Monday, December 22, 2014

Soddy Gorge Video

It took a few weeks to complete the Soddy Gorge video but it's finally done. For best viewing, watch it on YouTube and select highest quality (HD 1080P).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rock Creek

TC Varner, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins spent a chilly Saturday on Rock Creek Trail hiking between Retro Hughes Road Trailhead and Upper Leggett Road Trailhead. We didn't stop for much on this 5.4 mile trail section except lunch at Rock Creek Campsite. The cool temperature made sitting around uncomfortable so we had to keep moving. We will be looking forward to our next uncomfortable hike.

Don's photos

Group photo on Rock Creek

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Prentice Cooper Off-Trail

TC and I laid out a new off-trail route at Prentice Cooper State Forest which began and ended at Davis Pond. It consisted of a loop about 2.7 miles long as the crow flies but of course we can't fly so I'd guess our hike was at least 3.5 miles. 3.5 miles is not a long walk but when you are bushwhacking over hill and dale, it adds to the exertion. We got our exercise today.

Don's photos

Group photo at a little water fall we stumbled upon

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Poplar Springs Trail

Judy Varner, TC Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins accompanied Joan Hartvigsen and Ryan Sandmeyer of Highland Rim TTA on a 6.5 mile Prentice Cooper hike. Beginning at main trailhead on Tower Drive, we hiked to Lawson Rock Overlook via Indian Rock House and Stone Door along Poplar Springs Trail. Our return to main trailhead was on jeep trails; Braddison Brow Road, Sulphur Branch Road, Lusk Point Road, and East Brow Road. Although the weather forecast called for rain, Mother Nature was good to us. We encountered only very light rain during first two miles.

Group photo at Lawson Rock Overlook

Friday, November 21, 2014

Big Creek Rim Trail

Ava Navin, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins drove over to the Stone Door end of Savage Gulf and hiked a 7 mile loop which began and ended at Stone Door ranger station. We took the .9 mile Stone Door Trail, then 3.2 miles on Big Creek Rim Trail to Alum Gap, and returned on the 2.9 mile Laurel Trail. Weather was a little cool but could still be classified as perfect for hiking.

Don's photos

Group photo at Alum Gap Campsite

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Savage Gulf Day Loop

Ava Navin, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins picked the coldest day so far this year to do a hike we've not done in a long time, the Savage Gulf Day Loop. It was cold and windy for most of the 4+ miles but was approaching comfortable conditions by hike's end. We may have to consider starting later in the day when hiking under frigid conditions.

Group photo at Rattlesnake Point

Savage Falls had good flow today

Friday, November 14, 2014

Laurel-Snow Video

Bob DeHart, Carol, and I completed our hiking tour of Laurel-Snow on 12 November, 2014. For best viewing, watch it on YouTube and select highest quality (HD 1080P).


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Snow Falls

Bob DeHart, Carol, and I made it to Snow Falls today to complete our Cumberland Trail video of the Laurel-Snow trail segment. We will have the finished product ready in a few days.

Bob and Carol at Snow Falls

Monday, November 3, 2014

Brady Mtn Video

Bob DeHart, Carol, and I completed our hiking tour of Brady Mountain Trail on 31 October, 2014. For best viewing, watch it on YouTube and select highest quality (1080P).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Big Soddy Temp Bridge

After hearing a report that the temporary bridge over Big Soddy Creek had been washed away, Ava Navin, TC Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins hiked in to confirm. The entire bridge is gone with only a few pieces of rope and wire remaining. Looks like the trail runners will have a difficult time crossing Big Soddy Creek during their upcoming Up-Chuck trail race on November 8.

Group photo where temp bridge used to be

Only rope and wire remain

Temporary bridge nowhere to be seen

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Soddy Gorge with CHC

Jane Ellett, TC Varner, Judy Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins accompanied Chattanooga Hiking Club on a Soddy Gorge hike which was a little different than any previous Soddy Gorge hikes. We parked vehicles on Back Valley Road underneath highway 111, then shuttled to Jones Gap Road and parked along the 111 east bound off-ramp which is adjacent to Cumberland Trail. We hiked the seldom used 1 mile section of trail that parallels 111 and continued into Board Camp Creek area. About 1/4 mile beyond the dismantled Back Country Bridge, we left the trail and finished the hike on the property newly acquired by city of Soddy Daisy.

Don's photos

Group photo in middle of Board Camp Creek

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rock Creek Loop

Ava Navin, Bob DeHart, TC Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins took advantage of today's perfect hiking weather and took a short hike around Rock Creek Loop. Although hiking conditions were excellent, the trail is still littered with downed trees. Looks like we will have to depend on termites to clear the trail obstructions.

Approaching the halfway point

Group photo on Rock Creek

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Soddy Daisy's Soddy Gorge

Today we got to explore Soddy Daisy's newly acquired property in Soddy Gorge. We hiked to the back of Soddy Daisy's property, then followed an old logging or mining road on TDEC property back to its intersection with Cumberland Trail. We then followed Cumberland Trail to the site of old Back Country Bridge which has been dismantled. We took an extended break at the bridge site before retracing our steps back to our starting point on Back Valley Road.

