Monday, November 23, 2015

Bushwhacking McGill Creek

TC Varner and I accompanied Cumberland Trail State Park Manager Bobby Fulcher on a bushwhacking tour of McGill Creek. Today's trek was on the south side of creek. I have never walked, stumbled, slid, or crawled over more rugged terrain. Today's hike gave me a completely new meaning for the word "bushwhacking". It's gonna be a tough trail segment to build but it will be beautiful once complete.

Group photo in an unnamed creek

McGill Falls had good flow today

We gonna put a trail thru here!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pot Point Loop

Our crew met Sara Pollard's crew at the secondary trailhead in Prentice Cooper for a hike around Pot Point Loop. We hiked down to Hemlock Branch Campsite, then on to Ransom Hollow Overlook, followed by a stop at McNabb Gulf Campsite for lunch. Leaving McNabb Gulf, we bushwhacked to Davis Pond where we had previously staged two vehicles for a total hike distance of about 4.5 miles. Sara's hard core group continued on around the loop with plans to complete the approximate 12 miles.

Group photo at Ransom Hollow Overlook

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mowbray to Hotwater

We made our third pass on the 4.9 mile segment of Soddy Gorge Trail between Mowbray Pike and Hotwater Road, removing blow-downs that we had ignored on previous trips because small hand saws were not big enough. Today instead of a chainsaw, we carried large hand saws and an ax. Hand tools require more work but sometimes it seems easier than carrying a heavy chainsaw for 5 miles.

Group photo along the trail

Rock hopping across Little Soddy Creek

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Big Soddy Creek Bridge

We spent most of the day on Cumberland Trail with most of that time at Big Soddy Creek Bridge. The bridge is finally complete except for cleaning up the construction site. It was completed just in time to be used by trail runners during their annual 50k UpChuck trail race. We saw the majority of 78 runners cross the bridge and I'm sure they all prefer the bridge to wading the cold and deep creek.

bridge photos

Group photo on south end of bridge

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

McGill Creek Again

Our second venture into McGill Creek which I expected to take about three hours ended up taking about six. Although the first mile was on an old logging road and relatively easy walking, the remainder of the hike was bushwhacking and extremely slow and difficult. Probably at least two or three more trips will be required to explore the entire proposed route for the new McGill Creek trail segment and I'm looking forward to it. It is a beautiful area.

Bushwhacking photos

Group photo below McGill Falls

Sunday, November 8, 2015

McGill Creek

Larry Hill, Bob DeHart, and I made our first exploratory hike along the proposed route of the McGill Creek trail segment which will connect Graysville Mountain Trail to Rock Creek Trail. Construction is scheduled to begin in January. The first 6/10 mile from Roaring Creek to Brayton Road crossing is very rugged and will probably require one mile of trail to span that section. An old road stretches from the Brayton Road crossing to McGill Creek, at least the topo maps indicates it does. We were short on time and hiked less than 1/4 mile down this road but our next trip will be to McGill Creek and beyond.

Group photo on old road to McGill Creek

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Blow-down Removal

Keith, TC, Carol, and I spent the morning on Soddy Gorge trail removing 3 large blow-downs and a few more smaller trees that were overhanging the trail and would have been on the ground soon. Two of the larger ones were near the Mowbray Pike trailhead, one at Little Stone Door and another about 1/2 mile beyond. The third large blow-down was near the Sluder Lane trailhead in Little Soddy Historic Mining Area. Now that these have been removed, we can hike the entire length of trail with an ax or small chainsaw and remove numerous other small trees on the trail.

time lapse video

Group photo on Soddy Gorge Trail