross where trail intersects McDonald Branch, we did find a spot about 100 feet upstream that allowed crossing without casualties but did add sufficient excitement to make this a memorable event.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo along Piney River

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rainbow Lake

Caroline Woerner led Earl Helmer, Adair Darland, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Jane Ellett, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins on an approximate 3 mile hike around Rainbow Lake on Signal Mountain. Hike began at trail head near golf course on Ohio Avenue, skirted golf course for short distance, and then headed down to Rainbow Lake where we stopped for a few photos. After leaving Rainbow Lake, we walked downstream a short distance to Middle Creek Bridge which is a suspension bridge on Cumberland Trail, crossed the bridge and headed back upstream along Middle Creek to another suspension bridge. After crossing the second bridge, we began our ascent back toward the golf course and trail head with a stop along the way at remnants of an old Girl Scout cabin. A short bull session at the trail head ended this ideal mid week outing.

Group photo along Rainbow Lake Trail

















Bob on dam at Rainbow Lake


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Prentice Cooper Off Trail

Jerry McClanahan and Paula Guffey joined Soddy Daisy TTA members Jane Ellett, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins for a 5+ mile off trail hike at Prentice Cooper State Forest. Hike began at Davis Pond where we made a bee line through woods to Natural Bridge using GPS as guidance. Upon reaching Natural Bridge we took a snack break and explored the area under the natural rock formation. Next destination was a foot bridge down Cumberland Trail where we again left the trail and used GPS to find our way back to Davis Pond over some rugged terrain. At Davis Pond we loaded our vehicles and drove to the intersection of Pot Point Road and Tower Road where we parked and headed out through the woods to Ransom Hollow Overlook using GPS to lead us along the most direct route. At Ransom Hollow Overlook we again paused for a short break. We then hiked a short distance down Cumberland Trail and again left the trail for the final leg of our adventure.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Ransom Hollow Overlook


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rock Creek Off Trail

After heavy rains last night, today was perfect for our off trail hike at Rock Creek. Rock Creek was roaring with heavy flow as well as all feeder branches including Flat Branch and Rocky Branch which ensured good flow over Flat Branch Falls and Rocky Branch Falls, our destinations. Today’s route was shorter and much easier than the route we tried on our first visit to the base of these falls. We left the trail near Boiling Spring Bridge and followed the creek down to base of bluff. It was then a simple matter of following bluff line to falls. Terrain along bluff line is rugged but enjoyable and is a great change of pace from the constructed trails we usually follow. I’m thinking we need more off trail events.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Rocky Branch Falls


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lookout Mountain

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hike report submitted by Caroline Woerner

Only 2 hikers chose this November 28 Lookout Mountain hike option but there were no regrets. Caroline Woerner of Soddy Daisy TTA and Laura Barber of Columbia Franklin TTA started their hike at Ochs Gateway, took the spur down to Bluff Trail, and followed the contour of Lookout Mountain for approximately 3.5 miles. Visibility was better than usual but the view was less than stellar due to industry on the valley floor below. We paused a couple of times to watch some rock climbers making their way up the steep rock face that gives Bluff Trail its name. After admiring the view of Tennessee River and a lunch break atop Sunset Rock, we made our way back down to Bluff Trail, descended Gum Springs Trail to its junction with Upper Truck Trail, followed Upper Truck Trail to junction with John Smartt Trail, and climbed back up the mountain to the junction with Ochs Gateway Spur and our waiting vehicle.

Several trail runners were also taking advantage of this mild late fall day by jogging the trails but this duo decided their speed was best left for the younger set. We're comfortable with our own pace!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Buzzard Point

Soddy Daisy TTA members Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Earl Helmer, Jane Ellett, Judy Varner, and Don Deakins were joined by Cathleen Close of Highland Rim TTA, Steve Watson of Upper Cumberland TTA, Gary Kimbrell of Upper Cumberland TTA, Boodie Fox of Chattanooga Hiking Club, and Leslie Eubank for a 10 mile hike to Snow Falls and Buzzard Point at Laurel-Snow in Dayton. Our first stop was Dunn Overlook where we paused briefly to enjoy the view. Then on to Snow Falls which required fording Morgan Creek. At Snow Falls we took an extended break for lunch and tried to obtain a quality photograph of the falls but harsh sunlight made conditions less than optimum. After leaving Snow Falls, we again had to ford Morgan Creek on our hike to Buzzard Point but the view from Buzzard Point made the entire day’s effort worthwhile. The day ended with a long walk back to the parking area.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo on trail to Snow Falls


