Friday, October 29, 2010

More Trail Work

Earl Helmer, Tony Hook, and Don Deakins spent the day in Soddy Gorge between Highway 111 and Deep Creek removing trail obstructions in preparation for the upcoming Upchuck trail race. We cut out 8 large trees, numerous smaller ones, and countless vines, briers, and overhanging limbs. This segment of trail is now in good shape for the trail running event.

Tony Hook cutting tree across trail in Soddy Gorge

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trail Maintenance

Carol Deakins and Don Deakins hiked 1.7 miles into Soddy Gorge from Highway 111 to remove a tree that required hikers to leave the trail in order to circumvent the obstruction. Both ends of Soddy Gorge segment between Hotwater Road and Highway 111 are now in good shape for the upcoming Upchuck trail race. The middle segment has numerous trees across the trail that will be removed Friday, October 29.

Tree laying on trail

Trail after tree removal

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Soddy Gorge

Jane Ellett, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins joined a crowd of Chattanooga Hiking Club members for a 9 mile hike on Cumberland Trail in Soddy Gorge between Hotwater Road and Highway 111. Although Deep Creek and Big Soddy Creek were almost dry, the rock climbing and boulder hopping required to cross the creeks added a little spice to the hike for most and a challenge for others.

An outstanding group of hikers and optimum weather made for a great day on the trail. After a day of rest, I'll be ready to do it again.

Slide show of Don's photos

24 hikers ready to go

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Black Mountain

Earl Helmer, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins made a long drive for a short hike, the 2 mile Black Mountain Loop atop Black Mountain near Crossville. Although we spent more time on the road than the trail, perfect hiking weather made it all worth while.

Group photo atop Black Mountain

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trail Repair

Carol Deakins and Don Deakins hiked into Rock Creek with chain saw, rakes, and pruning shears to repair trail damage which resulted from a dozer building firebreaks during last week's fire. The dozer had crossed the main trail in four different places, one of which is shown below, leaving behind downed trees and other debris on the trail. The spur trail to Leggett Point Overlook also required attention as the dozer had skirted along the spur in numerous places, knocking trees and brush onto the trail. All damaged sections of trail have been repaired and cleaned.

1 of 4 spots where dozer crossed trail
Same spot after clean-up

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rock Creek Fire

A campfire at Leggett Point Overlook last Saturday resulted in a forest fire that damaged a large section of Cumberland Trail property in the Rock Creek segment. It took park rangers and forestry personnel a few days to contain the fire. A bulldozer used to build firebreaks did much damage to the hardwood forest and some minor damage to the Cumberland Trail. We will schedule a work session within the next week or two and return the trail to its original condition.

Slide show of Don's photos

Smoldering remnants still producing smoke

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wheeling Soddy Gorge

Today's hike began with Ronald Skiles hauling Caroline Woerner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins to an unofficial entry point for the Board Camp Creek section of Soddy Gorge. Our goal was to measure this last segment of Soddy Gorge with a measuring wheel, clean the trail by removing trail obstructions, inspect the trail, and photograph the "Back Country Bridge" which is in a degraded state. Although this hike measured only 6.6 miles, the climb out of Big Soddy Gorge followed by a second climb out of Deep Creek Gorge had us feeling like we had walked 10 miles. We were traveling north to south but I believe hiking from south to north might be the easiest direction to hike this trail.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo in Big Soddy Creek


National Public Lands Day Event Report
Filed by Tony Hook

On September 24-25, eight volunteers met with Tony Hook of the CTC and repaired a bridge in the Tennessee River Gorge segment of the Cumberland Trail.  The volunteer work was performed in celebration of National Public Lands Day.  This bridge is located on Signal Mountain in the Middle Creek Gorge on public land managed as part of the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail and owned by the city of Signal Mountain, TN.  Because this section of trail is located near Chattanooga, it receives a lot of visitor use.  Volunteers graciously donated 72 hours and completed the much-needed repair.

Before work began

Before work began

During bridge repair

After repairs

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rocky Branch

Upon arrival at Upper Leggett Road Trailhead, Carol and I found the parking area filled with fire equipment trucks and forestry trucks carrying bulldozers. Someone left a campfire burning at Leggett Point Overlook on Saturday. Park Rangers and Forestry Division personnel had been fighting the fire since then. The ranger we spoke with said about 80 acres had burned. Fortunately for Carol and I, the fire was below Leggett Point Overlook and back toward Lower Leggett Road Trailhead so we were able to follow through with our plans and hike out to Rocky Branch where we removed a large tree across the trail.

Before removal

After removal

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rock Creek Gorge

Mother Nature provided ideal weather for this second day of RiverRocks Festival and 23 hikers took advantage of the excellent conditions by hiking 5.4 miles through Rock Creek Gorge from Retro Hughes Trailhead to Upper Leggett Road Trailhead. Many participants had additional activities scheduled for the evening and our casual pace was not sufficient to get them back to civilization in time. Therefore after lunch we split into two groups, one of which raced ahead while the second group continued on at our casual pace. If all RiverRocks Festival activities are as successful as this hike, RiverRocks Festival will be a big success and will surely become an annual event.

Slide show of Don's photos

Rock Creek Gorge Hikers