Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Possum Creek

Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins were joined by Jolene Hare, a potential new member, for a late evening hike from Heiss Mountain Road to Big Possum Creek. Cloudy skies created comfortable conditions for this 2.5 mile round trip. In an attempt to attract new members, we will be scheduling more of these short but enjoyable hikes in the near future.

Group photo on Big Possum Creek Bridge

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Clear Branch

Carol and I arrived at the trailhead to find Ted and Judy Varner along with Park Rangers Andy Wright and Dan Basham preparing for a day of trail maintenance which was to consist of trail inspection, picking up trash, and painting trail markers on trees. I had plans to hike Clear Branch Loop so Carol and I headed down the trail before any work began. After completing our walk around Clear Branch Loop and on our return trip to the trailhead, we encountered Ted and Judy as they painted trail markers along the trail. Carol and I joined them for the remainder of the day. I sure am tired after watching Ted and Judy work all evening.

Lunch break at Rogers Creek

TC and Judy Varner painting trail markers on trees

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Flipper Bend

Caroline Woerner, Bob McGavock, Brandy Selman, Nance Jo Ogolacek, and Don Deakins logged 9.5 miles in 5 hours hiking Flipper Bend Loop under perfect weather conditions. As we paused for lunch at the power line overlook, Ed Swanner walked up and joined us for a while. After lunch, Ed headed back toward the trailhead via the power line right-of-way and we continued on down the Flipper Bend Loop Trail toward Pocket Wilderness Overlook. After a short break at the overlook we began the second half of the hike which was uneventful except for a couple of water breaks.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at trailhead

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Soddy Gorge

Soddy Daisy TTA members Caroline Woerner, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Linda Henley, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, Bob McGavock, and Lora Smith joined Jim Schroeder, Mike Harvey, Sara Pollard, and Eric Luncford of Murfreesboro TTA Chapter, Don Taylor of Nashville Chapter, and Jim Hardy of Plateau Chapter for a hike thru Soddy Gorge. We shortened the hike to around 8 miles by walking down Old Hotwater Road which provided access to a gravel road built during the recent rock mining activities. That road led us to the Cumberland Trail at Deep Creek. The Deep Creek crossing provided a little excitement but fortunately resulted in only a few wet feet. The hike turned into an adventure about 1 mile further down the trail where we encountered Soddy Creek. After about an hour of searching for a safe route across the creek, many hikers decided to settle for a less than optimum crossing location. That resulted in 4 hikers taking an inadvertent dip in painfully cold water along with all their possessions including packs, cell phones, and wallets. A few others hikers got wet to varying degrees.

We expended so much energy crossing the creek that we decided to take a lunch break along Soddy Creek which was about 2 miles earlier than previously planned.

We learned 2 things today:
  1. This hike should be attempted only when creek flow is low.
  2. It is time to start carrying a summertime water supply.
Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo on Soddy Gorge Trail

Hike report filed by Jim Schroeder
13 TTA members -- 7 from Soddy Daisy, 4 from Murfreesboro, and 1 each from the Upper Cumberland and Nashville Chapters -- gathered to hike the Soddy Gorge from the Deep Creek rock mining road to HWY 111. Parking shuttle vehicles well off the shoulder on the south side of HWY 111 just east of Board Camp Creek, the group met at Sluder Lane and Hotwater Road, scattering 6 vehicles around the intersection (It sure would have been nice and a lot safer had the long promised trailhead parking facility been in place).

Based on a report that the drive to the rock mining road had been potentially blocked, we departed the assembly point at 10:15am EDT and walked the mile along Old Hotwater Road to the rock mining road, only to find it had not been blocked. Proceeding to the trail and down to the bridge crossing point of Deep Creek, the stream was easily crossed.

Upon reaching Big Soddy, we found the stream flow faster and deeper than anticipated based on the water levels in North Chick as recorded at the on-line USGS data bank, with levels falling below the 5.9 foot level at 6:am. (As North Chick goes, so goes Big Soddy). With 5.0 generally considered an easily doable crossing level, it was anticipated that Big Soddy would be easily crossable also. But this was not to be the case. Not wanting to give up completing the hike, considerable searching and testing for a viable crossing point was undertaken. Two were located just upstream of the proposed bridge site and one quite a distance downstream. Donning "water" footwear, all hikers eventually made it across the stream in knee to thigh water depths at the various locations, but not without some casualties, which included 3 hikers slipping and becoming partially submerged, one lost trekking pole, one injured hand, and one water logged cell phone, the writer being one of the victims. Gee it sure would be nice to have the required bridge built at this location some day -- and also a lot safer.

With this crossing taking considerable time, we opted to enjoy lunch on the north bank of Big Soddy before proceeding onward in a warm and drying sun. The rest of the hike was uneventful as compared to the Big Soddy crossing although we all were subjected to showers at the rock wall area along Board Camp Creek. Sections of the trail were as pretty as ever, especially along the reaches of Board Camp. A number of wild flowers were in bloom and there were a surprising number of scarlet buckeye flowers along the way. Stops were made along various scenic spots for enjoyment and picture taking.