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Greenway

John Dever, Earl Helmer, George Bonneau, Sarah Bonneau, and Don Deakins were apparently among the few not cooking for turkey day. We met at the Greenway on Hamill Road, hiked down through the rock quarry, then on to the loop trail in Big Ridge Small Wild Area, back through the rock quarry, and ended the 5 mile walk with a trail segment that encircles the Native Vegetation Restoration Project. Although it is late November, weather was not typical for this time of year as today’s spring like conditions brought out ticks and butterflies.

Group photo in rock quarry


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bryan Overlook

Soddy Daisy TTA members Anna Dennett, Maria Lubkowitz, George Bonneau, Earl Helmer, Bob DeHart, Jane Ellett, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, and Don Deakins were joined by Sarah Hurt, Carolyn Reeves of East Tennessee TTA, Carolyn Perry of Chattanooga Hiking Club and Faye Nunez of Chattanooga Hiking Club for a Laurel-Snow hike in Dayton. This approximate 7.5 mile round trip to Bryan Overlook included a stop at Laurel Falls, a climb to top of falls, and a creek crossing where some participants used garbage bags over boots to keep dry. Mother Nature was cooperative and provided this fun group of hikers with perfect weather.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Laurel Falls


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Possum Gorge

Caroline Woerner, George Bonneau, Earl Helmer, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins met at Heiss Mountain trail head and hiked a short distance beyond Big Possum Creek Bridge where we left the trail and followed an old railroad grade to the site of an old railroad bridge. Once there we took an extended break to enjoy the tranquility of this backwoods paradise and perfect hiking weather provided by Mother Nature. This 3 mile round trip was completed upon our return to Heiss Mountain Road.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at old railroad bridge site


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stinging Fork

Soddy Daisy TTA members Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Anna Dennett, Joanne Denise, Maria Lubkowitz, Earl Helmer, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins were joined by Sarah Hurt, Sue LaGraff, Jane Seale, and Katherine Jolly for two short hikes near Spring City. Our first hike, which encompassed only a 1 mile section of Piney River Trail, began at Newby Branch trail head and ended at Duskin Creek where we turned around and retraced our steps back to the starting point for a total of about 2 miles. We then drove to Stinging Fork where we hiked out to Indian Head Point Overlook followed by a climb down to Stinging Fork Falls. At the falls we paused for lunch and a group photo before making the steep ascend out of the gorge. Stinging Fork round trip was approximately 3 miles which made the day’s total distance about 5 miles.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Stinging Fork Falls


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Signal Point to 27

Joanne Denise, Maria Lubkowitz, Anna Dennett, Sarah Hurt, Earl Helmer, Jane Ellett, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins took advantage of today’s ideal weather and hiked 8.5 miles from Signal Point to Suck Creek Road with stops at Julia Falls Overlook, Edwards Point, Mushroom Rock, and North Suck Creek. This is a long hike with rough terrain and at least one long strenuous climb but scenery along the way makes it all worthwhile. We did encounter one sad situation today when we arrived at Mushroom Rock and discovered that vandals have defaced the rock formation by spray painting graffiti from top to bottom.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at North Suck Creek

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Posey Point

Bob DeHart, Earl Helmer, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Dennis Higgins, Bob McGavock, Jane Ellett, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins stayed close to home today and hiked the segment of Cumberland Trail that parallels Hotwater Road. We met at Sluder Lane trail head, hiked down through the Little Soddy Historic Mining Area, crossed Hotwater Road, and continued on to Posey Point where we took a lengthy snack break before retracing our steps back to Sluder Lane. Mother Nature was cooperative and provided perfect weather for this 4.5 mile round trip.

After the hike, Bob DeHart and I drove to Bakewell where we laid out a course for our next GPS navigation exercise. This event will be scheduled as part of next Wednesday’s hike.

