Friday, May 31, 2013

Rock Creek Loop

Phil Thomas, a new hiker joined Bob DeHart, Jane Ellett, Caroline Woerner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins for a short 3 mile hike around Rock Creek Loop. I sometimes report an uneventful hike but that can't be done today. In warm weather, I try to watch for snakes on the trail and was doing that today, unsuccessfully I hate to say. I accidentally stepped on a small copperhead, mortally wounding it. Other than that, it was a good hike but the humidity sure made its presence known. Looks like summer is here.

Bob's photos

Group photo on Rock Creek

Hiking along Rock Creek Loop

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Big Slough

TC Varner, his granddaughter Emily, and I are the only three that took advantage of today's excellent kayaking weather. We launched at the old Blythe Ferry site near the confluence of Hiwassee River with Tennessee River, then paddled up the Hiwassee to the wildlife refuge and spent the entire trip inside the refuge on the body of water called Big Slough. After a thorough tour of Big Slough, we returned to the launch site and, as we loaded kayaks, began plans for the next trip.

Don's photos

Paddling in Big Slough

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Big Soddy Creek

Trish Appleton and Shirley Wright of Chattanooga Hiking Club joined TC Varner, Ava Navin, Bob DeHart, Jane Ellett, Deb Wilder, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins for a short 3 mile hike from the SCC parking area to the construction site of the future bridge over Big Soddy Creek. Preparation work completed consists of a crane constructed on the cliff high above the creek which will be used to lower material to the work site and rebar drilled into the rock on the north side of the creek which will anchor the foundation to the rock. Tony Hook and crew were there laying out the foundation on the south side of the creek.

Weather was ideal... cool with a slight breeze which made for superb hiking conditions. Probably won't see many more days like this for awhile.

Bob's photos

Don's photos

Group photo at SCC parking lot

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Soddy Gorge with CHC

Caroline Woerner, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins joined Chattanooga Hiking Club for a hike on the five mile stretch of Soddy Gorge trail between Mowbray Pike and Sluder Lane. Warmer weather is here so we didn't have any problems working up a sweat but otherwise was an uneventful outing. Most hikers ended the day with lunch at the Blue Ribbon Cafe in downtown Daisy.

Don's photos

Bob's photos

Snack break at half way point

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Savage Gulf with CHC

Bob DeHart and I joined Chattanooga Hiking club for a 7.1 mile hike at Savage Gulf which began at Greeter Falls and ended at Stone Door ranger station. We followed the Greeter Trail from Greeter Falls to the trail junction at Alum Gap, then took the rugged Big Creek Gulf Trail to Stone Door and ended the hike on the Stone Door Trail which runs between Stone Door and the ranger station.  A few of the hard core hikers extended their hike by returning to Greeter Falls on the Big Creek Rim Trail. Highlights of the day were Greeter Falls, Ranger Falls, and Stone Door Overlook. The one mile climb up to Stone Door may also not be soon forgotten.

Bob's photos

Don's photos

Can you see the bat in this Ranger Falls photo?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Back to Wildlife Refuge

Ava Navin, TC Varner, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins made a return trip to Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge just nine days after our last trip but today we spent most of our time on the south side of Big Slough instead of the north side. We did however hike out to the refuge boat ramp which is on the Hiwassee River where we ate lunch. While there, Ava spotted a bird of prey across the river about one half mile away. Our full attention was focused on this bird for about 20 minutes. After much observation and discussion we finally decided it was a bald eagle that had not reached full maturity.

It seems everyone enjoys hiking here. I'm guessing it won't be long before we visit the refuge again.

Bob's photos

Don's photos

Group photo at Hiwassee Refuge boat ramp

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Black Mtn with CHC

Bob DeHart, Caroline Woerner, TC Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins joined Chattanooga Hiking Club for an approximate 9+ mile hike on Black Mountain near Crossville. We parked along the road at intersection of Cox Valley Road and Old Grassy Cove Road, then road walked a few hundred feet to the trailhead. The ATV trail between Cox Valley Road and Windless Cave was wet and muddy but the footpath from Windless Cave to top of Black Mountain was in excellent condition. Upon arrival at the top we followed the Black Mountain Loop Trail to the southern overlook where we stopped for lunch. After lunch we completed the loop trail before beginning our decent back down Black Mountain. Good weather and good people made for a superb day on the trail.

Don's photos

Bob's photos

Group photo at Windless Cave

Friday, May 3, 2013

Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge

Bob DeHart, Judy Varner, TC Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins took a trip to the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge where we hiked almost 4.5 miles on gravel and dirt roads while observing wildlife along the way. We saw many different birds and TC's high quality spotting scope allowed us to get up close and personal with them. We had hoped to see and photograph a bald eagle. Although one bald eagle was spotted, it was too far away for a photo. We will try again, maybe from the water on our next trip.

Don's photos

Group photo at observation platform