Saturday, October 31, 2009

Flipper Bend

With the weather forecast calling for rain throughout the day, Lora Smith, Bob DeHart, Ed Swanner, Earl Helmer, Bob McGavock, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins came prepared for a wet 10 mile hike but rain had subsided by the time we arrived at trail head. Although we did encounter a few insignificant sprinkles during the hike, none were sufficient to warrant rain gear. However we did not end the day completely dry. There were a few wet socks at hike’s end, the result of many creeks and wet weather streams we crossed. Wet socks were a cheap price to pay for what turned out to be an excellent day on the trail.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at big pond on Flipper Bend Loop

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Flat Branch Falls

Our goal today was to find a route to the base of Flat Branch Falls and Rocky Branch Falls. Ed Swanner, Bob DeHart, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins met at Rock Creek lower trail head and discussed our options. A Rock Creek trail map clearly indicated the best route would be to hike in from the upper trail head so we relocated vehicles to Leggett Road upper trail head parking area and hiked from there down to the lower side of Rock Creek Loop where we left the trail and began bushwhacking our way down to creek’s edge. Upon reaching the creek, we began walking along the creek but, after a short distance, terrain forced us away from the creek and up a very steep slope. Eventually we reached the base of the bluff we were searching for. Following the bluff line took us straight to our destination, Flat Branch Falls and Rocky Branch Falls. Although this hike covered extremely rough terrain, it produced an extremely enjoyable day in Rock Creek Gorge.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Flat Branch Falls

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Black Mountain

Soddy Daisy TTA members Bob DeHart, Earl Helmer, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Bob McGavock, Don Deakins, and Carol Deakins were joined by Jill Tarchala of Nashville TTA, Adair Darland, and Sue LaGraff for a short hike on Black Mountain Loop Trail near Crossville. A light rain ended as we reached the trail head parking area atop Black Mountain but cool temperatures and dense fog persisted which limited visibility to a few hundred yards. As we neared the end of the loop trail, fog lifted and sun broke through which prompted a decision to hike a portion of the loop again so we could enjoy the southern overlook view which had been totally obscured on our first pass. Sunny conditions did not last and the hike ended under heavy clouds.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Southern Overlook

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rock Creek

Nance Jo Ogozalek, Earl Helmer, Jane Ellett, Bob DeHart, Larry Cook, and Don Deakins were joined by guest hikers Susan Bryant, Jenn Cox, and Scott Francis for a hike into Rock Gorge to inspect new pole bridges at Boiling Spring, Flat Branch, and Rocky Branch. Our day also included a stop at Rock Creek Overlook and two off trail side trips to little known and seldom seen Flat Branch Falls and Rocky Branch Falls. A few hikers attempted to find a route to bottom of the falls. We were successful in locating an access down to Rock Creek but, due to time constraints and very rugged terrain covered in poison ivy, we decided to postpone our attempt to reach the base of falls until a later date.

Slide show of Don's 3 photos

Group photo in Rocky Branch

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lula Lake BBQ Feast

To celebrate our first anniversary as a TTA chapter, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, and Nance Jo Ogozalek put together a BBQ feast at Lula Lake Land Trust. Soddy Daisy TTA members that reaped the benefits of their efforts were George Bonneau, Ed Ellett, Jane Ellett, Larry Cook, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, Earl Helmer, Teresa Jordan, Mark Jordan, Caroline Woerner, Ed Swanner, Bob DeHart, TC Varner, Judy Varner, Edna McGavock, and Bob McGavock. Michelle Melton, a guest, also attended the celebration.

The Lula Lake property is laced with trails. While some participants spent the morning preparing for the mid-day meal, others took advantage of the trails and sights they provide. Two sights that by themselves made the trip to Lula Lake worthwhile are Lula Falls and the view from Bluff Trail but the highlight of today’s trip was, without a doubt, BBQ.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Lula Lake

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rock Creek Day 2

Soddy Daisy TTA members Larry Cook, Earl Helmer, Ed Swanner, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins joined Kurt Emanuelle, Larry Ryan, Jim Hardy, Tony Hook, a large group of UT students from Knoxville and three guys I can mention by first name only – James, Paul, and Roger. REI participated financially by donating $2000 to this project.

Much was accomplished today. All tools were moved to Boiling Spring bridge site. Building material for Boiling Spring Bridge was carried to Boiling Spring while material for Flat Branch Bridge and Rocky Branch Bridge was carried to Flat Branch site. Boiling Spring stringers were laid in place and bolted together. Boiling Spring Bridge should be completed tomorrow when treads and handrail will be installed.

