Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday With CTC

31 hikers from as far away as Memphis kicked off Volunteer Appreciation Day hosted by Cumberland Trail Conference. First event of the day was an approximate 8 mile Brady Mountain hike which started at Highway 68 trailhead. After a long uphill climb we arrived at Brady Bluff Overlook where we stopped to enjoy the view of Grassy Cove far below. Next stop about mid-point of the hike was Lost Overlook where we paused for lunch. Last half of the hike was uneventful. Upon reaching Jewett Road trailhead, we loaded into awaiting vans and headed to Cumberland Mountain State Park where we were joined by many other trail volunteers for a BBQ dinner. Award presentations ended the event.

Slide show of Don's photos

26 of 31 hikers taking first break

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Raking Rock Creek

This week’s mid-week hike turned into a Rock Creek maintenance event with Ed Swanner, Caroline Woerner, TC Varner, Judy Varner, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins participating. We removed a number of fallen trees from the trail and raked leaves from a large portion of Rock Creek Connector Trail and Rock Creek Loop. After six hours of hard labor, rakes began to get heavy and enthusiasm waned. There is still work to be done and it remains on our “To Do” list.

Ready for trail maintenance

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Brady Mountain

Today’s participants were Doug Welch, Ed Swanner, Scott Harrison, Drew Harrison, Jessica Harrison, George Bonneau, Andrea Edgemon, Lizzy Caldwell, Brandy Selman, Lora Smith, Caroline Woerner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins.

The trip to Brady Mountain began in rain but precipitation was short lived and clear skies were visible on the horizon before we reached our destination. The climb up Brady Mountain began under sunny skies and cool temperatures. At the top of Brady Mountain we were exposed to wind which, in conjunction with cool temperatures, made it a little uncomfortable at times.

Trip highlights were an airplane crash site where the plane still resides and Brady Bluff Overlook which provides a spectacular view of Grassy Cove.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Jewett Rd trailhead

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2nd Mid-Week Hike

The 1.5 mile Blue Blazes Trail at Moccasin Bend was selected for our second mid-week hike. Participants were George Bonneau, Sarah Bonneau, Brandy Selman, Jan Agee, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins. A portion of the trail runs along the Moccasin Bend Golf Course property line. We took advantage of the golf course open area to enjoy the warm sun on this cold winter day and to obtain our group photo. As usual, this Soddy Daisy TTA group combined trail maintenance with our hiking. We carried two pruning shears and did some minor trimming along the way.

On tee box # 14 at Moccasin Bend Golf Course

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cold Day At North Chick

9 hikers that braved today’s cold weather were Jan Agee, George Bonneau, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, Carla Hilling, Brandy Selman, Lora Smith, Ed Swanner and Ronald Skiles. Weatherman was reporting 16 degrees but our home thermometers were indicating from ten degrees down to near zero. As cold as it was, we were only a few hundred yards up the trail when people starting shedding clothes. Doesn’t take long to warm up when hiking uphill.

After reaching ladder # 1 and Boston Branch Overlook, 3 hikers decided to return to the parking lot but 6 other forged ahead with intentions of visiting Stevenson Branch Campsite. Upon reaching Ladder # 2 we learned that the ladder is designed only for monkeys and humans. Ed’s dog could not get down the ladder so the dog had to stay behind. Ed stayed with his dog. 5 of us continued on toward Campsite # 1 and Stevenson Branch Campsite. The trail from Ladder # 2 to the campsites is not much of a trail. It is more of a route and would be difficult if not impossible to follow if not for orange flagging. Even though the trail is nothing to brag about, the campsites are worthy of effort required to get there. They are large, level, and adjacent to water.

The climb from Campsite # 1 back to Ladder # 2 is rugged and strenuous. It made this 9 mile hike seem much longer. I’m glad we were only carrying day packs.

Slide show of Don's photos

9 hikers enjoy 16 degree weather

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

1st Mid-Week Hike

Three participants, Judy Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins turned out for our first scheduled Wednesday hike which took place at the Greenway on Hamill Road. We were greeted by much milder weather than anticipated. After parking at the tennis court, we made a bee line to the old rock quarry and then on to the temporarily closed parking lot near Chickamauga Dam. On our return trip from dam, we took a side trip into the Big Ridge Small Wild Area on a 1.25 mile loop trail constructed by Boy Scouts. A final walk along the creek ended an approximate 6 mile outing.

Today's trailhead was Greenway tennis court

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Snow Falls (Almost)

Lora Smith, her nephew Nick Smith, Carolyn Reeves from East Tennessee Chapter, Zach Sutherland, Lizzy Caldwell, Judy Varner, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins met in Dayton at Laurel-Snow trailhead for a hike to Snow Falls. We fell short of our Snow Falls destination when we encountered an impassable creek just a few hundred feet from the falls. After an about face and a short break for lunch at the creek’s edge, the second half of the 9 mile hike began but an unplanned side trip to Buzzard Point turned our planned 9 mile hike into 10 miles. The extra mile was well worth the effort as the view from Buzzard Point was the highlight of the entire trip.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at trailhead

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sun, Rain, Sleet, Snow

Today’s unplanned hike from Heiss Mountain Road to Big Possum Creek and back was unique; it started under sunny skies and ended in a mixture of snow, sleet, and rain.

