Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Rock Creek Maintenance

Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins accompanied Phillip, Ryan, and Brandy of the state trail maintenance crew on a Rock Creek maintenance hike from Upper Leggett Road trailhead to Retro Hughes Road trailhead. There were many small trees on the trail and a few large ones but this section of trail is now ready for the upcoming trail race. The trail near Rocky Branch which had been damaged by uprooted trees was repaired and is now functional but more work needs to be done. We couldn't finish because of yellow jackets and hornets. We will try to return it to Cumberland Trail specifications after weather turns cold and stinging insects are inactive.

Don's photos

Bob's photos

Lunch break at Rock Creek Campsite

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cooper Creek

Judy Varner, TC Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins hiked from the new Barker Camp parking lot and trailhead to Stevenson Branch Campsite and back. We expected to find the new parking area farther into Cumberland Trail property but were surprised to find it just inside the original gate.

We hadn't walked this trail segment in a while and were anxious to return. It didn't take long to be reminded why we like this section; it is one of the most beautiful sections of Cumberland Trail.

Don's photos

Group photo at Panther Branch Overlook

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bridge Construction

Cumberland Trail Conference bridge building crew is taking the weekend off while awaiting engineering inspection and approval of the bridge towers. Here are two pictures of the completed towers taken yesterday by TC Varner.

South side tower

North side tower

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bridge Construction

The first half of this day was devoted to moving scaffold and a few other items from high above Big Soddy Creek down to the construction site. Although there wasn't that much to move, it did take all morning because after it was lowered from the ledge, it was hand carried down the mountain. After lunch the tedious task of leveling and plumbing the installed steel beams began.

Don's photos

Hand carrying material down the mountain

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bridge Construction

Another milestone was reached today and that was getting the steel for the south side tower across the creek. The entire morning was spent rigging hi-lines for transporting steel from north side to south side. The afternoon was spent transporting steel across the creek and erecting steel on the north side tower. After many months of planning and preparation, steel towers for the suspension bridge are taking shape.

Don's photos

1st piece of steel is erected today

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bridge Construction

Movement of lumber and steel to bridge site was completed today. Erection of steel towers which will support the suspension bridge can now begin.

Lumber and steel staged at bridge site

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bridge Construction

Today was another productive day. While hi-lines were being rigged, most of the lumber was hand carried down to the bridge site. It was after lunch before the rigging was ready to handle heavy steel but the operation went very smoothly when it finally got underway. Tomorrow the steel will be moved further down the mountain and with luck, some might even make it to the construction site.

Don's photos

Carrying lumber down to bridge site

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bridge Construction

Today was another productive day. Lumber for the project was picked up at Floyd Hardware and hauled to the staging area. Then it was moved down to the ledge which took all morning. After lunch the lumber was lowered 110 feet from the ledge down to the next stop on its journey to the bridge site. Now most of the heavy components are over the biggest hurdle, the ledge.

Don's photos

Controlling the load as it is lowered over the ledge

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bridge Construction

Today was productive. The steel bridge components that were moved a few hundred feet down the mountain side yesterday were successfully moved to the ledge, over the 110 foot ledge, and to their next temporary storage location. Tomorrow, weather permitting, they will be zip-lined down to the bridge construction site.

Don's photos

Moving heavy beam

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bridge Construction

I joined the bridge building crew today and helped move steel closer to the construction site on Big Soddy Creek. It involved lots of heavy lifting. Fortunately Renee's tractor did much of the hard work but I'm still too tired to type more than three sentences so glean what you can from the pictures.

Don's photos

Arriving at work site

Friday, October 11, 2013

Back To Sale Creek

Bob DeHart, Judy Varner, TC Varner, and Don Deakins took our kayaks back to Sale Creek while weather is still suitable for such activities. We launched at Iles Road boat ramp which is just across Sale Creek from Patterson Cemetery Road ramp where we normally launch for a Sale Creek trip. Water level is down a couple of feet from summer pool which prevented us from accessing our favorite spot but we were able to make two other side trips, one up Hodgetown Branch and another up Rock Creek. Water temperature has also begun to drop. With water level down and water temperature down, there won't be many more days to enjoy kayaking in Sale Creek.

Launching at Iles Road ramp

Calm water

Paddling up Sale Creek

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Back To Refuge

Caroline Woerner, Bob DeHart, TC Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins returned to Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge where we expected to see at least a normal amount of wildlife. Our expectations were not met. It appears that many of the larger birds, ospreys in particular, have migrated south. We did see a few deer and one bald eagle which we were able to observe for an extended period, thanks to TC's spotting scope. Wildlife may be laying low in preparation for deer hunters that will flood the refuge for the next three days.

Don's photos

Group photo at refuge boat ramp

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rock Creek Inspection

TC Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins hiked Rock Creek from Upper Leggett Road Trailhead to Rock Creek Campsite and back. Our goal was to inspect the trail after receiving a report of uprooted trees near Rocky Branch Bridge. We found that one tree on the upper side of the trail had fallen across the trail knocking over numerous trees on the lower side of the trail. The root balls pulled out of the ground taking the trail with them and leaving some sizable holes in the trail but still passable. Three other trail obstructions were documented and numerous other smaller obstructions not documented will also require a chainsaw for removal.

Lunch break at Rock Creek Campsite

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wheeling Black Mtn

TC Varner, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins returned to Black Mountain with our GPS devices and a measuring wheel to document the newly rerouted trail which now terminates at the Brady Mountain trailhead on Highway 68. We found that the distance from Black Mountain Parking lot to Brady Mountain trailhead kiosk is 19090 feet or 3.61 miles and the spur trail to Windless Cave is 485 feet long. We also discovered that some trail rerouting work is in progress near the bottom of Black Mountain which will require these numbers to be updated when work is complete.

Group photo at Windless Cave