Saturday, June 19, 2010

Soddy Gorge Maintenance

Jane Ellett, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins braved the heat and humidity today for a maintenance hike on the Soddy Gorge segment of Cumberland Trail between Sluder Lane and the Hotwater Road crossing. Our goal was to trim back weeds, remove overhanging foliage, and pick up trash. We carried loppers, pruners, a rake, garbage bags, and a weed eater. Although the trail was in better shape than anticipated, it was in excellent condition at the end of our work session.

Hot and humid conditions were replaced by a thunderstorm on our hike back to Sluder Lane. We were soaked by the time we reached our vehicles, however, with the exception of one lightning strike that was a little too close for comfort, the soaking rain provided by the storm was extremely refreshing after working in the heat.

Today's small group at Sluder Lane

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

North Chickamauga Creek

Today’s North Chickamauga Creek hike began with Andy Wright, Terri Ballinger, and TC Varner hauling Brandy Selman, Jane Ellett, Larry Cook, Ed Swanner, Ronald Skiles, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins to what is presently and temporarily the end-of-trail above Cooper Creek where our maintenance hike back to North Chick trailhead would begin. Andy, Terri, and TC left to do other work while we began our hike down to Cooper Creek under overcast skies and in relatively comfortable conditions with our goal being to measure the length of trail back to trailhead, remove debris from trail, and paint trail markers on trees along the trail. It wasn’t long before the sun came out, humidity climbed to some unbearable percentage, and temperature was far above the comfort range. These conditions combined with rugged terrain made this 4.9 mile hike feel more like a 12 mile hike but I bet everyone will be ready to do it again after they recover from today.

Group photo near end of Cooper Creek Trail

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Measuring Spur Trails

Carol Deakins and Don Deakins made one last Tennessee River Gorge trail measuring trip to obtain the length of 3 spur trails that were not measured while collecting data on the main trail. Although the Raccoon Mountain Overlook spur trail and the Popular Springs Campsite spur trail are miles away from trail heads which would have made it impossible to hike to both in one day, we were able to combine GPS track logs and satellite views in Google maps to locate jeep trails in Prentice Cooper State Forest that were in close proximity to the spur trails we wanted to measure. Therefore we were able to drive to within very short distance of the spurs and turn a two day job into a 4 hour job.

Lunch at Raccoon Mtn Overlook

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mapping Soddy Gorge North

Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins mapped and measured the northern most section of Soddy Gorge segment of Cumberland Trail including the trail that parallels highway 111 and the road walk portion from Jones Gap exit ramp down to Heiss Mountain trail head. This would not have been possible without the help of TC Varner who hauled us down about 3.7 miles of logging road and dropped us off at a unofficial access point on the trail. The southern most section between Hotwater Road and Mowbray Pike was completed weeks ago and now only the middle section, which also happens to be the longest section, remains.

Group photo where trail intersects highway 111

Saturday, June 5, 2010

National Trails Day

Hike report filed by Brandy Selman
Soddy-Daisy TTA members teamed up with the Cumberland Trail Conference to host an event for American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® at the southern trailhead of the Possum Creek trail. Bob Richards, Greenways and Trails Program Coordinator, started things off by reading Governor Bredesen's Proclamation that June 5, 2010 is Tennessee Trails Day in conjunction with National Trails Day®. There were 37 participants, 10 of them opting to hike the entire 9.5 miles of this trail with Tony Hook, CTC general manager, leading the way. This group was shuttled to the northern end of the trail and hiked back to Heiss Mtn. Rd. The rest of us spent an enjoyable day hiking to Big Possum Creek bridge, playing in the creek, and grilling out at the trailhead. For the kids, we had patches, a scavenger hunt, tattoos, and the NTD coloring contest. As a reward for their effort, the participants of the long hike were given NTD t-shirts and had hot dogs, burgers, and all the trimmings awaiting their arrival at the end of the hike.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rock Creek Maintenance

Earl Helmer, Jane Ellett, Caroline Woerner, Ed Swanner, George Bonneau, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins joined the state trail maintenance crew which consisted of Ted Varner, Brandy Selman, Brad Johnson, and Ronald Skiles for a morning of maintenance on Cumberland Trail at Rock Creek. A crew of eleven attacked a 1.7 mile section of trail with weed eaters, swing blades, loppers, and pruners. Within about two hours all weeds, briars, and overhanging limbs had been trimmed or removed and the trail was ready to impress the next Rock Creek hikers.

Group photo after Rock Creek work complete