Creeks were really roaring after heavy rains, so much in fact that we took an off trail excursion to Blanchard Creek in an attempt to learn why this particular branch is so loud, even during summer months when flow is low. We found one section, a long steep cascade, that generates much noise but there may be other spots farther downstream that we did not investigate.

Mid-week hikes have been the topic of discussion for a while but today we decided to make them regular events. Our Google calendar will now contain an event each Wednesday. There will be little if any advanced planning and the schedule will be flexible to allow Wednesday’s hike to be shifted to Tuesday or Thursday as needed.

Off trail excursion to Blanchard Creek

Falls near Heiss Mountain Road Trailhead

Whitewater under Big Possum Creek Bridge

Monday, January 5, 2009

3rd Meeting

3rd Chapter Meeting
Held at Soddy Daisy Municipal Building

In Attendance:
  • Don Deakins
  • Carol Deakins
  • Jan Agee
  • Brandy Selman
  • Michael White
  • Lora Smith
  • George Bonneau
  • Caroline Woerner
  • Ed Swanner
  • Mark Jordan
  • Teresa Jordan
  • Judy Varner
  • TC Varner
Guest Speakers:
  • Jim Poteet (Highland Rim Chapter)
  • Jim Adams (Soddy Daisy City Commissioner)
  • Marietta Poteet (Highland Rim Chapter)
  • Danny McSpadden
  • Andrea Edgemon
  • Zach Sutherland

Jim Poteet, member of Highland Rim Chapter and long time member of TTA, gave an interesting and entertaining slide presentation about history of Tennessee Trails Association. Jim also provided a description of what to expect during the upcoming wildflower hike at Piney River.

Jim Adams, Soddy Daisy City Commissioner, stopped by and provided information on the status of Rails to Trails program and informed us of tentative plans for a trail around Soddy Lake that will ultimately be a spur off the Cumberland Trail. He requested notification of our next meeting.

We established Soddy Daisy Municipal Building as our permanent meeting location and the first Monday of January, April, July, and October as our permanent meeting schedule.

Soddy Daisy TTA Chapter decided to adopt a section of Cumberland Trail. That section is the segment from Hotwater Road to Deep Creek.

Caroline Woerner suggested we obtain Soddy Daisy TTA business type cards to pass out to hikers we meet on the trail as a means to recruit new members. She will check on cost.

Caroline Woerner informed us of Spring Break-Away and suggested we participate. We will schedule a few work days when that work schedule becomes available.

TC Varner informed us of upcoming preliminary work on Little Possum Creek Bridge. That project will also go on our schedule as firm dates are established.

Meeting was adjourned and reconvened at Rafael's Italian Restaurant.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Piney River

We had an excellent turnout today which consisted of Jan Agee, George Bonneau, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, Carla Hilling, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Wesley Jordan, Brandy Selman, Lora Smith, Ed Swanner and two of his hiking buddies, Ronald Skiles and Doug Welch. Ronald and Doug may soon join Soddy Daisy TTA and become regulars at our events. Karla Miller, a member of Plateau TTA Chapter, drove from Crossville area to join us. Five members of Nashville Hiking Meetup Group, Eve Proper, Kay Stevenson, Lauren Beck, John Smith, and Kelly Stewart, who coincidentally had Piney River Trail planned for today, hiked along with us. A short appearance was made by Fred Doss, Jennifer Doss, Scott Bowman, Lauren Bowman, and two of their friends whose names I can’t remember. Our pace was not sufficient to keep their heart rates up so they raced ahead.

Mother Nature was very cooperative, temperature in the 50s and minimal precipitation, except for one short period when we had to stop and dig out rain gear.

Thanks goes out to TC Varner who recently hiked this trail with chainsaw in hand and cut out many trees we would have otherwise had to climb over.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Flat Rock on Piney River

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Soddy Gorge - New Year's Day

Caroline Woerner, Tom Grable, George Bonneau, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins were accompanied by another group of hikers today, Zach Sutherland, Lizzy Caldwell, Danny McSpadden, and Andrea Edgemon. This 5 mile walk on Cumberland Trail from Hotwater Road to Mowbray Pike did not last long as cool temperatures provided incentive to keep moving. However, numerous stops were made along the way to cut away trail obstructions as both George and Caroline carried bow saws. Bow saws were not sufficient for larger trees across trail so those were left for a return trip with chainsaw. I see a maintenance hike on the horizon.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at overlook under power lines