Monday, February 19, 2018

More Land Trust Hikes

Working on my goal of walking all the land trust trails this year, Kimberly and I knocked out Keel Mountain and then went over and did 2 of the trails at the new Green Mountain addition.

the trail was very muddy in a couple places

winter views
Parking is at valley level, it's a climb to the waterfall!

Over at Green Mountain, the trails were very dry!

well, nearly all the trails were totally dry! 

The day's total was only about 5 miles, but I managed to screw up my tracker somehow and didn't get either of them all the way through.  That's irritating because even when it is on the whole time, it's not giving me less mileage compared to people with a dedicated GPS to track with, so I feel like my overall mileage amount is getting cheated and then some.  Anyway, it's not a big deal.  I'm just glad to be out getting some exercise!  

Honeycomb Hideout!

Well, not really as I am not THAT exciting, but there IS a Honeycomb trail over at the lake and I have been hiking it recently.  Since the first of the month, I have hiked 40 miles!  Hills are getting easier, though that's with a day pack, so I am not getting too excited. 

Today we went back over to the honeycomb trail and hiked it with Nia.  It was Matt's first time.  Since I have hiked it a few times, I was able to add more to my 'mind map' as Ben calls it, and think about how the trail goes.  And it goes uphill WAY MORE from the dam to the campground than it does from the campground to the dam.  hahaha.  Dang. I really don't like hills! 

Matt liked it, Nia loved it. There are a couple of creek crossings and several access points to get in the lake.  She STAYED wet, and often muddy, and very smelly.  So basically her best day ever.  We started out with Murphy too, but he sometimes gets carsick and by the time we were half a mile away, he was already belching and clawing at the windows.  So I turned around PDQ.

Nia loved being an only dog, her prefered state.

realizing she's in mud, not lake

this mud smelled horrible, like old oil and dead fish

A cleaner bit of water, swimming in circles to stir up the gators.  

The start of the long series of climbs.

Me, feeling oddly optimistic, though that quickly changed to 'oddly tired'

A beaver!

okay, well, it's Nia again.

roughing it as I remembered to bring kibble, but not a bowl

contemplating the unfairness of life without bowl

Matt sat in witch's butter, an (edible) jelly fungus
I may have called him Butterbutt

I had her harnessed and clipped for her surfing ride on the way to eat after the hike.

She thinks she is 6 feet long, I had to move a basket that I keep odds and ends in and put my massaging back rest on the top to fill in the gap between seats so my two and a half six foot long dog could sleep on the way home.  She kept dramatically falling off into the gap.  At least she didn't make me turn on the massager for her.  I did spend nearly $4 on grilled chicken strips for her though.  Then I had to blow on them while she stared at me until they were cool enough to eat.  She also groaned until I turned off the radio.  I don't foresee us going crosscountry anytime soon.  But I did enjoy hiking with her.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

New Places

The day started with Matt waking me up AGAIN, this time to stumble outside and push his car out of the mud.  I logged onto messenger to yet another hiking cancellation, I flubbed my morning workout because I hurt my stupid knee the day before slipping off a granny ladder (a low stepladder with a HUGE HANDLE TO HOLD ON TO, though pushing a tiny car while half asleep likely did not help things either) and the finale was yelling, "Well fuck you too!" at the scale.

The kids were off with friends, Jake had work, there was no reason to be home.  So, I ran away.  Well, no, I got my hiking stuff and drove off to Tennessee determined to hike even if I had to hike alone.

I stopped for gas and set the GPS for Franklin State Forest.  I arrived with no drama, turned on the road the GPS said to and headed down an increasingly tighter road.  It was like hiking but in a minivan.  The only mud had been at the start, I was feeling fine.  I parked at the end of that road and headed out hiking on the blazed trail that went along the bluff.  I walked about a mile before deciding to head back and find what I had come there for, Tom Pack Falls.

I plugged it into the GPS and it had me turn onto another dirt road instead of going back to the paved road.  So I turned and headed off into the trees.

90 minutes later, after being wenched out of the mud by an unnamed state employee, I was back out on the main road, slinging muddy rocks out of my tire tread and listening to my mud flaps banging around.  I had managed to tear both of them loose in my efforts to get out of the quagmire I ended up accidentally parking in.  There was no steady cell signal, I managed to get a call into AAA, but the woman who answered was NOT listening and kept 'splaining to me where I was.  NO, I knew where I was and I was telling her how to direct the tow truck.  Finally, the connection gave up and I walked to the road to see if it was better there and that is when state employee drove by, turned around and drove back and asked if I was okay.  He thought I was geocaching but didn't see a car.  I told him I left it in the mud a ways back!

That went as well as could ever have been hoped for, he pushed the van out to the road, clipped in, backed me up about 10 feet and I was able to drive out on my own.

From there, I went to the Sherwood Forest area of South Cumberland.  They sneaked a new trail in after my glorious triumph last summer of completing every trail in the park.  Well, I still have not done the stretch from Horsepound Falls to Ranger Falls.  But I did finish up that other 11 miles I was missing.

The trailhead is at the end of CCC road off of 56.  It's only finished to the overlook, roughly half a mile one way.  It is still WELL worth the hike.

The road I drove/hiked until it all went wrong

View from the trail.  I had no map and no idea the trail name.
Even the forestry guy did not have a map.
He did say there are bears, though.

I approve

The Sherwood Forest Trail is a VERY easy walk:

And it's ridiculously well blazed considering the trail bed is 4 feet wide and VERY obvious.

Ice still along the cliffs!

As close as this is to Chattanooga, I foresee having to make hammock tree reservations 3 weekends ahead to soak in that view.

I was surprised by this little natural bridge!

Jason is pretty awesome.

Next, I went to the Tom Pack Falls trailhead.  It's another mile round trip hike, but the terrain was a little tougher.
The trailhead is at a primitive campground, no privies, but there are trash cans! 

It was about here that I remembered I had left my phone charger plugged in, draining my battery.  I have a jump box (thanks, Jeff and Gina!) AND a brand new 6-year battery, but I still had a few moments of self-berating.  I know solo hiking is a learning process.  I just didn't want to learn so much in one day.

I am excited to go back and explore more, especially if I can find a blasted trail map!

Friday, I went back over and hiked the 8-10 mile Honeycomb Trail at Guntersville.  I hiked it the previous week from the dam to the campground, this time I did it from the campground to the dam.
It's easier to get off the trail going campground-to-dam.
I went with Sue the second time, she's an avid geocacher and tracked us with her Garmin to keep us on the trail.  We still got off on a side trail and added over a mile to the day.  It was fine hiking weather, we were not bothered with the addition though until this hike (9.4 on my tracker 9.9 on hers) her longest hike ever was 7.2 miles.
The trail has several long climbs that get the heart pumping, loads of views (in winter anyway) and skirts the lake nearly the whole way either at the water level or along the cliff line above.  It swings widely back into the woods twice to go around steep coves and is mostly blazed with white blotches except where it isn't.  You can't get too lost, just keep the lake to the right if going from the dam and to the left if going from the campground.  Both parking areas are in sight of the lake.

If you geocache, this is a power trail, meaning it is LOADED with caches.  I got a new Batman!

I'm stoked about the find, it's less than an hour from me to the trailhead, I can knock it out once every week or two and if I can't find someone to go with me, Matt can get me after work until it gets ticky or snakey.

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.