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