Group photo along trail to Posey Point


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Flipper Bend

With the weather forecast calling for rain throughout the day, Lora Smith, Bob DeHart, Ed Swanner, Earl Helmer, Bob McGavock, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins came prepared for a wet 10 mile hike but rain had subsided by the time we arrived at trail head. Although we did encounter a few insignificant sprinkles during the hike, none were sufficient to warrant rain gear. However we did not end the day completely dry. There were a few wet socks at hike’s end, the result of many creeks and wet weather streams we crossed. Wet socks were a cheap price to pay for what turned out to be an excellent day on the trail.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at big pond on Flipper Bend Loop


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Flat Branch Falls

Our goal today was to find a route to the base of Flat Branch Falls and Rocky Branch Falls. Ed Swanner, Bob DeHart, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins met at Rock Creek lower trail head and discussed our options. A Rock Creek trail map clearly indicated the best route would be to hike in from the upper trail head so we relocated vehicles to Leggett Road upper trail head parking area and hiked from there down to the lower side of Rock Creek Loop where we left the trail and began bushwhacking our way down to creek’s edge. Upon reaching the creek, we began walking along the creek but, after a short distance, terrain forced us away from the creek and up a very steep slope. Eventually we reached the base of the bluff we were searching for. Following the bluff line took us straight to our destination, Flat Branch Falls and Rocky Branch Falls. Although this hike covered extremely rough terrain, it produced an extremely enjoyable day in Rock Creek Gorge.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Flat Branch Falls

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Black Mountain

Soddy Daisy TTA members Bob DeHart, Earl Helmer, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Bob McGavock, Don Deakins, and Carol Deakins were joined by Jill Tarchala of Nashville TTA, Adair Darland, and Sue LaGraff for a short hike on Black Mountain Loop Trail near Crossville. A light rain ended as we reached the trail head parking area atop Black Mountain but cool temperatures and dense fog persisted which limited visibility to a few hundred yards. As we neared the end of the loop trail, fog lifted and sun broke through which prompted a decision to hike a portion of the loop again so we could enjoy the southern overlook view which had been totally obscured on our first pass. Sunny conditions did not last and the hike ended under heavy clouds.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Southern Overlook


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rock Creek

Nance Jo Ogozalek, Earl Helmer, Jane Ellett, Bob DeHart, Larry Cook, and Don Deakins were joined by guest hikers Susan Bryant, Jenn Cox, and Scott Francis for a hike into Rock Gorge to inspect new pole bridges at Boiling Spring, Flat Branch, and Rocky Branch. Our day also included a stop at Rock Creek Overlook and two off trail side trips to little known and seldom seen Flat Branch Falls and Rocky Branch Falls. A few hikers attempted to find a route to bottom of the falls. We were successful in locating an access down to Rock Creek but, due to time constraints and very rugged terrain covered in poison ivy, we decided to postpone our attempt to reach the base of falls until a later date.

Slide show of Don's 3 photos

Group photo in Rocky Branch


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lula Lake BBQ Feast

To celebrate our first anniversary as a TTA chapter, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, and Nance Jo Ogozalek put together a BBQ feast at Lula Lake Land Trust. Soddy Daisy TTA members that reaped the benefits of their efforts were George Bonneau, Ed Ellett, Jane Ellett, Larry Cook, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, Earl Helmer, Teresa Jordan, Mark Jordan, Caroline Woerner, Ed Swanner, Bob DeHart, TC Varner, Judy Varner, Edna McGavock, and Bob McGavock. Michelle Melton, a guest, also attended the celebration.

The Lula Lake property is laced with trails. While some participants spent the morning preparing for the mid-day meal, others took advantage of the trails and sights they provide. Two sights that by themselves made the trip to Lula Lake worthwhile are Lula Falls and the view from Bluff Trail but the highlight of today’s trip was, without a doubt, BBQ.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Lula Lake


Friday, October 16, 2009

Rock Creek Day 2

Soddy Daisy TTA members Larry Cook, Earl Helmer, Ed Swanner, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins joined Kurt Emanuelle, Larry Ryan, Jim Hardy, Tony Hook, a large group of UT students from Knoxville and three guys I can mention by first name only – James, Paul, and Roger. REI participated financially by donating $2000 to this project.

