Wednesday, March 31, 2010

North Chickamauga Creek

Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Bob DeHart, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Larry Cook, Jan Agee, Earl Helmer, and Judy Varner hiked North Chickamauga Creek Gorge in perfect weather on this last day of March. Although we made numerous stops along the way, our first extended break was at Boston Branch Overlook where we had lunch. Unfortunately many hikers had previous commitments and had to get back to civilization so, after our lunch break, some returned to the trail head while others continued on toward campsite # 1. The climb down to campsite # 1 and the return climb back out of the gorge is extremely strenuous but none of the hikers that made the entire 8 mile round trip regret the effort. People that enjoy this type of activity might classify campsite # 1 as paradise.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo on precarious perch at Boston Branch Overlook

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Trail Inspection

Bob DeHart, Don Deakins, Carol Deakins, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Jane Ellett, George Bonneau, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, and Bob McGavock began today’s hike with expectations of inspecting our adopted section of Cumberland Trail between Hotwater Road and Deep Creek. The inspection quickly turned into a maintenance hike as we encountered extensive amounts of debris in and across the trail. Fortunately we had numerous folding hand saws and at least one pair of pruning shears with us. These tools were sufficient to remove all obstructions encountered except for 3 trees which will require a chain saw. After working all the way to Deep Creek, we paused for lunch at Deep Creek and then retraced our steps back to Hotwater Road on the freshly cleaned trail.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo on Deep Creek

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Trail Maintenance

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, Bob McGavock, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Jane Ellett, and Earl Helmer were joined by Tony Hook and Ronald Skiles for a 5 mile Cumberland Trail maintenance hike on the Soddy Gorge segment between Mowbray Pike and Hotwater Road. To expedite removal of numerous downed trees in the trail, we split into two groups, each with chain saws. One group hiked in from the Mowbray trail head while the other group hiked in from Hotwater Road trail head. We met somewhere near the middle of this segment and hiked out together. We can now report this section of trail is in excellent condition and ready for spring hiking.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pot Point Nature Trail

Soddy Daisy TTA members Caroline Woerner, Earl Helmer, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, Bob DeHart, Faye Nunez, George Bonneau, Sarah Bonneau, and Nance Jo Ogozalek were joined by Mike Duncan, Melvin Nunez, Carolyn Perry, and Neal Sanborn for a 3.5 mile hike along the Tennessee River on Pot Point Nature Trail near Prentice Cooper State Forest. Today's event was enhanced by ideal weather on this first day of spring.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo at old barn along Pot Point Nature Trail

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Collecting Map Data

Soddy Daisy TTA members Jane Ellett, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins hiked the northern portion of Possum Gorge and collected GPS data for a Cumberland Trail map refinement project we are working on. We carried a measuring wheel to get an accurate distance measurement of the 6.7 miles of trail we documented today and also carried a small hand saw which was used to remove numerous obstructions from the trail. Today’s mixture of work and play was highlighted by a lunch break at Little Possum Creek Falls (aka Imodium Falls).

Group photo at Little Possum Creek Falls

Friday, March 12, 2010

BreakAway 2010 Day 8

Due to rain and thunderstorms in the forecast, trail construction in North Chickamauga Gorge is canceled. BreakAway participants will instead perform trail maintenance along Highway 111 in the Board Camp Creek area where work can be performed without ranging too far from vehicles.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

BreakAway 2010 Day 7

With rain in the forecast, trail builders headed to the work site with hopes that little or no rain would fall. Upon arrival, tools were unloaded and distributed to crew # 1. As crew # 1 headed down the trail to their work location, a light sprinkling of rain began. Within a few minutes rainfall had increased sufficiently to create a very slick trail and a potential for getting vehicles stuck in mud. Crew # 1 was called back. We loaded tools and headed back to camp.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

BreakAway 2010 Day 6

Soddy Daisy TTA members present for day 6 of BreakAway were Bill Leiper, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, Judy Varner, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Jan Agee, and Bob McGavock. Bob McGavock was again accompanied by his granddaughter, Ashley Carnright.

Substantial progress has been made in the last two days and it is becoming a lengthy walk to reach the work site and return to parking area. We can now see light at end of the tunnel but rain in the forecast may prevent completion as scheduled. The weather forecast will be closely monitored during our off day tomorrow.