Boiling Spring Bridge at end of day 2

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rock Creek Day 1

Soddy Daisy TTA members Ed Swanner, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins joined Larry Ryan, Jim Hardy, Ronald Skiles, Tony Hook, a large group of UTK students, and a few others whose names I failed to obtain for a work day at Rock Creek.

Day 1 of Boiling Spring, Flat Branch, and Rocky Branch pole bridge construction got off to a slow start. A moderate rain persisted from the time we arrived at Leggett Road Upper Trailhead until all lumber and tools were unloaded and staged along the trail where it begins its drop into Rock Creek Gorge. By that time, everyone was wet to varying degrees and it was still raining so the work day was terminated. Work will resume tomorrow when slightly better weather is forecast.

2/3 of today's crew

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rock Creek

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This hike got off to a late start because of weather. Earl Helmer, TC Varner, and Don Deakins arrived at Upper Leggett Road trail head three hours after the originally scheduled 9:00 AM to find Lora Smith's car in the parking area. As we were loading up in preparation to shuttle over to Retro Hughes trail head, Lora called. She had braved the weather and solo hiked 5.5 miles to Retro Hughes trail head. She waited there while we drove over. Four hikers then headed into Rock Creek Gorge. After reaching Rock Creek camp site, we paused for a group photo and a short rest break. Lora and Earl then headed on to Upper Leggett Road trail head while TC and I set up camp for an overnight stay.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at Rock Creek Campsite

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Audubon Mountain

Ed Swanner, Jan Agee, Caroline Woerner, Bob DeHart, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Jane Ellett, Earl Helmer, and Don Deakins hiked about 4 miles at Audubon Mountain, a little known, seldom used, and presently incomplete trail in Sale Creek. This trail begins at an observation platform near Rock Creek Upper Leggett Road trail head, switchbacks down the escarpment to the valley below, and ends at an old one room house that may eventually be used as a shelter for thru hikers on the Cumberland Trail.

After an extended break at the old house, we retraced our steps back up the escarpment. The climb back to the top was as enjoyable as the hike down, thanks to optimum weather conditions.

Group photo on observation platform near trail head

Monday, October 5, 2009

6th Meeting

6th Chapter Meeting
Held at Soddy Daisy Municipal Building

In Attendance:
  • Don Deakins
  • Carol Deakins
  • Jan Agee
  • Brandy Selman
  • Teresa Jordan
  • Mark Jordan
  • Judy Varner
  • Nance Jo Ogozalek
  • Earl Helmer
  • Bob DeHart
  • Jane Ellett

Meeting began with treasury report by Jan Agee.

Discussed donations and item acquisition for auction at annual TTA meeting. Jane Ellett, Jan Agee, and Nance Jo Ogozalek will request donations from Walmart, Rock Creek, and Stockdales.

Established October meeting as annual officer election or appointment period.

Discussed process for submitting volunteer time sheet to CTC.

Discussed setting up a TTA booth at Greenway Fall Festival.

Collected fee for BBQ feast at Lula Lake on Oct 17.

Discussed Cumberland Trail registration requirements for camping and overnight trail head parking.

Discussed process of scheduling and leading hikes.

Made tentative plans for November hike schedule.

Nance Jo suggested obtaining a Soddy Daisy TTA Chapter banner for use as a promotional item. She plans to work up a design and investigate cost.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

River Rescue

As part of a community wide river clean-up and community service project more commonly known as Tennessee River Rescue, Soddy Daisy TTA members Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Judy Varner, TC Varner, Earl Helmer, Bob McGavock, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins along with Alex Schafer, Susan Bryant, and 12 college students from UTC removed an assortment of old washers, dryers, refrigerators, TVs, and automobile tires from North Chickamauga Creek Gorge. Although this trash had to be hand carried over the most rugged segment of trail, two all terrain vehicles (ATVs) with cargo beds did the long distance hauling. Thanks to Bob DeHart and Cumberland Trail Conference for providing ATVs and a special thanks to the guys from UTC. Their assistance turned a difficult job into a relatively easy task.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at trailhead

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stump Jump Preps

Soddy Daisy TTA members Jan Agee, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Bob McGavock, and Earl Helmer joined Tony Hook for a long day of Cumberland Trail maintenance on Signal Mountain between Rainbow Lake and Mushroom Rock with chain saw, weed eaters, and loppers. Their goal was to prepare that section of trail for the October 3 Stump Jump Trail Race sponsored by Rock Creek Outfitters. Race contestants should encounter an obstacle free course.