Saturday, April 28, 2012

Soddy Lake

Judy Varner, TC Varner, Mark Jordan, Wesley Jordan, and Don Deakins took kayaks out for the first time this season. I expected the water to be cold but it was actually very comfortable, at least for wading around the kayaks while launching. Looks like it might already be time to start spending more time on the water.

Jan and Brandy look on as we prepare to launch

TC paddled and fished

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Maintenance Hike

Judy Varner, TC Varner, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins hiked Rock Creek Trail from Upper Leggett Road to Retro Hughes Road with chainsaw, handsaws, pruning shears, and rope. We cut bigger trees from trail with chainsaw and smaller stuff with hand saws. Pruning shears were used to cut small limbs, saw brier, blackberry, and other plants overhanging the trail. Rope was used to pull down a couple of tree tops that were hanging above the trail and needed the power of five people pulling to bring them down. Rock Creek Trail is again in good shape.

Slide show of Bob's photos

Group photo on Rock Creek

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cain / Cooper Creek

Today's hike was a little longer than expected. We planned to hike the back end of North Chickamauga Creek segment starting near Cain Creek and ending at Stevenson Branch Campsite but the gate at the entrance to state property was locked. Parking at the gate and walking to the Cain Creek trail head added about 9/10s of a mile to the hike going in. We shortened the distance of our return trip by leaving the trail at what was at one time the temporary end of Cooper Creek section and road walking the old dirt and gravel road back to vehicles. An excellent group and near perfect weather made for another enjoyable day on Cumberland Trail.

Slideshow of Bob's photos

Slideshow of Don's photos

Group photo at Stevenson Branch Campsite

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rock Creek

Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins hiked the 5.4 mile section of Rock Creek between Upper Leggett Road Trailhead and Retro Hughes Trailhead. Conditions were excellent for hiking. Cool temperature made it comfortable while no wind and damp leaves created an extremely quiet and peaceful atmosphere. A light rain began as we approached Rock Creek Campsite where we stopped for lunch. A rock ledge provided shelter from the rain while we ate.

We documented two downed trees on the trail which will be added to our "To-Do" list. Looks like another Rock Creek hike with chain saw might be on the horizon.

Group photo on Rock Creek

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Rock Creek Loop

Teresa Jordan, Mark Jordan, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins hiked Rock Creek Loop on a perfect day to be outdoors. Teresa and Carol both had new cameras so we planned a casual pace with numerous stops to photograph wild flowers. Although we had a very early spring season and peak wildflower period has passed, there are still many wildflowers along the trail which provided numerous opportunities for getting familiar with new cameras.

Group photo on Rock Creek

Enjoying Rock Creek

Snack time

Much of this green is poison ivy

Friday, April 13, 2012

Perkins Point

Plans for a hike materialized about 10:20 this morning and within an hour we were on the trail at Heiss Mountain Road headed to Perkins Point, a distance of 2.7 miles. At Perkins Point we stopped for an extended period before beginning the return trip. Our return hike took a detour down to the Amphitheater and beyond where we picked up an old coal mining road which took us back to Big Possum Creek Bridge. A pause at the bridge provided time to observe the mesmerizing creek and to take our traditional group photo before our return to awaiting vehicles.

If two can be called a group, this is our group photo on Possum Creek
TC fills his water bottle from Big Possum Creek

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Soddy Gorge

Ava Navin, Jane Ellett, Teresa Jordan, Mark Jordan, Judy Varner, TC Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins hiked an approximate 6.5 mile segment of Soddy Gorge from rock climber's parking area above Deep Creek to highway 111. We came prepared for a wet crossing of Big Soddy Creek but the water level was sufficiently low to allow boulder hopping and boulder climbing across the sometimes hazardous stream. It was fun but did require a significant expenditure of energy. I can't speak for others but by hike's end I felt like I'd hiked 10 strenuous miles.

Slideshow of Don's photos

Group photo under rock ledge

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Piney River

Judy Varner, TC Varner, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins hiked the 7.3 mile segment of Piney River Trail between Duskin Creek and Piney River Trailhead during ideal weather. Many stops to identify wild flowers and a few extended breaks resulted in over five hours on the trail which is probably the longest time we have ever spent on this section of trail but it sure made an enjoyable hike.

Slideshow of Bob's photos

Slideshow of Don's photos

Group photo at White Pine Cascades

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Trail of Tires

Caroline Woerner, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins hiked into the Little Soddy Historic Mining Area on the Trail of Tires with intentions of removing a small tree across the trail that had been on our "To-Do" list since December. Someone had already cut it so we never had to start the chain saw we carried but hiking with a heavy load did provide some good exercise.

Group photo along Little Soddy Creek