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

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Savage Gulf

Soddy Daisy TTA members Caroline Woerner, Bob McGavock, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Earl Helmer, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Larry Cook, Teresa Jordan, Mark Jordan, and George Bonneau were joined by our good friend Bill Taber of Nashville TTA, along with guest hikers Connelly Ensign, Jean Parker, Lisa Lewis, and Noah Lewis for a 5.5 mile Savage Gulf hike around the day loop with a side trip to Savage Falls and Savage Falls campsite. High temperatures normal for this time of year were not present today on the plateau. That along with a casual pace made for a comfortable day on the trail.

There were many backpackers present at Savage Gulf today. Looks like Soddy Daisy TTA members will have to dust off our equipment and join in on the fun.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Savage Falls

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cain Creek Adventure

We had a good crowd today. Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, George Bonneau, Sarah Bonneau, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Jan Agee, Bob McGavock, Earl Helmer, and Larry Cook represented Soddy Daisy TTA. Susan Bryant, a soon to be member, was also present. BF Barker was a guest hiker from Signal Mountain. Jim Hardy from Plateau TTA Chapter drove down to participate. Brad Johnson, TC Varner, Brandy Selman, and Alex Schafer represented the state as this was a working hike with trash removal the objective. Hike leader Andy Wright, a park ranger for Cumberland Trail and Dan Basham, also a park ranger, rounded out the cast of 18 hikers.

First stop along our route was an old moonshine still along Cain Creek. Three very large containers and other remnants indicate a very large operation took place here many years ago.

Shortly after leaving the moonshine still, we entered Cain Creek where boulder hopping and wading would dominate the largest segment of this hike. As you might expect, slick rocks induced a few falls, one of which was in waist deep water. I won't embarrass anyone by mentioning a name but give Bob's cell phone a few days to dry out before calling.

We encountered numerous places along the creek that provided a challenge to our progress but upon reaching Paradise Hole our progress came to a standstill. Our options were swim, climb a ravine wall, or retrace our steps back upstream to a location that provided a safe and dry route around Paradise Hole. Larry Cook, Andy Wright, and Alex Schafer decided to swim. 6 others decided to climb. The remaining 9 walked back up the creek and found an exit point to their satisfaction. All hikers reconvened at Furnace Rock where we took an extended break before hiking back on an ATV trail to awaiting vehicles, picking up trash along the way.

Many of today's hikers agree that, although this hike was short, it was the most exciting and therefore the best hike we have experienced. Thanks to Andy Wright for making this possible.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo made during light rain

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pot Point Loop

Soddy Daisy TTA members Lora Smith, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins joined Don Taylor, Nancy Juodenas, and Amy Sutton of Nashville TTA along with Sara Pollard and Dave Simpson of Murfreesboro TTA for a hike around Pot Point Loop at Prentice Cooper.

We began the hike where trail crosses Tower Road about 4/10 of a mile past Pot Point Road intersection.

Our first stop was McNabb Gulf Campsite which was a nice spot but would have been more attractive had the adjacent stream contained more than a dribble of water which is about all that can be expected in mid summer.

Raccoon Mountain Overlook was our next stop. It is a great vantage point but the view is obscured by tree tops so don’t hike this trail with expectations of a view to compare with Snoopers Rock Overlook or Ransom Hollow Overlook.

A few miles farther down the trail we encountered the Natural Bridge where we paused for lunch and exploration around and under the bridge. If you enjoy unusual rock formations, you won’t regret the hike required to get here. The scale of this thing far surpassed anything I had expected.

Next stop 2.8 miles farther down the trail was Snoopers Rock where we stopped to enjoy the view and take photos. Nance Jo’s vehicle had been previously staged at Snoopers Rock so Nance Jo, Don, and Carol exited the hike here after 9.5 miles while the hard core hikers in the group continued on to complete the entire 12 or 13 mile Pot Point Loop.

Slide show of Don's photos

8 of 9 hikers at McNabb Gulf Campsite

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Black Mountain

Soddy Daisy TTA members Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Bob McGavock, Earl Helmer, Bill Leiper, Ed Swanner, Teresa Jordan, and Nance Jo Ogozalek were joined by Ronald Skiles for an approximate 4.5 mile hike from atop Black Mountain to Cox Valley Road Trailhead. Temperature was abnormally low for this time of year. It was more like spring than summer and resulted in a near perfect day for outdoor activity. A casual pace interspersed with extended breaks at the Southern Overlook, large boulder field, and Windless Cave made for an enjoyable day on the trail.

Group photo atop Black Mountain

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Laurel Falls Maintenance

The trail above Laurel Falls has been blocked by fallen trees since the pine beetle infestation sweep through here a few years back. State representatives have been working to remove the dead trees and re-establish the original route. Today Soddy Daisy TTA assisted them with the final trail preparation from Laurel Falls out to the first overlook on the trail to Bryan Overlook.

