Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jamestown, TN and Big South Fork (part two)

I was in this area while it was hot, thank goodness I am staying at a place with electricity!  The air conditioner is working overtime.   I would try to hike in the mornings so when it was at it’s hottest, I was not outside.

Big South Fork is large park.  I had to drive more than an hour to get to a couple of places I wanted to go to.  But it was worth it.  One of those places was Yahoo falls.  This is another fall where the water runs over a rock overhang and the trail goes behind the falls.


What appears to be a ray of light is actually the waterfall, not much water this time of year.


It’s kind of hard to tell how large these rocks are, but you can see the trail goes under the rock overhang in the picture above.

Another trail I hiked was to Split Bow Arch.  The trail I was on approached this one from the back side and had several stair cases to get you down through the arch.  It was a fun place, but hard to get good pictures.



I also visited Colditz Cove Natural Area.  I almost did not go to this area, but on my last day in the area I decided to try it and I’m glad I did.

The trail -

The falls and rock shelter -

For a bit the trail coming out of the overhang was a bit short.  I’m 5’10 and I’m guessing the overhang was about 5 feet where the trail was.  After I got out of the overhang, I noticed that I could have scrambled over the rocks and gotten to a better area – live and learn!!

One day I went to Cumberland Falls and did a bit of walking.  james_cumberland_1


Cumberland Falls is known for having a Moonbow on nights with a full moon.  I was not there at night, but got a picture with a rainbow when the sun decided to pop out from behind the clouds.

On another day, I went to Fall Creek Falls State Park.  I didn’t hike much because it was too hot.  Hopefully I’ll make it back some day when it’s cooler. 

I really like this area and will probably come back some day.  I did look at the campground in Big South Fork and it looks good.  Many fairly level spots and electricity at some of them. 

Next I head to Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jamestown, TN and Big South Fork (part 1)

I thought about staying at the campground in Big South Fork National Park,  but since I was going to stay 2 weeks, I decided to stay at Maple Hill RV campground.  

One of my main reasons for coming to this area was the Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area.  I hiked the Slave Falls loop hike one day.  The falls were not great, but the hike was!  Below is the first of many rock houses (I would have called this one a small cave).  This is Indian Rock House.


I enjoy looking at the different colors and patterns in the rocks.


Hiking around huge rocks, over arches, under over hangs – I love it!!!!


The area is known for it’s many arches.  The one above is Needle Arch.

As I mentioned, Slave Falls wasn’t that great.  But the trail was well worth the hike!!  This is one of several falls where the water falls over a rock overhang and a trail leads behind the falls.

Not far from Slave Falls, is Twin Arches.  The trail to these arches is listed as moderate to difficult. I believe the reason is due to the access down.  In some write-ups I read the trail has steep stairs; in other write-ups, they were called ladders – I don’t know what they are, but they were steep.  They did keep people off the fragile sandstone.

The North Arch is 62 feet high with a 51 foot clearance.  The trees kind of hide this one.

The South Arch is 103 feet high with a 70 foot clearance.

Close to Big South Fork is Pickett State Park.  I went there several days for hiking or just a picnic by the river. One of my favorite hikes was a loop that consisted of Natural Bridge and Hazard Cave.

While looking at Natural Bridge, some other hikers crossed the arch/bridge -

On hot days, Hazard Cave is a great place to cool off.  I’m guessing it was at least 10 degrees cooler.  At first I thought the first picture was the cave, but as I continued I realized the actual cave was a bit further down--

Even though it was hot, I enjoyed the trail. 

I am always intrigued when I see a tree and how they grow around rocks. 

After hiking, I sat at one of the picnic tables and enjoyed my lunch by the river.

I really enjoyed this area and have too many pictures for one blog, so I will publish this one and post part 2  of Jamestown, TN in a day or 2. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Townsend, TN (The Smokies)

As I mentioned in the previous blog, I ended up spending some time in Townsend, TN.  If you know Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Townsend is close to Cades Cove.  It’s called the quiet side of the Smokies. And it is, if you compare it to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. 

I hiked my favorite trail, the Cucumber Gap loop close to Elkmont.  One of my favorite parts of this trail is the first couple of miles beside the river.


Since I have visited this area many times, I promised myself that I would hike a place or 2 that I had never hiked before.  The first new place was the Walker homestead.  I learned that when this area first became a national park  (late 1930’s) the government bought the land from people who lived in the area and many moved.  But for those who didn’t, they leased the land back from the government and they could do so for their lifetime.  Apparently many people who leased the land eventually moved because their way of life had been taken from them.  They could no longer hunt and many small businesses closed.  But the Walker sisters decided to stay and were there until the last sister died in 1964. 

At the beginning of the trail is the Little Greenbrier School.  This school was built in 1882 and used until 1936.

Another of my favorite hikes is Abrams Falls.  I believe I have blogged about this trail in the past.   The problem with this hike is the trailhead is in Cades Cove so you may have to fight the traffic on the one-way scenic loop.  And what did I see when I got there this time-

It was closed.  I later learned that this trail had a lot of damage from a hurricane a few weeks before.  But I did get to see some bears not too far from the drive on Cades Cove. 

In most pictures they were walking away from me. 

Another of my “new to me” hikes was Alum Cave Bluffs.  I wasn’t sure how far I would go up the trail.  I think it was listed as a moderately difficult trail up to the Alum Cave Bluff, but someone had warned me that there were some areas that were a bit scary.  I ended up turning around shortly after Arch Rock.  I didn’t quite make it to the Bluffs.  I have been asked about hiking alone and part of my answer is I know my limits.  This trail wasn’t the most difficult I have been on, but it had rained recently and part of the trail was on rock – some smooth (and slippery) and some very jagged.  After a while of walking very carefully I decided I needed to try this trail again when it wasn’t so wet.

But the arch was neat. 

The stairs thru the arch were very steep and slick, but I went for it – just very slow!

Another trail that I hiked was Laurel Falls.  This is a very popular trail, it’s paved most of the way.

My mom drove up and meet me one day in Sevierville, TN.  We went to the Applewood Farmhouse for lunch and then did some shopping at the outlet stores in Sevierville.  

From Townsend, I headed to Jamestown, TN which is close to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.  I had been in this area before, but only for a day or so and saw enough to know I wanted to go back.  My next blog will be about Jamestown and the surrounding area. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Columbus Belmont State Park

My plans after leaving the Memphis area were to head north along the Mississippi.  Because of the flood, my plans changed.  So I headed to Columbus Belmont State Park in Kentucky for a few days.  This area played a role in the Civil War and has several historical displays.  But the main reason I went was to relax!

My morning walk consisted of walking beside the Mississippi, thru the campground and around some historical stuff.  I’m not really into history, but found some of it interesting.

This canon was made around 1840 and could shoot up to 1.5 miles!  In the afternoon I walked again and relaxed on the swing that was between my RV and the Mississippi. 

In the evening I again relaxed and enjoyed the sunset.  Have I mentioned recently that I really like retirement!!!!

From here, I went to the Land Between the Lakes, but only stayed a couple of days.  Part of the area was closed due to flooding and storm damage.  I had looked forward to visiting this area, but I really didn’t find it that interesting.  So I ended up with a week and no plans.  I decided to go to the Smokies, one of my favorite places.  I’ll post about it in my next blog.