Don's photos

Group photo at site of old Back Country Bridge

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Paddling and Fishing

Bob DeHart, Judy Varner, TC Varner, and Don Deakins took our little boats to Hiwassee Island and Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge for some paddling and fishing. It was extremely foggy under overcast skies with no wind which made it perfect for fishing. We only caught five but it was still an excellent day on the water because we did more fishing and less paddling.

Don's photos

Fishing on Hiwassee River

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Yellow Jackets!!

Today was a near repeat of our August 15, 2012 encounter with yellow jackets. We walked into a nest of yellow jackets on the trail and apparently they were angry. Carol was stung seven times and I received four. Fortunately for Bob, he was a short distance behind us and saw what was happening. He backed up a took a long detour around the nest but not without getting nailed once on the arm. This nest is on the section of trail between Perkins Point and Big Possum Creek Bridge, about 300 or 400 feet up the trail from where it intersects the old coal mining road.

We encountered another yellow jacket nest atop Bare Point. This one had been dug up, probably by a skunk, and was full of bees but fortunately they didn't attack. Looks like we will either have to wait on cold weather before hiking again or wear bee suits while on the trail.

Group photo at Little Possum South Campsite

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Soddy Lake Geocaching

Judy Varner, TC Varner, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins took our little boats to Soddy Lake for some paddling and geocaching. Our first stop was for geocache GC3F5J1 which was hidden on an island. It didn't take long to find it. Our next stop was across Soddy Lake at the old fishing pier parking lot. This geocache (GC3641H) was located in a short time but figuring out how to retrieve it took 30 or 40 minutes. Thanks to four heads and some shade tree engineering, we were finally able to retrieve the cache and sign the log. This was so much fun we may have to schedule another geocaching event on the water before winter sets in.

Crossing Soddy Lake

Arriving at Soddy Lake fishing pier

Going ashore at cache site

Group photo at geocache site

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Board Camp Creek

We picked an excellent day for this approximate 6 mile round trip hike into the Board Camp Creek section of Soddy Gorge Trail. Weather was perfect for hiking and made for a very enjoyable day in the woods. We plan to take advantage of the upcoming fall weather and spend more time on the trail.

Don's photos

Group photo along Board Camp Creek

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Paddling Tims Ford

Jane Ellett, Deborah Kimberlin, TC Varner, Judy Varner, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins joined Highland Rim TTA and Murfreesboro TTA for a paddling excursion on Tims Ford Lake near Winchester. Our approximate 8.5 mile trip took us from Devil's Step to Maple Bend Island, then to the back end of Owl Hollow Creek, followed by a lunch break back at Maple Bend Island. A stop at Goose Island was made on our return trip to Devil's Step.

Don's photos

Group photo on Maple Bend Island

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rock Creek Loop

We felt compelled to take advantage of today's excellent hiking weather so off to Rock Creek we went. A short 3+ mile walk around Rock Creek Loop was enough to satisfy us for today as we look forward to next weekend's kayaking on Tims Ford Lake.

Group photo at our usual stopping point on Rock Creek

Hiking along Rock Creek Loop

TC rock hops across creek

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ziegler Island

Joan Hartvigsen, Bob DeHart, Judy Varner, TC Varner, and Don Deakins hauled our kayaks to the site of old Blythe Ferry where we launched our boats for a trip around Hiwassee Island and a side trip to Ziegler Island for lunch. Weather was ideal for most of the trip and paddling was easy but we did have to work hard for the last two miles from Ziegler Island back to Blythe Ferry as we were paddling into wind and waves.

Don's photos

Group photo at Blythe Ferry boat ramp

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Prentice Cooper Overlooks

Joan Hartvigsen, Caroline Woerner, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins visited three overlooks at Prentice Cooper. We began at the secondary trailhead on Tower Drive with our first stop being Snoopers Rock followed by a return to Tower Drive and beyond to Mullens Cove Overlook. After a short break at Mullens Cove Overlook, we set our sights on the 3rd overlook for the day, Ransom Hollow Overlook. After a lunch break at Ransom Hollow, we hiked the last .8 mile toward McNabb Gulf Campsite to a previously staged vehicle on Tower Drive with the last quarter mile in a pouring rain. We got wet but it felt good after hiking in hot and humid conditions.

Don's photos

Group photo at Ransom Hollow Overlook

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thief Neck Island

Joan Hartvigsen, Judy Varner, TC Varner, and Don Deakins picked the perfect day for a kayak trip around Thief Neck Island. Weather was excellent with little to no wind which made paddling easy on most of the 6.5 miles we covered. We made many stops along the way with the longest at the big campsite on east side of the island where we fired up the grill and cooked hamburgers. This will be another day on the water that won't soon be forgotten.