Much was accomplished today. All tools were moved to Boiling Spring bridge site. Building material for Boiling Spring Bridge was carried to Boiling Spring while material for Flat Branch Bridge and Rocky Branch Bridge was carried to Flat Branch site. Boiling Spring stringers were laid in place and bolted together. Boiling Spring Bridge should be completed tomorrow when treads and handrail will be installed.

Boiling Spring Bridge at end of day 2


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rock Creek Day 1

Soddy Daisy TTA members Ed Swanner, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins joined Larry Ryan, Jim Hardy, Ronald Skiles, Tony Hook, a large group of UTK students, and a few others whose names I failed to obtain for a work day at Rock Creek.

Day 1 of Boiling Spring, Flat Branch, and Rocky Branch pole bridge construction got off to a slow start. A moderate rain persisted from the time we arrived at Leggett Road Upper Trailhead until all lumber and tools were unloaded and staged along the trail where it begins its drop into Rock Creek Gorge. By that time, everyone was wet to varying degrees and it was still raining so the work day was terminated. Work will resume tomorrow when slightly better weather is forecast.

2/3 of today's crew


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rock Creek

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This hike got off to a late start because of weather. Earl Helmer, TC Varner, and Don Deakins arrived at Upper Leggett Road trail head three hours after the originally scheduled 9:00 AM to find Lora Smith's car in the parking area. As we were loading up in preparation to shuttle over to Retro Hughes trail head, Lora called. She had braved the weather and solo hiked 5.5 miles to Retro Hughes trail head. She waited there while we drove over. Four hikers then headed into Rock Creek Gorge. After reaching Rock Creek camp site, we paused for a group photo and a short rest break. Lora and Earl then headed on to Upper Leggett Road trail head while TC and I set up camp for an overnight stay.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Rock Creek Campsite

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Audubon Mountain

Ed Swanner, Jan Agee, Caroline Woerner, Bob DeHart, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Jane Ellett, Earl Helmer, and Don Deakins hiked about 4 miles at Audubon Mountain, a little known, seldom used, and presently incomplete trail in Sale Creek. This trail begins at an observation platform near Rock Creek Upper Leggett Road trail head, switchbacks down the escarpment to the valley below, and ends at an old one room house that may eventually be used as a shelter for thru hikers on the Cumberland Trail.

After an extended break at the old house, we retraced our steps back up the escarpment. The climb back to the top was as enjoyable as the hike down, thanks to optimum weather conditions.

Group photo on observation platform near trail head


Monday, October 5, 2009

6th Meeting

6th Chapter Meeting
Held at Soddy Daisy Municipal Building

In Attendance:
  • Don Deakins
  • Carol Deakins
  • Jan Agee
  • Brandy Selman
  • Teresa Jordan
  • Mark Jordan
  • Judy Varner
  • Nance Jo Ogozalek
  • Earl Helmer
  • Bob DeHart
  • Jane Ellett

Meeting began with treasury report by Jan Agee.

Discussed donations and item acquisition for auction at annual TTA meeting. Jane Ellett, Jan Agee, and Nance Jo Ogozalek will request donations from Walmart, Rock Creek, and Stockdales.

Established October meeting as annual officer election or appointment period.

Discussed process for submitting volunteer time sheet to CTC.

Discussed setting up a TTA booth at Greenway Fall Festival.

Collected fee for BBQ feast at Lula Lake on Oct 17.

Discussed Cumberland Trail registration requirements for camping and overnight trail head parking.

Discussed process of scheduling and leading hikes.

Made tentative plans for November hike schedule.