The trail was in reasonably good shape with the possible exception of a number of large downfalls and areas where vegetation is starting to sprout in the trail path.

Reaching the shuttle vehicles on HWY 111 at about 5:pm EDT after a GPS recorded distance of 8+ miles, we again assembled at Sluder Lane to claim the vehicles and wish each other fond good-byes.

Note: Although there was some disagreement regarding the classification of the hike, it was generally agreed by the majority that the overall rating of "moderate" with three steep and somewhat difficult climbs (Deep Creek, Big Soddy Creek, and the wood step area) probably best describes the hike in the south to north direction. However the difficult stream crossing of Big Soddy encountered on this trek probably shades the above rating somewhat, but it certainly added a touch of excitement and daring to the hike..

Submitted by Jim Schroeder

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins got our mid-week exercise at the Greenway in Hixson. Our first stop was the rock quarry followed by a visit to the banks of Chickamauga Creek where the group photo was made, and then on to temporarily closed parking area near Chickamauga Dam where the trail ends. The return trip included a 1 mile trail constructed by Boy Scouts where we detoured onto a previously unexplored short-cut trail which reduced the 6 mile planned hike to about 5 miles. A final stretch that parallels the creek led us back to awaiting vehicles.

Group photo along Chickamauga Creek

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Prentice Cooper

Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Linda Henley, Bob McGavock, Ed Swanner, Doug Welch, Ronald Skiles, Jim Adams, Shirley Adams, Teresa Jordan, Sue Postell, and Steve Postell hiked an approximate 5 mile section of Cumberland Trail from the main trailhead in Prentice Cooper to Highway 27. Weather was a little cool if you were idle but about perfect for hiking. Views of the Tennessee River far below, just beginning to become obscured by new foliage, were still sufficient to allow us to enjoy the trail segment that parallels the river. Lunch at Sulphur Branch and a pause at Lawson Rock Overlook to enjoy the view provided two well deserved rest breaks.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Prentice Cooper trailhead

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Posey Point

Today’s plan was to inspect a small section of Cumberland Trail that parallels Hotwater Road and perform minor maintenance as required which normally consists of removing fallen debris from trail. Upon reaching the end of originally planned section, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Teresa Jordan, Mark Jordan, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins decided to extend our maintenance hike to Posey Point which turned our planned 2 miles into 4 miles. At Posey Point we paused for a snack and then retraced our steps back to Sluder Lane parking area. Other than removing limbs and small trees from the trail, it was an uneventful but enjoyable hike.

Group photo at Posey Point

Monday, April 6, 2009

4th Meeting

4th Chapter Meeting
Held at Soddy Daisy Municipal Building

In Attendance:
  • Don Deakins
  • Carol Deakins
  • Jan Agee
  • Brandy Selman
  • Michael White
  • Lora Smith
  • George Bonneau
  • Teresa Jordan
  • Judy Varner
  • TC Varner
  • Ed Swanner
  • Nance Jo Ogozalek
  • Steve Postell
  • Sue Postell
  • Matt Stullich
  • Jim Adams (Soddy Daisy City Commissioner)

Jim Adams, Soddy Daisy City Commissioner, provided information on the status of Rails to Trails program.

Appointed Brandy Selman as Chair of Soddy Daisy TTA

Appointed Jan Agee as Treasurer of Soddy Daisy TTA

Scheduled our chapter to complete the remaining section of trail in North Chickamauga that was not finished during Spring BreakAway.

Decided our June 6 National Trail Day event would be a hike from Heiss Mountain Road to Big Possum Creek Bridge.

Informed members that notifications are not normally mailed out for Wednesday hikes, therefore monitoring the hike schedule is required to remain cognizant of mid week activities.

Completed planning our schedule for the month of May.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rock Creek

Brandy Selman, Jan Agee, Ed Swanner, Matt Stullich, Bob McGavock, TC Varner, Caroline Woerner, Don Deakins, and Carol Deakins were joined by Bill Leiper, a potential new member, and 13 members of Plateau Chapter for a 7.5 mile Rock Creek hike from Retro Hughes trailhead to Lower Leggett Road trailhead. Rock Creek segment of Cumberland Trail was unusually busy today. As we assembled at Lower Leggett Road trailhead, another large group of hikers were preparing for a wildflower hike sponsored by Chattanooga Aquarium and led by aquarium horticulturist Christine Bock. On the trail we encountered a group of female backpackers from Southern Adventist University who were camping at Rock Creek Campsite. Near the end of our hike we encountered two more hikers on the trail and two carloads were entering the parking lot as we departed. Rock Creek is obviously becoming very popular.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Retro Hughes Trailhead

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wildflower Hike

Ed Swanner, Brandy Selman, Lora Smith, Jan Agee, Carrie Doyle, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, and Karla Miller were led on a wildflower hike by Anthony Ladd, a volunteer who works with Fall Creek park rangers. In addition to wildflowers found and photographed, we also visited a very large cave, the site of old Prater home place, and Hemlock Falls where we paused for lunch. Thanks to Anthony for spending the day with us and guiding our group to new places. Thanks to Lora for arranging this trip.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at trailhead