Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 37307
Cherokee Hiking Club Calendar
Hike Difficulty Rating Scale (per Chattanooga Hiking Club)
Check out the
CHC Hike Calendar for 2017 - good for printing
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Benton MacKaye Trail Assn Hike Schedule
1/8, Sunday January Monthly Meeting and annual Hike and Event Planning Meeting
We will meet at 2:00 p.m. in the Family Resource Agency’s conference room, as in ages past. We will be planning future hikes, meetings and other events for 2017. If you are interested in leading a hike in 2017, or would like to provide any other positive input or constructive advice, please attend! Non-members interested in joining the club are also invited. If you come, feel free to bring refreshments, but this is not required. (Coconut cream pie, pecan pie and carrot cake will be especially appreciated; also coffee and drinks.) James Anderson will host the meeting. See newsletter for exact location directions.
Many of you have in past years enjoyed the winter hiking experience during Wilderness Wildlife Week in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The tradition continues. Under the auspices of the Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition (SEFTC), the second annual Winter Hike Week will be held January 19-22 in Pigeon Forge, TN. Several hikes ranging from easy to strenuous will be held each day, beginning on Thursday, the 19th, and concluding on Sunday, the 22nd. Participants are urged to arrive on Wednesday afternoon, if possible, to take advantage of the full hike schedule. All hikes will be led by hike leaders familiar with the GSMNP trails. There is a $25 charge by SEFTC for the event, whether you are there one day or all days. This goes to fund SEFTC's hiking and foot trails program. The SEFTC will hold its annual meeting for SEFTC board members and leadership council members on Saturday. For those not participating in that meeting, a full hiking schedule is provided Saturday. For all the details and to register please go to the Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition website http://www.southeasternfoottrails.org then on the opening page click on the icon in the upper right for the "Winter Hiking Event" to access information and registration. If winter hiking in the Smokies is new to you, it is actually not that strange. For some it is even the preferred season, with the smallest crowds. Ice and snow is usually not a problem, with significant snow collection mainly at the highest elevations. Usually January hikers can hike most days at lower elevations, where most of our treks occur. Should heavy snows occur, alternative low elevation flatter hikes may be substituted. SEFTC is planning for well over a hundred people for this event. In 2016 SEFTC held this event successfully for the first time, and plans to make it an annual January occasion. So make your special winter hiking plans now for the January 2017 SEFTC Winter Hike Week in America's most visited national park by going to the SEFTC website and registering and reserving your inn or hotel room as instructed there.
1/28 – Saturday – Dry Pond Lead hike - Section 12 of the BMT. Hike leader: Randy Morris. Strenuous, 9 miles, around 1700 feet elevation gain. Meet at Ocoee Hardees at 8:30 a.m. or at the Thunder Rock parking area at 9:00 a.m. Contact Randy at 423-650-0485.
We will hike part of Section 12 of the Benton-MacKaye Trail—commonly known as the Dry Pond Lead Trail— for a total mileage of approximately 9 miles. There is in excess of 1700 feet of elevation gain within the first 4 miles so I am rating this hike as strenuous. There are normally great winter views of Brock Mountain, the Ocoee Gorge and sometimes Big Frog Mountain on this trail which meanders along the NW boundary of the Little Frog Mountain Wilderness Area for much of the hike. Note: This hike will be cancelled in the event of rain or snow on the morning of the event so be sure and contact Randy via text or call to ensure you will get notice in case of cancellation. We will meet in the parking lot behind Hardees in Ocoee at 8:30 a.m. for the trip up the gorge to the parking lot at Thunder Rock Campground. We will depart from the Campground parking lot just after 9:00 a.m. If interested in attending, please call or text Randy by Friday evening, January 30, at 650-0485 no later than 8:30 p.m.