Nance Jo suggested obtaining a Soddy Daisy TTA Chapter banner for use as a promotional item. She plans to work up a design and investigate cost.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

River Rescue

As part of a community wide river clean-up and community service project more commonly known as Tennessee River Rescue, Soddy Daisy TTA members Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Judy Varner, TC Varner, Earl Helmer, Bob McGavock, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins along with Alex Schafer, Susan Bryant, and 12 college students from UTC removed an assortment of old washers, dryers, refrigerators, TVs, and automobile tires from North Chickamauga Creek Gorge. Although this trash had to be hand carried over the most rugged segment of trail, two all terrain vehicles (ATVs) with cargo beds did the long distance hauling. Thanks to Bob DeHart and Cumberland Trail Conference for providing ATVs and a special thanks to the guys from UTC. Their assistance turned a difficult job into a relatively easy task.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at trailhead

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stump Jump Preps

Soddy Daisy TTA members Jan Agee, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Bob McGavock, and Earl Helmer joined Tony Hook for a long day of Cumberland Trail maintenance on Signal Mountain between Rainbow Lake and Mushroom Rock with chain saw, weed eaters, and loppers. Their goal was to prepare that section of trail for the October 3 Stump Jump Trail Race sponsored by Rock Creek Outfitters. Race contestants should encounter an obstacle free course.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Greenway

Connelly Ensign, Jan Agee, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Earl Helmer, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins enjoyed our first hike of the year in fall like conditions. Our 4.5 mile Greenway walk began with a slightly cool temperature and ended in optimum conditions for hiking. Anyone awaiting fall weather conditions to resume hiking should be dusting off your equipment because cooler weather is here.

Down in rock quarry

Monday, September 28, 2009

Prep Work Complete

Soddy Daisy TTA member Bob DeHart joined Larry Ryan, Jim Hardy, and George Summers at Rock Creek to complete prep work at Rocky Branch Bridge site. All planned preliminary work at Boiling Spring, Flat Branch, and Rocky Branch is now complete. Actual construction of replacement bridges is scheduled to begin on October 15.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Signal Point Complete

Bob DeHart and Earl Helmer joined Tony Hook, Larry Ryan, Jim Hardy, George Summers, Don Taylor, and Mo Logan to complete Signal Point stair repair and construction that was interrupted by rain yesterday.

Soddy Daisy TTA has a hike scheduled for 7 November that begins at Signal Point so we will get the opportunity to use these new stairs.

Signal Point construction crew

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Signal Point Maintenance

Soddy Daisy TTA members Bob DeHart, Ed Swanner, Earl Helmer, Bob McGavock, and Jane Ellett joined Don Taylor of Nashville TTA, Jim Hardy of Plateau TTA, George Summers, Alex Schafer, Tony Hook, and a few others for wood and rock stair construction on Cumberland Trail near Signal Point trail head. Building materials were moved to work site but construction was interrupted by heavy rain which soaked everyone. Work will resume tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Flat Branch

Bob DeHart, Nance Jo Ogozalek, George Bonneau, Ed Swanner, Earl Helmer, and Don Deakins joined Tony Hook, Jim Hardy, and George Summers for another day of prep work at Rock Creek. We spent the entire day at Flat Branch dragging two logs to the bridge site and de-barking those same two logs. Prep work is now complete at Boiling Spring and Flat Branch but two logs at Rocky Branch need to have bark removed. Any volunteers?

Connecting cable to log


Dragging log with come-a-long

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Savage Gulf

Caroline Woerner, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Bob DeHart, Earl Helmer, Don Deakins, Judy Varner, and TC Varner were joined by guest hiker James Cotter of East Tennessee TTA for an approximate 6 mile hike from Stone Door ranger station to Greeter Falls with stops at Stone Door, numerous overlooks along Big Creek Rim Trail and Greeter Trail, Boardtree Falls, and Greeter Falls. Although we hiked in light rain for about 3 miles, it wasn’t sufficient to wet clothing, however hikers without hats did get damp hair. The day ended with a cookout at Stone Door ranger station and this time it wasn’t interrupted by rain.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at bottom of Stone Door

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Prep Work

Tony Hook, Jim Hardy, Bob DeHart, Larry Cook, and Don Deakins turned out in less than optimum weather for another day of bridge prep work at Rock Creek. Shortly after our arrival at Flat Branch it began to rain heavily, soaking us, and finally forcing us to seek shelter under a rock ledge along Flat Branch. We watched as Flat Branch was transformed from a dry creek bed into a flowing stream. In spite of the rain we did complete our planned task. Next Wednesday we will complete debarking stringers at Flat Branch and Rocky Branch which will finalize prep work.

