Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's Official: Piney River Is A Favorite

The trails following Piney River and Duskin Creek just don't seem to disappoint. We found that out yesterday, April 13th, when 24 hikers travelled to the trailhead above Spring City and by 10:30am, we had 2 groups on the trail. One was designated as the fast group, the other, I suppose would be called the 'regulars'. The fast group had to walk from the top of the road down to Newby Camp to jump on their trail and the regulars drove on down to the bridge at Duskin Creek to begin their hike.

The regulars took off on the wet trail that soon had us by Duskin Creek which we followed a good while before turning left to head up on the ridge.

A great spot along the trail is White Pine Cascades, but before this we were already spotting sweet gaywings.
But we also spotted the amazing firepink and this unusual tree trunk with the tenacious rock attached.
As we descended the ridge on the other side of the dog leg to Spider Den, we spied yellow buckeye. Past this area, we found this hollowed area beside the bridge with the memoriam.

By now, we had spotted foam flower, spring beauty, wild geranium, dwarf-crested iris, red buckeye, and a mystery yellow bloom, Val decided must be a violet.

We passsed Hemlock Falls and by now we were following the Piney River as we continued on around the ridge, heading to Rockhouse Campsite for lunch. The fast goup had already caught up with us, passed us, and met us there where we got to see them for a few minutes. (I'll just go ahead and say we miss them!)
It took two pictures to get the group pic! (Minus Don who was taking a picture and Margaret who was down by the water.)
Taking off from Rockhouse, we climbed up a small bank, and turned right. In a short distance, we passed scenic Rockhouse Branch with beautiful flowing water.

Now, we were 'smelling' the end of the trail and our paced seemed to quicken. Typical of the Cumberland Trail, we passed impressive rock boulders and the trail became rocky. We also spotted two snakes that appeared to be 8 feet long and at least a foot in diamater, but the one picture I took didn't seem to confirm that! Hmnnnn??

After this big scramble over the rocks with the water threatening some toes, we had a little more than a mile to go. It wasn't
long before we were out of the woods, and back at the cars. With a little more than 7 miles, it was a great hike on a perfect spring day.

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