Monday, May 10, 2010

Hiking Black Mountain on a Perfect Spring Day

Perfect Hiking Day = May 5th on Black Mountain above Grassy Cove. 16 of us traveled up above Spring City, parked along the highway, and then walked up the road to the trailhead. From here, we troughed  through some wet, muddy area's, taking care over big, slippery rocks that lay like oversized landscape rocks on the trail. Deb was on the lookout for lady slippers and it wasn't long before we spotted a few pink one's tucked at the edge of the woods. Purple phlox bloomed here and there along the way to the first intersection where we caught up with Richard (surprise), Linda (who is fast establishing herself as one of the 'fast' hikers), Larry, J.D. and Gary. Here we took a right turn climbing gradually as we enjoyed  sights of wildflowers. We passed by Windless Cave and determined to stop there on the way back. When we took a left turn down a grade, we crossed a creek and began more of a climb, though still easy, and began to see more and more wildflowers: Foam Flower, False Solomon, Doll's Eyes, Squaw Root, May Apple, Fire Pink, Yellow Trillium, and even a Showy Orchis.
As we reached the top of the ridge, we again reached the fast group where Deb had already found a green Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Then it was a short hike to a specactular rock formations that can only be appreciated by standing in the middle with your eyes shut and imagining yourself alone a hundred years ago. We walked thru these and around to another set that had stairs to climb up to another ridge. Then it was not too far till we came to the old Gill Family Property where the spring house remains. A sparkling clean creek flows from underneath, still ready to keep milk icy cold! A short distance away amid weeds and small trees stands an old chimney. Reluctantly, I left this old home area to make my way on down the trail where we found Pink Ladyslipper heaven. They grew in patches all along the trail to the huge rock outcropping where we all enjoyed lunch. Several folks found pesky ticks trying to have their own lunch!

On the way back, Bob was determined to check out the parking lot (and no, I don't know why he has this obsession??) and so Gwen accompanied him down. Afterward, in my car he reported it was in good condition and we were all relieved to hear it!
The rest of us, went on a little jaunt to view the Northern Overlook and WOW...what a scenic spot! You can see for miles with Grassy Cove down below, Watts Bar Nuclear plant towers were visible, and mountains at a distance. Again, we enjoyed the sights of the flowers as we traveled back down the mountain. We stopped at the Windless Cave and enjoyed this restful spot before we went on down the trail, not quite ready to end this perfect day. When Bob and Gwen made it out, we all joined up and met at the Sonic in Dayton for a cold drink. After a stop in Sale Creek for strawberries in the late afternoon, we made it back to the parking lot at Sequoyah Crossing. Our spirits full after a beautiful hike.

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