Soddy Daisy TTA members were Jane Ellett, Earl Helmer, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Bob McGavock, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins. Although Brandy Selman and TC Varner are Soddy Daisy TTA members, today they represented the State of Tennessee along with Brad Johnson and Alex Schafer. Susan Bryant of North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, and soon to be a Soddy Daisy TTA member, also participated.

The trail above Laurel Falls is now in excellent condition and ready for hikers.

Obligatory group photo near top of Laurel Falls

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Snoopers Rock

Soddy Daisy TTA members Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Bob McGavock, Nance Jo Ogozalek, and Keith Weller were joined by Jill Tarchala of Nashville TTA, Becky Davidson, and Joe McCollister for an approximate 4 mile hike from Prentice Cooper main trailhead out to Snoopers Rock and on to the nearby parking area on Tower Road. Becky, who learned about our hike in a Chattanooga Outdoors publication, joined our Prentice Cooper bound caravan in Red Bank. Joe just coincidentally arrived at Prentice Cooper trailhead the same time as our group and we invited him to hike with us.

The day got off to a good start when a rarely seen bobcat crossed the road in front of us as we were driving down Tower Road to stage vehicles near Snoopers Rock where the hike was to end. Deer and wild turkey are frequently seen here but today only one deer revealed itself.

Today’s hike was a very casual pace with numerous stops for water and photos. If all hikes were like this, we could schedule them daily.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Snoopers Rock

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cooper Creek

Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Caroline Woerner, Bob McGavock, Earl Helmer, Ed Swanner, Nance Jo Ogozalek, and Jan Agee combined trail maintenance with our mid-week hike by painting trail markers along Cooper Creek trail segment, removing flagging used to mark route during trail construction, and installing an "End of Trail" sign in the Barker Camp area where the Cooper Creek trail segment temporarily terminates. This work made us keenly aware that the climb up from Stevenson Branch Campsite along Cooper Creek Trail is much easier when you are stopping every 80 or 100 feet to paint a blaze on a tree.

Slide show of Don's photos

Lunch break at Stevenson Branch campsite

Monday, July 6, 2009

5th Meeting

5th 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
  • Mark Jordan
  • Judy Varner
  • TC Varner
  • Ed Swanner
  • Nance Jo Ogozalek
  • Earl Helmer
  • Sue Postell
  • Caroline Woerner
  • Bob McGavock
  • Edna McGavock
  • Larry Cook
  • Alex Schafer
Treasury report revealed our $100.00 check from TTA has just been received and a checking account will be established within the next few days.

Discussed purchase of Soddy Daisy TTA banners for use at public events. Sue Postell will obtain quotes.

Completed planning of our upcoming Cooper Creek Maintenance hike which will paint blazes on trees and install an "End of Trail" sign.

Discussed expanding our range to include hikes at greater distance from Soddy Daisy. Our first hike in August will be at Frozen Head.

Discussed a cookout at a remote location along the Cumberland Trail. Discussion will continue on our Google Group.

Discussed an overnight backpacking or camping trip. Discussion will continue on our Google Group.

Although details have yet to be established, we completed planning our hike schedule for August.

Discussed at length the benefits of our new Google Group and how to use it. We declared the next few weeks a test period where everyone interested in using it is to experiment by posting test messages and replying to the test messages posted by other users.

Requests for a group photo by newspaper reporters during recent interviews have been fulfilled with hike photos which seldom contain a representative sample of Soddy Daisy TTA members. Tonight Earl Helmer made the group photo below while we had a large number of our group present.

click photo for enlarged view

Discussed plans for future maintenance hikes along Board Camp Creek in Soddy Gorge and above Laurel Falls in Dayton at Laurel-Snow.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Piney River

Soddy Daisy TTA members George Bonneau, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Lora Smith, Mike White, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins were joined by Karla Miller of Plateau TTA Chapter, Ginny Andrews of Columbia/Franklin TTA Chapter, and Nanette Davis of Knoxville for an 8 mile hike from Duskin Creek to Piney River trailhead. Numerous stops along the way and a side trip to Spider Den Bluff stretched this 8 mile trail segment into a 5.5 hour hike. Fortunately weather conditions were much better than anticipated. Humidity and temperature were lower than normal for this time of year which made for comfortable hiking conditions and we even encountered cool breezes in places.

Thanks to our new friends from Columbia and Knoxville for driving so far to join us.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo in Duskin Creek at Spider Den Bluff

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rock Creek Connector

Soddy Daisy TTA members Jan Agee, George Bonneau, Sarah Bonneau, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Jane Ellett, Earl Helmer, Don Deakins, and Carol Deakins were joined by BF Barker for a short 2.4 mile round trip hike on the Rock Creek Connector Trail. We made two visits to the creek. First visit near the trailhead was where we made the group photo. Second creek visit was near the intersection of Connector Trail and Rock Creek Loop where we took an extended break to enjoy sights and sounds of nature.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo in middle of Rock Creek