Previously dry Flat Branch after heavy rain

Monday, September 14, 2009

TTA Promotion

Bob McGavock organized and conducted a two day Rails to Trails and Tennessee Trails promotion which consisted of setting up a booth along the walking track at Soddy Daisy Veterans Park, handing out literature, and providing verbal information about both organizations. Each day (Sept 14 & 15) included two periods, an 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM morning session and a 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM evening session however the Sept 15 morning session was rained out. At least one representative from Rails to Trails participated and numerous Soddy Daisy TTA members pitched in. Many thanks to Bob.

Slide show of Don's photos

Rails to Trails and TTA promotion booth

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Possum Gorge North

Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Bob DeHart, Jane Ellett, Ed Ellett, Judy Varner, TC Varner, Anna Dennett, Susan Bryant, Darryl Bryant, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, and George Bonneau hiked a section of Cumberland Trail in Possum Gorge between Retro Hughes Road and Little Possum Creek Bridge. A shortcut exit from Little Possum Creek Bridge on a .7 mile jeep trail resulted in a total distance hiked of approximately 7.25 miles. Due to a casual pace, numerous stops, and an extended lunch break at Imodium Falls, 5.5 hours were required to complete the 7.25 miles.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Retro Hughes Trail Head

Friday, September 11, 2009

North Chick Clean-up

Representatives from Soddy Daisy TTA, Cumberland Trail Conference, North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, and TVA teamed up for a clean up project at North Chickamauga Creek. Work consisted of removing old automobile tires and appliances such as washing machines, dryers, stoves, and TVs that had been dumped here many years ago. This large group was able to collect and transport the trash to a location accessible by ATVs. It will be hauled off during the next River Rescue event scheduled for October 3, 2009.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More Rebuild Preps

Soddy Daisy TTA members Bob DeHart, Caroline Woerner, Bob McGavock, Earl Helmer, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Jane Ellett, Don Deakins, and Carol Deakins joined Tony Hook of Cumberland Trail Conference and Jim Hardy or Plateau TTA for another day of prep work on Rock Creek pole bridges. We completed prep work at Boiling Spring Bridge and ended the day working at Flat Branch Bridge. Looks like we may spend the next two Wednesdays trying to complete this work.

Debarking log to be used as stringer in new bridge


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Possum Gorge South

Soddy Daisy TTA members Bob DeHart, Randy Holcomb, Connelly Ensign, Jean Parker, Earl Helmer, George Bonneau, Jane Ellett, Don Deakins, and Carol Deakins were joined by Plateau TTA members Don Hazel, Karla Miller, and Linda Barclay along with BF Barker from Signal Mountain for an approximate 4.5 mile Cumberland Trail hike from Heiss Mountain Road to an unofficial exit point on Retro Hughes Road. This hike through both Big Possum Gorge and Little Possum Gorge required utilization of recently constructed Big Possum Creek Bridge and Little Possum Creek Bridge. These bridges have transformed this section of trail into one that can be through hiked year round, regardless of stream flow.

Slide show of Don's photos

Snack break on rocks at Little Possum Creek Bridge

Friday, September 4, 2009

GPS Training Session

Participants for our first GPS training session were Mark Jordan, George Bonneau, Ed Swanner, Jane Ellett, Earl Helmer, Bob DeHart, Caroline Woerner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins. We began with a discussion about the Global Positioning System in general and the basics of how it functions. After the class room session, we got hands on practice learning how to record coordinates for our present location, how to enter coordinates for distant locations, how to navigate to the distant location, and ended the session with each participant independently navigating previously established courses. We plan to continue these exercises until everyone becomes intimately familiar with their GPS receivers and are comfortable leaving the trail with only GPS to guide them.

Our GPS training class at Bakewell ball field

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bridge Rebuild Preps

The group today consisted of Alex Schafer, Jan Agee, Bob DeHart, Earl Helmer, Bob McGavock, Ed Swanner, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, Judy Varner, Brandy Selman, TC Varner, Tony Hook (General Manager of Cumberland Trail Conference), Jim Hardy of Plateau Chapter, and Brad Johnson. Seven workers did maintenance on a 2.5 mile stretch of trail between Rock Creek Bridge and Leggett Road Upper Trail Head while the others did preliminary work at Boiling Springs Bridge site in preparation for the bridge rebuild scheduled in October. We did not complete all work planned for today. This preliminary work must be completed before bridge rebuilding begins so our schedule for next Wednesday will be a duplicate of today.

