Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Possum Gorge With Don Deakins

 Between our group and the Cumberland Trail Volunteers, we had 26 folks meet on a gorgeous blue morning to follow Don Deakins on a short, but tough little 4.2 mile hike in the Possum Gorge. We took off from Heiss Mountain Road Trailhead and immediately stepped into a wooded wonderland. There was a pretty wooden bridge across Blanchard Creek, beautiful rock formations and interesting trees (yes, tree's can be interesting!). We viewed a huge rock face on the right as we descended to Big Possum Creek.  We climbed up to an old railroad grade and then took off up the ridge to the left. We continued on via switchbacks to a point overlooking the valley with mountains peaks in the distance (perhaps Big Frog?). From here, we descended a wooden staircase alongside a rock face to more switchbacks, continuing along a meandering trail that brought us to some secreted campsites amid a rocky point where we once again began climbing up out of the gorge. Finally, we crossed Little Possum Creek to reach a huge stacked rock where we all spread out to enjoy our lunch. John R. treated many within reaching distance to some delicious chocolate! Gearing up, we took off behind Don who led us to a point where we headed up the mountainside and ended up at our prearranged cars on Retro-Huges Road. A tough, but rewarding hike!

Caroline with CTV carried an interesting 'hiking stitck' which turned out to be a broom to sweep both the rock and wooden steps, along with much of the trail in general. While being directly behind her might have meant swallowing some dust, you couldn't help being impressed with her dedication and perserverance! Thanks, Caroline for being a dedicated trail sweeper!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Flipper Bend Trail Serves As a Substitute

Wednesday, November 3rd, we were headed to Tommy's Point, but the imminent rain changed our plans. After much ado about meeting, with some here and some there, we finally got together at the trailhead on Signal Mountain. Fourteen of us headed out of the parking lot under gray skies. The trail immediately dropped us into the woods which had already shed enough leaves to create a soft footfall. The rain in the preceding days created a bit of a muddy path in areas.

 It wasn't long til we came out of the woods onto a paved road that continued on behind a gated subdivision to our left called  Boston Branch. We crossed the road and disappeared in to the woods (after after making sure Bob was in sight). In the past, Che had said she sometimes had trouble finding the trail, but she did fine on this day as we came to an old roadbed and followed it down until we were on another stretch of woods where we took off to the right. About a mile further, we trekked by a clearing with power line towers that provided a bit more of a view. Farther, on we took a right turn and this brought us to an overlook where we could see Soddy-Daisy and the Sequoyah towers' in the distance.

Stormy perched on the point over North Chickamauga Gorge down below and we all settled down for lunch. We were chit-chatting and having a good time of relaxation  until a wave of dark clouds overtook the gray sky and we all jumped up to don our rain gear and head out. Some of group barely had enough time to eat a few bites! Arlene made sure to get her apple in at the last minute, though!

The trip back was under a soft rain that fell in bits and bursts, but never hard. The trail had us climbing more on the way back until we joined the point where we had turned right on the way in, then it was the easy trail that we had on the way in. We passed an interesting stacked rock formation where we stopped for a group picture. After this, the rain settled in and our feet picked up the pace to get back to the cars!  A good 8 mile (maybe a little more?) hike, proving once again that a hike in the woods is a good thing on any day. Rain or  no rain!