Saturday, June 27, 2009

Alum Gap - Greeter Falls

Caroline Woerner, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Teresa Jordan, Mark Jordan, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, and Earl Helmer drove to Savage Gulf State Natural Area for a 4.5 mile hike from Stone Door ranger station to Greeter Falls. We encountered a group of hikers from Columbia/Franklin TTA Chapter at Greeter Falls parking area when we stopped there to drop off two vehicles before proceeding on to Stone Door ranger station where hike began. It was an easy 2.9 mile walk to Alum Gap backpacking campground where we took a short break at a bluff campsite. A short distance beyond Alum Gap we paused at an overlook for an extended period to enjoy the view. 1.5 miles further down the trail we stopped for another extended break at Greeter Falls and then on to the parking lot where our staged vehicles were waiting. We drove back to Stone Door ranger station and fired up the grills for a cookout. Shortly after we began cooking, a heavy rain moved in and sent some running for cover while a few others held our ground and got soaking wet. The rain finally subsided and allowed us to complete the cookout.

Slide show of Don's photos

Overlook near Alum Gap

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rock Creek Loop

Soddy Daisy TTA members Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Keith Weller, Jane Ellett, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, and Bob McGavock were joined by Alex Schafer and prospective member Earl Helmer for a 3 mile hike around Rock Creek Loop. Our plans included removal of one tree across the trail which we had encountered on a previous hike, therefore we carried a chainsaw and other hand tools for clearing trail. The chainsaw got a good workout as we discovered and removed numerous downed trees that apparently were victims of recent thunderstorms. One monster tree which was much too big for our 16 inch bar was left for TC and his professional grade saw.

Group photo after hike at trailhead

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

N. Suck Creek Bridge

Report filed by Brandy Selman

Caroline Woerner recruited Jan Agee and myself for a bit of pruning along the suspension bridge located on North Suck Creek. Since we were with an expert Signal Mountain trail guide, we arrived at Mushroom Rock in about 30 minutes. Loppers and hand saws were used to remove several small trees that had grown into the bottom of the bridge on each side of the creek. We removed a few cans from the campsite before heading out. Just as we began our return we were startled by that unmistakable sound of rattling a few inches from the trail. It was a small Copperhead, rattling his tail in the leaves to make his presence known. We took a few pics and moved on down the trail, paying extra attention to our surroundings. The plan was to start early to beat the heat, and we managed to get done just in time for lunch so we hit the local pizza place before parting ways.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pot Point Nature Trail

Soddy Daisy TTA members Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Ed Ellett, Jane Ellett, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins were joined by Nashville TTA member Jill Tarchala and prospective member Carol Pfrommer for an approximate 4 mile hike on Pot Point Nature Trail along the Tennessee River. Sarah Hurt, a Tennessee River Gorge Trust volunteer, joined us later along the trail. Temperature and humidity were high but starting the 2.5 hour walk at 10:00am allowed us to leave the trail long before the predicted 95 degree high was reached. Although weather was not optimum, a good time was had by all.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at old barn along Nature Trail

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Soddy Gorge Maintenance

Teresa Jordan, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins combined our mid-week hike with trail maintenance on the segment of Cumberland Trail that parallels Hotwater Road. We carried a sling blade, loppers, and pruning shears. Although we worked in shade of heavy foliage and with ocassional light rain, stifling conditions ensured everyone was soaking wet with sweat by event's end.

Today's labor force

Jan and Teresa cleaning trail

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Soddy Gorge

Soddy Daisy TTA members George Bonneau, Sarah Bonneau, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins along with prospective members Karen and Shayla joined 6 members of Murfreesboro TTA and Jill Tarchala from Nashville for a 5 mile Soddy Gorge trek from Mowbray Pike trailhead to Hotwater Road trailhead at Sluder Lane. Hike leader Jim Schroeder ended the day with a tour of Little Soddy Historic Mining Area for those not familiar with this segment of the Cumberland Trail.

1st break at overlook under power lines

Hike report filed by Jim Schroeder
On June 13, 2009, a group of eleven Soddy, six Murfreesboro and one Nashville hikers participated in this five-mile shuttle hike from the Mowbray Road trailhead to Hotwater Road trailhead. After once again struggling with the non-existent parking facilities at both trailheads, the issue was resolved by scattering 6 vehicles around the Sluder Lane intersection at one end, and parking one vehicle in the ditch on Mowbray Road and the other a quarter mile up Millsap Road along the shoulder and away from complaining residents at the other. A leisurely 4-hour traverse of the trail was enjoyed by all and included a scenic overlook of the Soddy Daisy Tennessee Valley, a passage through Little Stone Door past an old abandoned Indian Cave, a walk along a narrow strip mining ridge and a visit to the Little Soddy Mining area. Welcome to the world of the Cumberland Trail for those participants for whom it was their first trek on the CT. A little apprehension was encountered when two “tail-end Charlie” hikers missed the turn up the trail to the Hotwater Trailhead and that resulted in a lengthy delayed return up Hotwater Road to the shuttle vehicle. A little better trail marking and/or signage might be considered for this location. A special thanks is extended to the members of the Soddy Daisy Chapter for spending an entire day of chain sawing, weed whacking, etc in clearing the trail in preparation for this hike.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Soddy Gorge Maintenance

Soddy Daisy TTA members TC Varner, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins hiked the 5 mile segment of Soddy Gorge between Mowbray Pike and Hotwater Road with chainsaw, weedeater, loppers, and pruning shears in hand. The trail is now in excellent condition for tomorrow's hike with Murfreesboro Chapter.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bridge Complete

Little Possum Creek Bridge is complete. Hikers can now hike from Heiss Mountain Road trailhead to Retro Hughes Road trailhead without concern for water level in either Big Possum Creek or Little Possum Creek.

We encountered another Copperhead today at the bridge site while removing scaffold and other equipment. This area apparently has a good population of snakes, both poisonous and non-poisonous.

Little Possum Creek Bridge ready for traffic

Another Copperhead

Saturday, June 6, 2009

National Trails Day

Soddy Daisy TTA hosted a National Trails Day (NTD) event today which consisted of numerous guided tours into Big Possum Gorge led by Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Jan Agee, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Bob McGavock, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Brandy Selman, Lora Smith, Ed Swanner, Mike White, and Caroline Woerner. We had a greater turn-out than expected. Credit for the large number of participants goes to Chattanooga Times Free Press Community News writer Katie Ward and her recent newspaper article on Soddy Daisy TTA and National Trails Day. Katie joined us today and began collecting information for a potential article on Cumberland Trail.

Today’s activities ended with a cookout for trail volunteers, sponsored by Cumberland Trail Conference, at Lutheran Church Camp on Lee Pike.

Slide show of Don's photos

Vehicles at Heiss Mtn Road Trailhead

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Little Possum Creek Bridge

Today got off to an exciting start when a Copperhead was found in the rocks around the newly constructed bridge foundation. Tony Hook caught the snake. We bagged it and carried it about 1/2 mile up the trail where it was released.

Bridge construction is progressing nicely. Scaffold erection is almost complete and bridge assembly should begin on Thursday, June 4.

Copperhead peering out of bridge foundation

Copperhead ready to be bagged

Scaffolding is almost ready for bridge assembly