Friday, September 17, 2010

Pot Point Trail Maintenance

It took almost 50 minutes to get the intrepid Wednesday group from the Bi-lo at Signal Mtn. Road to the parking area at Prentice Cooper State Park where we geared up for our day of maintenance. Donald Box wouldn't let the ladies slide by with a little pair of snippers! He came prepared to hand out loppers...thanks, Donald, I guess. :-(  We divided up with 7 following John-the-Man Rowland and 8 with Mama-Che and Donald. We all walked north together and then our group broke away and continued for approximately 2.5 miles.Then the groups were using their swing blades, loppers, and snippers with a plan to meet about the middle.

In John's group, he, Gary, and Monty shared the use of the swing blade while J.D. used the saw, and Trish, Patti, and I alternated the use of loppers and snippers. Our goal was to follow Donald's request to clear a 4 x 7 foot area on the path. By the time the two groups met for lunch, I heard a few groans and sighs, but it was all good.

I suspect those of us who aren't normally on the maintenance crews will certainly appreciate them much  more!

Beautiful Bald River Falls With Betty!

If Betty Petty is leading the hike, you can't go wrong. With that in mind (plus the fact that it was the anniversary of 9/11 and it's too sad to be at home and think about it), the Chronicler got up on a slightly wet Saturday morning and drove to Ooltewah where 10 of us divied up in cars and headed North. Steve very kindly led us to where his work van was parked and we all loaded up and continued on to Tellico Plains.

By the time we arrived at the lot by the Falls, the rain had arrived so we quickly got on the trail which began right beyond the falls, up a path that led across a wooden bridge. From up behind the Falls, we fell into an easy walk/hike on an undulating trail beside the gurgling waters of Bald River. Reds, yellows, and orange colors ran from muted to vibrant in spurts along the way- fall is peeking! At one point, we passed a fairly large rocky overhang, more like what you'd see on the Cumberland Trail. By now the rain had subsided.

The Chronicler was in a dreamy state of placing one foot in front of another, listening to the water, and enjoying the sun-dappled woods when someone from behind announced- snake! Instantly, I was back in the moment! Apparently, it was a tiny, hatchling Ringneck snake, supposedly, non-venomenous, but who cares? It's a snake!  On high alert now, I noted my position of number 2 in line, and fell back to let John jump in front. hee..hee.

We enjoyed gorgeous, scenic views of the river all along the trail, spotted several hornets nests and red cardinal flowers blooming. Lunch was eaten at the world famous Betty Falls! We settled on the rocks by cascades that fell into a deep pool. The rain began again, but by now we were all probably ready for a cool down from the wet heat. After eating, we continued on to the end of the trail where it ended at a F.S. Road beside a Conservation Corps built bridge that showed true craftsmanship. Again, the rain ended.

The hike back was just as pretty as it was on the way in! The rain joined us for a good downpour right before we reached the van. After a delicious dinner at Nut N Fancy we got on the road just before a horrible rain/thunderstorm pelted us all the way back to Cleveland.

I'd like to thank J.D. for sharing her photo's!