Don's photos

Group photo on Thief Neck Island

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Big Soddy Creek

Trish Appleton, Caroline Woerner, Larry Hill, Judy Varner, TC Varner, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins hiked to Big Soddy Creek for a status update on bridge construction. Unfortunately it looks like nothing has been done since steel towers were erected last winter. However, the temporary bridge is still intact so crossing the creek is not a problem.

The hike to Big Soddy Creek required crossing the new bridge at Deep Creek which now has steps on the north end. Deep Creek is no longer the obstacle it has been for so long.

Group photo at steel tower on south side of creek

Climbing down steps on north end of Deep Creek Bridge

Steps on north end of Deep Creek Bridge

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Road Hike

Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins made another trip to Prentice Cooper so we could hike jeep trails and not have to worry about ticks and chiggers. We did have to contend with gnats in our face and a warm temperature with extremely high humidity but that pales in comparison to tick and chigger bites. With summer almost over, we can look forward to cooler temperatures, lower humidity, and no bugs.

Hiking on Persimmon Branch Road

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Duck River Float

Duck River was crowded today. This TTA group alone must have numbered at least 35 with five chapters represented along with a few ex-members. Although we only covered about 4 miles, it was an excellent float. The current was good which allowed us to coast rather than paddle. I'll be looking forward to another trip down Duck River.

Don's photos

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sand Island

Bob DeHart, TC Varner, and Don Deakins took our kayaks to Watts Bar Lake where we paddled out to Sand Island to enjoy the solitude. However, after about an hour, two boat loads of swimmers showed up and disrupted the silence so we ate lunch an headed back to the River Road boat ramp.

Bob paddles toward Sand Island

TC paddles toward Sand Island

Enjoying the solitude on Sand Island

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Road Hike

Today we repeated a Prentice Cooper road hike we did back in May. We parked on Tower Drive near the intersection of Braddison Brow Road, then hiked about 1/4 mile down Tower Drive, made a left turn onto Sulphur Branch Road, and proceeded about 1.75 miles to an intersection with Braddison Brow Road. Three miles of Braddison Brow Road took us back to the starting point for an approximate 5 mile round trip.

Parking area along Tower Drive

Hiking down Sulphur Branch Road

Group photo at Poplar Springs Campsite

We picked up trash along the way

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge

Judy Varner, TC Varner, Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins made another trip to Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge for a short easy hike with hopes of possibly spotting a bald eagle. We didn't see an eagle but we did have an enjoyable walk around the refuge. As the hike ended, Bob, Carol, and Don headed home while TC and Judy took a kayak and canoe to Blythe Ferry where they launched for a paddle trip back to the waterways inside the refuge.

Group photo

Walking among the corn

Snack break at boat ramp

One of numerous deer we saw

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Deep Creek Bridge

Bob DeHart, Ava Navin, Tom Navin, Larry Hill, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins took a short hike down to Deep Creek to check out the new bridge. What a delight to see this bridge finally complete or almost complete. It still needs steps built on the north end but any determined hiker can climb down the concrete form using 2x4s as foot holds.

Don's photos

Deep Creek Bridge

Friday, July 4, 2014

Possum Creek Bridge

After hearing reports of a fallen tree on Big Possum Creek Bridge, Carol and I hiked in to inspect the damage. Fortunately we found minimal damage and that someone had used an ax to clear the path across bridge.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sale Creek Downstream

Judy Varner, TC Varner, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins did Sale Creek differently than usual and paddled downstream instead of upstream.  This took us to Brown's Bridge at Sale Creek Campground where we turned around. Our return trip took us beyond the boat ramp and into the swamp. As we exited the swamp into Sale Creek it began to rain and quickly turned into a downpour. Heavy rain continued until we got back to the boat ramp, a distance of about one half mile. Although we got wet, it felt good and made this an event we won't soon forget.

Don's photos

Judy's photos

Entering the open water in Sale Creek

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Prentice Cooper Road Hike

Today's hike consisted of a short 3.7 miles on the back roads of Prentice Cooper State Forest where we didn't have to contend with ticks and chiggers. We maintained a casual pace which made it much more enjoyable and stopped along the way to pick blackberries. I'm looking forward to the next road hike and already have one in mind.

Don's photos

Group photo on Maple Branch Road

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thief Neck Cookout

Pam Joyner, Bob DeHart, and Don Deakins paddled out to Thief Neck Island on Watts Bar Lake for a hot dog cookout. As most people know, food prepared and eaten outdoors is always good and today reiterated that fact. We discussed doing it again soon. Looks like we will be trying a hamburger cookout next. Get your paddles and patties ready.

Don's photos

Group photo at campsite on Thief Neck Island

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wildlife Refuge

Bob DeHart, Carol Deakins, and Don Deakins spent Sunday morning walking the roads in Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge. We expected to see many osprey and maybe even a bald eagle but they were not there today. We did however see many deer, a couple of which were young fawns. We will have to try again for a bald eagle sighting.

Walking the wildlife refuge roads
Group photo near entrance to Big Slough
One of many deer we disturbed