Group photo before work began

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Soddy Gorge - Deep Creek

Soddy Daisy TTA members Bob DeHart, Jean Parker, Connelly Ensign, Bill Leiper, Earl Helmer, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, George Bonneau, Ed Ellett, Jane Ellett, Don Deakins, and Carol Deakins were joined by guest hikers Sarah Hurt, Anna Dennett, Maria Lubkowitz, and Joanne Denise for an approximate 5.5 mile hike in Soddy Gorge. Hike began at Hotwater Road / Sluder Lane trail head parking area, proceeded down the Trail of Tires, crossed Hotwater Road, and continued on to Posey Point where we paused for a short break. About 1.5 miles further down the trail we stopped for lunch at entrance to an old coal mine. Another half mile down the trail and we entered Deep Creek area where 13 of 16 hikers made the climb down into the creek for a group photo. The day ended with a 1.5 mile hike on an old mining road and Old Hotwater Road which lead us back to awaiting vehicles.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo on big boulder in Deep Creek

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rock Creek Overlooks

Bob DeHart, Judy Varner, Earl Helmer, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Bob McGavock, Jan Agee, Deb Wilder-Kimberlin, Jane Ellett, George Bonneau, Sarah Bonneau, Ed Swanner, and Don Deakins took about 3.5 hours to complete a 4 mile hike which included lengthy stops at Rock Creek Overlook, Rock Creek, and Leggett Point Overlook.

Today’s Rock Creek hike began at Leggett Road upper trail head where minimal parking is available but we demonstrated this area can accommodate more vehicles than is immediately apparent. I expect we will park even more cars here as cooler fall hiking weather draws near.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Rock Creek Overlook

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day at Deer Hole

Lora Smith, Caroline Woerner, Bob DeHart, Jayne Hasting, Earl Helmer, Judy Varner, TC Varner, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Ed Swanner, Ronald Skiles, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins enjoyed a day of hiking, swimming, cooking, eating, and relaxing along Rock Creek but enjoyment was only one reason for this trip. A few of us who haven’t backpacked in years dusted off old equipment and took it for a test run today in preparation for an upcoming and as yet unscheduled backpacking trip. Looks like, at least for me, it may take a few more practice trips to re-establish old routines but it will be fun.

Group photo in middle of Rock Creek

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trail Maintenance

Soddy Daisy TTA is fortunate in that we almost always have a good turn-out and today was no exception. Participants for today’s maintenance hike were Bob DeHart, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Caroline Woerner, Bob McGavock, Adair Darland, Earl Helmer, George Bonneau, Sarah Bonneau, Jan Agee, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Jane Ellett, and Jane’s visiting cousin from Arizona, Deb Wilder-Kimberlin.

Although the section of Cumberland Trail that parallels Hotwater Road was in relatively good shape, we gave it a touch-up with weed eaters, loppers, pruners, folding saws, and a rake. We also carried garbage bags and collected trash along the way.

We ended this enjoyable and productive event with an extended bull session at Sluder Lane trail head.

Maintenance crew at Sluder Lane trail head

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Firey Gizzard

Soddy Daisy TTA members Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Bob DeHart, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Earl Helmer, Bob McGavock, George Bonneau, Sarah Bonneau, and today’s hike leader, Larry Cook, were joined by guest hikers Adair Darland, Sarah Hurt, Cherie McCroskey, Susan LaGraff, Keith Davis, and Jayne Hasting for a short but beautiful hike at Firey Gizzard near Tracy City. Our original plan called for a 2+ mile hike but a side trip to Sycamore Falls increased the total distance to 3+ miles. Majority of today’s route paralleled either Little Firey Gizzard Creek or Big Firey Gizzard Creek which afforded never ending scenic views.

A fun group of hikers combined with beautiful Firey Gizzard trail made a long drive well worth the effort.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Sycamore Falls

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Raccoon Mountain

George and Sarah Bonneau led today’s hike on Raccoon Mountain. They introduced Bob DeHart, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Earl Helmer, Bob McGavock, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Keith Weller, Jan Agee, and Jane Ellett to a trail system we didn’t know existed. We hiked 4 of the approximate 19 miles available around the pumped storage reservoir which leaves 15 miles of trail yet to be explored. Those 15 miles will inevitably show up on our future schedules.

