Saturday, December 31, 2011

Board Camp Creek

This approximate 6 mile hike was a combination of trail hiking on the Soddy Gorge segment of Cumberland Trail in the Board Camp Creek area and off-trail bushwhacking along the banks of Board Camp Creek. Although we covered some very rough terrain, it proved to be the most enjoyable portion of the hike. We made tentative plans to hike up the center of the creek when warmer weather arrives.

Group photo as we prepare to cross this unnamed steam
Working our way along Board Camp Creek

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rock Creek

Today's 5.4 mile Rock Creek hike began at Retro Hughes Road trailhead and ended at Leggett Road upper trailhead. This hike was scheduled as a recreational hike but, as usual, we performed minor trail maintenance along the way. If all hiking groups were like this group, the trails would always be in excellent condition.

Slide show of Bob's photos

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo on Rock Creek

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Possum Gorge Video

Bob, Carol, and Don hiked the southern section of Possum Gorge with video camera in hand and captured video which will be used in our Possum Gorge virtual tour. The northern section will be next as soon as Mother Nature provides suitable conditions.

Bob's photos

Crossing Little Possum Creek

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Piney River

This 7.3 mile Piney River hike began as a pleasure hike but quickly turned into a maintenance hike as we hadn't gone far when we encountered our first trail obstruction. It just so happened we had two folding hand saws with us so to work we went. We removed numerous other trail obstructions between Duskin Creek and Piney River Bridge, some of which required a saw and others just required horsepower. Although there still remains a few trees across the trail that require a chainsaw to cut, none require immediate attention as they can all be easily stepped over.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo on Duskin Creek

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Piney River Maintenance

Our goal today was one big tree across Piney River Trail that has been ignored for years because it was positioned in such a manner as to make it very dangerous to cut. We went prepared with not only a chain saw but rope, cable, and a come-a-long so we could prevent it from falling on or rolling over one of us. After devising a plan of attack, we proceeded with the work. Everything went smoothly with only one surprise...we discovered two bats hibernating inside the tree. They flew away and hopefully, with today's warm temperature, will survive and find a new home before it again turns cold.

Slide show of Don's photos

Group photo along Piney River Trail

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blanchard Creek

The southern end of Possum Gorge segment of Cumberland Trail runs along and above Blanchard Creek. Today we decided to attempt a hike in and along the creek instead of on the trail. We were able to follow the creek almost to Bare Point where vertical rock bluffs forced us back up to the trail. We hiked the trail down to within a few hundred feet of Possum Creek Bridge where we left the trail again and bushwhacked along the base of the bluff back to the lower section of Blanchard Creek. The hike to the lower section of Blanchard Creek covered extremely rugged terrain but the extraordinary beauty made it all worthwhile.

Slide show of Don's photos

Slide show of Bob's photos

Group photo at base of bluff above Blanchard Creek

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Possum Gorge Maintenance

Brandy Selman and Ronald Skiles of the trail maintenance crew joined TC Varner, Judy Varner, Keith Weller, Bob DeHart, Caroline Woerner, and Don Deakins for a maintenance hike into Big Possum Gorge to remove five downed trees from the trail. A big Stihl chainsaw along with 8 workers turned this job into an easy and enjoyable task. It's hard to beat a hike that is fun and productive.

Slide show of Don's photos

Slide show of Bob's photos

Group photo on Big Possum Creek

Sunday, December 4, 2011

More Rock Creek Video

Bob, Carol, and Don took advantage of the diffuse lighting on this cloudy day and completed our video recording of Rock Creek Trail. Today we worked on Rock Creek Loop and the connector trail between the loop and lower trail head. Now comes the job of trying to edit it down to something presentable.

Hiking Rock Creek Loop at connector trail junction

Friday, December 2, 2011

Deep Creek

Our plan today called for hiking beyond Deep Creek to Big Soddy Creek but, due to high water level in Deep Creek, we could not ford where the trail crosses and our search for an alternate route across proved fruitless. Since this hike was cut short, we drove over to Sluder Lane parking area and hiked down the Trail of Tires. We hadn't been down this section of trail in a long while and it needed an inspection. We were able to remove all debris from the trail except for two minor blow-downs which will require a chainsaw. These two trees have been added to our "To-Do" list.

Slide show of Don's photos

Slide show of Bob's photos

Rest break during climb out of Deep Creek Gorge