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

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Harrison Bay Kayak Demo

Paddling a recreational kayak for a few years has created a desire to test drive a more performance oriented boat so off to the Harrison Bay kayak demo I went. I was only interested in Wilderness Systems boats and went directly to their display. I tried a Tsunami 140 and then a Tsunami 145. These are Wilderness Systems' entry level into performance kayaks. The 140 was too confining but the 145 had a larger cockpit which I found comfortable so I added that model to my wish list. I then tried one of their high performance touring designs, a Focus 150, but it was too sensitive for me. My demo day ended with a Tarpon 140 which is a larger model of the boat I presently own. It felt good and, if I had it to do over, I'd buy the 140 instead of my present 120.

Photos from kayak demo day

Wilderness Systems boats at kayak demo

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sale Creek

Ava Navin, Pam Joyner, Bob DeHart, Mark Jordan, Teresa Jordan, Caleb Jordan, and Don Deakins paddled a 7.5 mile round trip in Sale Creek and were able to paddle up Rock Creek farther than ever before. Apparently the water level is significantly higher now than during any of our previous trips. Our trip up Sale Creek ended at the normal turn around spot on a tiny sandy beach where remnants of a log jam remain and the water becomes to shallow to navigate. Kayaking sure beats hiking on these hot days. We will have to do this again real soon.

Don's photos

Lunch break at log jam

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Float Elk River

Debbie Wilder, Jane Ellett, Judy Varner, and Don Deakins accompanied the Highland Rim TTA Chapter on an 8+ mile trip down Elk River from just below Tims Ford Dam to Farris Creek Bridge. Floating the Elk was much different than last week's trip down Tennessee River Gorge where we paddled into the wind. Tims Ford Dam was releasing just enough water to provide a current sufficient to assist with paddling and in many places paddling was only required to steer. Looks like Cumberland Trail Volunteers will have to schedule a return trip to Elk River.

Don's photos

21 boats ready for trip down Elk River

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Paddle River Gorge

Jan Agee, Brandy Selman, Denise Shepard, Judy Varner, Bob DeHart, Ava Navin, Don Deakins, Renee Grace, Tim Grace, Lora McBride, Craig McBride, Joan Hartvigsen, Sara Pollard and 4 others I can't name from Highland Rim TTA paddled 9 miles through the Tennessee River Gorge. After meeting at Suck Creek boat ramp, we took shuttle vehicles to Raccoon Mountain boat ramp and returned to Suck Creek where our trip began. Paddling a kayak 9 miles is normally not to strenuous but we paddled into the wind most of the day which greatly increased the energy required to move these tiny boats. Regardless of the extra effort, it was an excellent day on the river with an excellent group of paddlers.

Getting ready for launch

Leaving Suck Creek ramp

Just 7.5 miles to go

Lunch break

Lunch break

2.5 miles to go

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sale Creek

Bob DeHart, Keith Weller, and Don Deakins spent the morning paddling around the swamp area of Sale Creek and up Hodgetown Branch as far as we could go. We had Sale Creek to ourselves and spent a large percentage of our time idly enjoying the tranquility. When paddling, we maintained an almost effortless pace. We didn't get much exercise but we did catch up on BS.

Gliding along

Entering the swamp

Relaxing in the shade

We did a little off-trail kayaking

Monday, June 2, 2014

Deep Creek Bridge

I'd heard the third pole had been placed on Deep Creek Bridge so I hiked in to check it out. Looks like things are progressing at an astonishing pace. In only 14 months the bridge has transformed from the stage in construction where concrete forms were being assembled to now where the 3rd pole has been placed. At this rate the bridge could easily be ready for foot traffic by spring of 2015.

Before (April 20, 2013)

After (June 2, 2014)