Hike Report: Five club members and one guest hiked approximately 9 miles (either 8.5 or 8.9 miles depending on which electronic device you trust) on the Dry Pond Lead Trail, which borders the Little Frog Wilderness Area for much of its length. According to one of the devices, my pre-hike estimate of 1700 feet of elevation gain was spot on! The weather was great—an absolutely beautiful, sunny winter day with clear blue skies. We had fantastic views of the western and eastern mountain ranges - viewing Oswald Dome, Brock Mountain and Starr Mountain to the west, and Big Frog and the distant ranges in Georgia to the east, as well as Panther Knob in the Little Frog. Two of the group used their “Peak Finder” apps on their phones to find distant mountains like Blood Mountain on the AT, which was visible on the horizon. We also investigated a large hornet nest, which some considered might be an interesting addition to their homes. We ate lunch near the end of the Dry Pond Lead Trail on the flank of Little Frog Mountain, where the Benton MacKaye trail separates and heads off around and down the mountain to Kimsey Highway. Enjoying the hike were club members Jack and Megan Callahan, James Anderson, Sue Robinson and Randy Morris (hike leader) as well as guest Debbie Crowder. Part of the group is shown below, thanks to Jack Callahan, who took the picture! More pictures of this event can be viewed at https://www.meetup.com/Cherokee-Hiking-Club-of-Southeast-Tennessee/photos/27580519/.
2/2, Thursday – Booker T. Washington Hike, Lakeshore to Park’s Point. Leader: Ann Gray. Easy, 3 miles. Meet at the Cleveland Hardee’s on 2780 Keith Street at 9:00 a.m.
Trip Report: This winter hike was attended by 11 folks who enjoyed the shoreline of Chickamauga Lake in 45-degree temperatures. Those attending included club members hike leader Ann Gray, Edmond and Gail Gray, Clayton and Ruth Pannell, Jack and Margaret Callahan, Lettie Burress, Karen Young, new club member
Sandra Woolsey and guest Butch Gregg. We hiked between 3 and 4 miles, depending on which trail one took. Most of us ended the hike with a delicious meal at the Countryside Restaurant on the way back home. It was a fun way to celebrate Groundhog’s Day - and Clayton’s birthday! The picture below shows the happy but chilly group of hikers. More pictures of this event can be viewed at https://www.meetup.com/Cherokee-Hiking-Club-of-Southeast-Tennessee/photos/27660108/.
2/4, Saturday – Thunder Rock Express Hike. Leader: Clayton & Ruth Pannell. Easy with optional strenuous climb. 3.5 miles with car shuttle. We will do a car shuttle up to where the BMT crosses FS RD 45. We will hike south on the BMT to the Thunder Rock Express, and follow it back to the power house and parking lot. Note: this trail is also a bike trail and may have bicyclists on it. Please dress in layers for cold weather and bring plenty of water, as winter air may be very drying. This hike is part of the Tanasi Trail System in back of the White Water Center. See http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5278526.pdf for a map of the Tanasi Trail System.Please meet at the Hardee’s in Ocoee at 9:00 a.m. to carpool, or at the shuttle location in the Thunder Rock Trail parking area at 9:45 a.m. Contact Clayton at 423-263-9730 (home), 423-435-1843 (cell) or email at email@example.com .
Trip Report: Before daylight on the 5th, the temperature was 22 degrees. Would this be a Thunder Rock Express or the North Pole Express? After the sun came up, we greeted each other in the trailhead parking lot and then completed a car shuttle to where the trail crosses USFR 45. The temperature had risen by that time to 30 degrees, and we started our hike. Most of the hike on the BMT was up the grade on an old road. Next came the Chestnut Mountain section down an old road to the Thunder Rock Express. Yes, the rock is still in the tree along the trail, as it has been for years! Then we arrived at our destination near the parking lot, and the temperature was up by that time. A short walk further, and we arrived at the parking area, where some of us stayed and had lunch at the picnic tables. Overall, it ended up a beautiful day with sunshine and cool temperatures, and we only saw two bike riders on the trail. Hikers included Jack Callahan, Linda Kryssing, Susan Robertson, Ruth and Clayton Pannell (hike leaders), and guests Brian Beck and Michael Truch. The hike leaders want to thank everyone who came out to enjoy this winter hike.
2/9, Thursday – Club Meeting at Monterrey Mexican Restaurant at 3055 Keith Street in Cleveland at 6:00. We will have dinner, and then start the meeting around 7:00 p.m. All members and guests are invited!
