Ft. Oglethorpe 12.11.18

It was a little chilly and icey today so we decided to start a little later.  We all met at the lower parking lot of the Ft. Oglethorpe headquarters.  It was in the low 30's when we started and warmed up to the low 40's by the time we finished.  Otherwize the weather was perfect with not a cloud in the sky.  There were 21 of  us on this 6.2 mile hike.  We changed the path of this hike since we had so much rain and these trails are subject to flooding.  We did very well with minimum mud!  The hike went a little further than planned but since it was very flat, it was not much of a problem.  As is often the case with larger groups, we did get a bit strung out, but we didn't lose anyone, at least I don't think we did.  We even saw deer on several occasions, but they stayed pretty far away from us.  This like lasted about three hours and our average speed was 2.6 mph.  Following the hike we had lunch in Ft. Oglethorpe at Park Place Restaurant.  Since this hike was flat I did not include an altitude graph.  If you would like to see some photos, click here.  No so many as my view finder kept fogging up.

Stinging Falls Fork 12.4.18

Where should I start.  Things didn't go so well on this hike.  No injuries, but I didn't do a very good job of keeping everybody together.  As hike leader on this hike, it was my job to try to keep the 19 hikers organized and together.  It all started with my hike description.  It was to be a fairly short hike but it was steep and rocky.  I didn't state this well in the description.  Because of this, the group became really split up on the way down.  We decided to do a short hike on a new trail being built so some hikers left on this trail while others were just arriving at the Falls.  Needless to say, I couldn't keep track of everyone.  My apologies.   Anyway, we all made it back to the trail head eventually.  Me being the last to arrive and totally exhausted.  I hope everyone got their monies worth on this hike.  The temp. was in the low 40's and overcast.  The falls were really roaring and beautiful.  The total distance I hiked was only 3.3 miles, but if you look at the altitude graph, the change in altitude was 952 ft.  The max speed was 3.0mph with the moving average being 2.4 mph.  The time of the hike was just about 3 hours and 20 minutes.  After the hike we ate at Jacob Myer's and I had the not so good Fish N Chips.  Too much batter!  If you would like to see some pictures including maps and altitude graph, click here.

Soddy Gulf 12.1.18

 Saturday's scheduled hike on the CT was changed due to rains and threatened thunderstorms in the area.  One other hiker showed for the hike.  It was decided that the trail up on the CT would be in pretty poor shape.  As it turned out, the lower part of the trail in Big Soddy Gulf confirmed that – it was flooded in spots.  We arrived at the trailhead around 8:45.  Light rain was falling and the temperature was in the 40's.  The 1.2 mile hike into the trail is basically a gravel road.  I took some company who was visiting me and are not hikers, to this trail.  The creek and waterfalls along the trail were flowing at a good rate.  We hiked the 1.2 miles into the trail to the bridge that crosses the creek before splitting, with the left trail leading up to the CT.  We ended the hike at this point. It was an easy 2 ½ mile easy hike.  It was worth the venturing out in the rain to see the creek and falls in full flow.
To see some pictures of the Gulf flowing nicely and a map of the trail, click here

Grundy State Forest 11.27.18

When we left Red Bank it was 30 degrees. The closer we got to Tracy City, the colder it got. When we reached the Trailhead it was 24 degrees. There were 11 of us that tried to convince ourselves that it was better than  being in 94 degree weather.  We were suppose to do the half the Grundy day loop, go to Sycamore Falls and return by the 2nd half of the day loop. However the fearless hike leader felt there were some dangerous spots on the 2nd portion of the day loop, so we came back the same way we went and then we did some of the day loop that we missed so that we could see the falls. There wasn’t much water at the falls, but the hike is really beautiful. You do have to go over lots of tree roots and rocks. But the scenery is well worth it. Seven of us then went out for a nice lunch, even though we were disappointed that the Mountain Goat Market was closed.  We ended up hiking about 4 miles. I would rate it as moderate.  If you would like to see some pictures, click here.

N. Chick. Creek to Stevenson Branch Campsite

 Tom and John were the only hikers to show up for Saturday's hike.  The threat of rain was probably the main reason for this.  As it turned out, no rain materialized on the hike.
We departed the trail-head at approximately 9am on our 9 mile 8 hour hike.  The temperature was in the low 40's.  The ascent on the Upper Loop trail was uneventful though strenuous.  The trail was challenging.  The trail was wet from recent rains and covered with leaves.  This made the ascent slow and we continued on the upper part of the loop to the stairs going up to the upper rim part of the trail.  On the hike to the stairs we crossed several creeks and passed several nicely flowing waterfalls.  The overlook didn't offer much of a view on the inward part of the hike.  We also traversed along a bluff where the trail was rocky and in some sections only 6 to 12 inches wide.  We overshot the stairs going up because the blaze which would have alerted us to the direction change, was missing.  This was the 2nd time I missed the stairs, which indicates I am at least consistent on the trail.   The upper rim part of the trail was the easiest part of our journey.  The upper rim of the trail continues to descent portion of the trail down to a creek crossing and waterfalls.  It was here we finally found out why the trail was closed part of last year.  They built a set of stairs down to the falls and crossing.  Maybe they will build a set going up the other side at some future time.  We ascended the other side of the crossing and we continued to the campsite.  We arrived at the campsite around 1:30, had a snack and began our return trek.  The hike back was not completed much faster.  Usually the exit moves faster but not this time.  We exited the trail around 5pm.  I would definitely rate this hike as strenuous.  The weather made the trip a great hike however.  If you would like to see a few pictures, click here