Monday, March 30, 2015

BreakAway 30 March 2015

Jane and I got a lot done on the trail today but can't take all the credit. We did have a little help from 21 Delaware students, local volunteers, and rangers. We will probably do it again on Wednesday while the students are visiting Nashville.

Delaware students pause for photo

Moving dirt and an old tree across trail

Jane never slows down

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yellow Bluff with CHC

A few Cumberland Trail Volunteers accompanied Chattanooga Hiking Club on a 7.6 mile hike around Yellow Bluff Loop Trail near Sparta. It was a fun day with a superb group of 30 hikers on a relatively strenuous trail. Springtime temperatures allowed us to leave winter clothing at home. Looks like it is about time to start carrying extra water.

Don's photos

16 of 30 hikers at Joe Holloway Rock House

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Soddy Trail Maintenance

Today's maintenance hike removed two different trail obstructions. The first blow-down shown in photos is one that has been an aggravation for many recent hikes on Soddy Gorge Trail because it forced us off trail to get around it. After today's maintenance hike, we can now report the Soddy Gorge Trail is clear of major obstructions.

Don's photos

Removing trail obstructions

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BreakAway 18 March 2015

No students this week and other volunteers were busy elsewhere so Jane, Carol, and I had the trail to ourselves. We completed about 100 feet of trail that had been roughed in but most of our time and effort went to digging a channel for spring water to run across the trail followed by building a bridge over the channel. After a day or two of rest, we'll be ready to do it again.

Finishing trail that had been roughed in

Digging channel across trail for spring water

Bridge over channel

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chainsaw Certification

Today was the practical portion of chainsaw certification which followed yesterday's classroom segment. Now that we are certified by the state, we can resume trail maintenance as we used to do.

After the training session, we hiked down to the BreakAway trail construction site and applied some of what we had just learned on a blow-down that was obstructing newly constructed trail.

Don's photos

Practical portion of chainsaw certification training

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Explore Yellow Bluff

An approximate 2 hour drive to Sparta and beyond took us to Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness where we explored both ends of the Yellow Bluff Loop. Our goal today was to familiarize ourselves with the area and trail in preparation for a upcoming hike with Chattanooga Hiking Club. We began with an approximate 1 mile hike out to Boar Hog Gap Overlook, then back to the trailhead and down Scotts Gulf Road to the other end of trail. After finding the point where trail intersects the road, we followed it to Gunstock Branch where we stopped for lunch before retracing our steps back to trailhead.

Don's photos

Group photo at Joe Holloway Rock House

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Graysville Mountain

Five local hikers and six hikers from Plateau Chapter of Tennessee Trails spent the day on Graysville Mountain. It warmed up fast and made most of the day seem like spring. Our hike was a duplicate of one we did recently, a 9.2 mile round trip to Gilbreath Creek and back. This may be one of the easiest 9 mile hikes since all uphill work is completed early, but it sure seems more difficult than it did last year.

Don's photos

9 of 11 hikers at Gilbreath Creek

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wildlife Refuge

TC and I had hopes of seeing thousands of sandhill cranes but apparently most have left for their summer home farther north. Upon arrival, we saw 22 stragglers from the observation deck and they left after a few minutes. There were a few others flying around. We did have the good fortune to see a flock of wild turkey which we estimated to be about 50. A TWRA officer who got much closer said he counted 68. He also said the refuge was open as of March 1st so we were able to get a few miles of hiking in while there. We walked out to the navigational entrance gate which we paddle kayaks through in summer. It looks quite different with the water level down. Won't be long till we're passing through the gate again.

Group photo at navigation entrance to goose management area

A few stragglers trying to decide which direction to go