Slide show of Don's photos

Trail builders from Grand Valley State University

Monday, March 8, 2010

BreakAway 2010 Day 5

Soddy Daisy TTA members participating in day 5 of BreakAway were Bill Leiper, Ed Swanner, Carol Deakins, Don Deakins, Bob DeHart, Judy Varner, Nance Jo Ogozalek, Jan Agee, and Bob McGavock. Bob McGavock was accompanied by his granddaughter, Ashley Carnright.

The work force for this second week of BreakAway consists of 112 college students and numerous volunteers from across the state. We finally completed work in rocky sections that slowed advancement to a snail’s pace but are now traversing steep terrain that requires deep side hill cuts so progress is still slower than trail building on flat ground. Although the terrain was not optimum, the weather was. We worked in tee-shirts most of the day.

Slide show of Don's photos

Michigan students from Grand Valley State University

Friday, March 5, 2010

BreakAway 2010 Day 4

Soddy Daisy TTA members present for day number four were Nance Jo Ogozalek, Bob DeHart, Judy Varner, Jan Agee, Bob McGavock, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins.

College students had to get ready for the end of week celebration and their trip home so trail work ended at noon with a little over 4300 feet of trail complete, a respectable accomplishment considering the terrain we were working in. Prior to departure from the work site, we took a short hike down to a rock house on Cain Creek which everyone seemed to enjoy. While there, park rangers Bobby Fulcher, Anthony Jones, and Nathan Helton talked about different aspects of Cumberland Trail. An uphill hike back to the parking area ended the day at the work site.

Park rangers speak about Cumberland Trail

Thursday, March 4, 2010

BreakAway 2010 Day 3

Soddy Daisy TTA members present for day number three were Nance Jo Ogozalek, Bob DeHart, Judy Varner, Jan Agee, and Don Deakins.

Trail constructions is progressing nicely for some work groups but progress of a few groups working in steep rocky areas can be measured in inches instead of feet. Although trail building in rough terrain is very time consuming and requires extremely hard work, the results are well worth the effort.

Trail builders from East Michigan

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

BreakAway 2010 Day 2

Soddy Daisy TTA members present for day number two were Nance Jo Ogozalek, Ed Swanner, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins.

Today was supposed to have been an off-day but yesterday’s snow caused day 2 to be postponed one day. Although roads were clear, snow was still present on the ground and therefore snow removal was part of today’s trail building process. Substantial progress was made before lunch but things slowed to a snail’s pace in the afternoon when we reached steep and rocky terrain.

Slide show of Don's photos

Bob DeHart with crew from Eastern Michigan University

Monday, March 1, 2010

BreakAway 2010 Day 1

Soddy Daisy TTA members Bob DeHart, Bob McGavock, Judy Varner, Jan Agee, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins joined many of the regular CT volunteers and a crowd of college students from Michigan and Maine for the first day of BreakAway trail building near Cain Creek on the North Chickamauga Gorge section of Cumberland Trail. Today’s efforts resulted in about 1600 feet of new trail and a very weary crew.

Assembling at new parking area (photo by Bob DeHart)

Fiery Gizzard

Hike report filed by Lora Smith

Soddy Daisy TTA members Lora Smith with guest Craig McBride, Casey Stryker with his sister Kristin on her first hike, enjoyed a joint hike with 6 members of the Murfreesboro TTA. We had blue skies and sunshine with chilly breezes while climbing Chimney Rocks and picking our way along the rocky trail. We stopped along the way at Sycamore Falls and at Black Canyon where Big and Little Fiery Gizzard Creeks junction. A couple of hikers decided to get their socks wet in one of the stream crossings. Nothing like ice cold water on your feet to get you moving in the morning. On the way up to Raven’s Point we found Raven’s Arch. After a hunger building workout climbing to the rim, we had lunch at Raven’s Point taking in the beautiful views into Gizzard Cove. After waking up the resting new hiker we started down the Dog Hole Trail which wanders thru the forest along the rim of Gizzard Cove. Beautiful views on this trail into the gorge. After a steep decent into the gorge we walked beside ice covered walls with huge icicles hanging over the trail. Back along the creek our minds were on the sugary treats at the Dutch Made Bakery in Tracy City. A quick phone call to the sweet lady at the bakery reassured us they were still open. Pecan Tastys, 7 Layer Delights, Fruit filled Turnovers, sweet breads—what a great way to end a perfect day spent hiking with friends, old and new.