After our 4 mile walk George led our caravan on a tour of Raccoon Mountain and then led us back to civilization. Thanks to George and Sarah for a fun filled day.

Group photo along East Rim Switchyard Connector Trail


Hiking along the Grindstone Ridge Trail

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lookout Mountain

Caroline Woerner, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Earl Helmer, Larry Cook, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, and Bob DeHart were joined by guest hikers Connelly Ensign and Jean Parker for an approximate 5 mile hike from Craven House to trailhead near Nature Center and back. Our original plans called for parking near Nature Center and hiking up to Craven House but a park ranger informed us of an automobile break-in problem at the lower trailhead and advised us to park at Craven House and start our hike from there. Since none of us were familiar with the road route to Craven House, the park ranger kindly offered to lead us there. His advice and assistance were truly appreciated.

Early arrivals at the lower trailhead got to hear something not commonly heard in this area. A pack of coyotes was howling which in turn got red wolves at the Nature Center howling so we heard howling in stereo for a few moments.

Lookout Mountain is covered with intersecting trails. It would be very easy to make a wrong turn and spend much more time in the woods than originally planned. Today's hike leader, Caroline Woerner, recently pre-hiked this route to ensure we had no problems. Thanks to Caroline for a well executed plan.

Group photo along trail below Craven House


One of few level areas on today's trail

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Possum Gorge

Participants for our mid-week hike into Possum Gorge were Jan Agee, Jane Ellett, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, and Bob DeHart. Although it was only about 1.4 downhill miles to our destination, Big Possum Creek Bridge, we took a very long cool down break prior to our return hike back to Heiss Mountain Road. During that time we made photos, solved a few world problems, and enjoyed the tranquility of Big Possum Gorge.

Group photo on Big Possum Creek Bridge

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Frozen Head

Our exploratory trip to Frozen Head turned out to be a little more strenuous than any of us had expected. Soddy Daisy TTA members Jane Ellett, Ed Ellett, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Bob DeHart, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Ed Swanner, and Earl Helmer along with Greg and Manni Jordan of Knoxville and Christy McGuffey of Chattanooga hiked about 8 miles, most of which was uphill and steep. Majority of today’s group would probably rate Bird Mountain Loop Trail on the high end of the moderate scale and up into the strenuous range. Even though it was a tough hike, exploring new trail with a great group of people made it a day to remember.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo atop Bird Mountain

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Deer Hole

Soddy Daisy TTA members Ed Swanner, Earl Helmer, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, and Nance Jo Ogozalek were joined by Bob DeHart for an exploratory hike up Rock Creek with a goal of selecting a suitable spot on the creek for our August 22 backpacking style cook-out. Three locations locally known as Little Boom, Big Boom, and Deer Hole had been suggested. Each area offers swimming holes and sufficient room for a crowd to spread out and cook. After a visit to each, Deer Hole was selected because it has the largest and deepest pool, a large flat rock is available for use as a table, and scenery is unsurpassed. Deer Hole access is made easier via a shortcut up Rock Creek which circumvents a large section of Cumberland Trail and the hills within that segment.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Deer Hole

Monday, July 27, 2009

Night Hike

Soddy Daisy TTA members present for the Night Hike at “Head of Sequatchie” were Lora Smith, Tracye Pool, John Dever, Keith Weller, Teresa Jordan, Mark Jordan, Judy Varner, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, and Earl Helmer. Adair Darland accompanied Earl and numerous family members from Texas and Florida accompanied Tracye for a total of 22 hikers.

Hike leader Anthony Jones attempted to call in bobcats, coyotes, and owls with his imitation cries of a rabbit in distress but our large crowd and less than complete silence probably prevented any and all wary animals from approaching our location.

We had better luck talking to owls. Although we couldn’t see them, Anthony’s calls had numerous nocturnal birds talking to us and one curious owl landed in a nearby tree for a more intimate conversation.

Group photo as we await darkness


Cumberland Trail park ranger and hike leader Anthony Jones