2/18, Saturday – Fort Loudon State Park hike. Leader: Sue Robinson. 3.5 miles, easy/moderate. This hike is taking place at historic Fort Loudoun State Park in Vonore, TN. This will be an easy to moderate 3.5 mile hike (with an optional extra 1/4 mile). The trail is along the perimeter of lake, and has some ups and downs, but is generally easy walking and with nice views of the lake. This is a good dog walk; Sue will probably bring her dog. All dogs must be on a leash. There is a museum/gift shop (and bathrooms!) on the premise for those interested in the history of the Fort. Plan to meet and start hiking at 11:00 a.m. in the parking lot by the museum. You can reach Sue by texting 423-519-9751 (cell), or calling 423-253-6817.
Trip Report: After all the sunny and 70 degree temps earlier in the week, Jack and Margaret Callahan, and hike leader Sue Robinson and her dog Zoe hiked the 3.8 mile trail at Fort Loudoun in the cold rain. Luckily it wasn't a downpour, and the hike was still enjoyable.
2/25, Saturday – Stone Door Hike at Savage Gulf State Natural Area on Big Creek Rim and Laurel Loop Trails. Leader: Jack Callahan. Easy/moderate, 7 miles, 100 feet in elevation gain. This hike will take place in the Savage Gulf State Natural Area on the Big Creek Rim and Laurel Loop Trails. We will have a good view of the Great Stone Door and the gulfs. The trailhead is at the Stone Door Ranger Station at 1183 Stone Door Road, Beersheba Springs TN, and follows Big Creek Rim Trail out and Laurel Trail back to the beginning. We will meet at the Cleveland Home Depot parking lot at 8:30 a.m. to carpool to the trailhead. Drive time to trail head is around 1.5 hours. Pack a lunch. If interested, please contact Jack at 423-284-7885 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trip Report: Seven hikers made the trek to Beersheba Springs and made a loop hike for a total of 7.5 miles. We had clear, crisp weather with great views of the gulf from numerous overlooks. The hike leader walked right past a side trail to the Stone Door but new club member Sandra Woolsey got a great photo of it. After returning to Rangers Station at the trailhead, we dropped our packs and made the short hike to Laurel Falls, which was experiencing a nice volume of water due to rains the night before. On the way home, we stopped at the Swiss Bakery in Tracy City to stock up on baked goods. Attending were members Jack Callahan (hike leader), Margaret Callahan, Randy Morris, Sue Robinson, Sandra Woolsey, Buddy Arnold and guest Kathleen Wynegar. The lovely Laurel Falls is shown below, photo courtesy of Sandra Woolsey. Other photos of this fun trip can be found at https://www.meetup.com/Cherokee-Hiking-Club-of-Southeast-Tennessee/photos/27651737/.
2/16, Thursday – Day Hike to Mount LeConte on the Alum Cave Bluff Trail. Leader: Buddy Arnold. Alum Bluff Trail. About 5.5 miles one way, so 11 miles total. Elevation gain of about 2700 feet, rated very strenuous. Need cold weather gear and microspikes like YakTracs. Bring lunch to eat on top. Meet at Home Depot at 6:00 am. Will plan to stop and eat on way back. Will have to check on road conditions to trailhead Thursday afternoon before a definite go. Some snow forecast Thursday morning but Friday supposed to be sunny. Please contact Buddy at 601-415-3551 (home), 423-339-2621 (cell) or via email at we_arnold@BellSouth.net for more information.
3/9, Thursday – Club Meeting at the Old Fort Restaurant , 1422 25th Street, Cleveland TN, at 6:00 p.m. We will have dinner, and then start the meeting around 7:00 p.m. All members and guests are invited! This restaurant gets good reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook and other review sites. Here is their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/oldfortclevelandtn/ .
3/11, Saturday – Oswald Dome Hike in Reliance TN, Trail #80. Leader: Sue Robinson. 7-8 miles total, 2000 foot elevation gain, moderate/strenuous. Great workout. Meet at Trail head at the Quinn Springs campground parking lot on Highway 30 at 10:00 a.m.; bathrooms at trail head. Text Sue at 423-519-9751 or call her at 423-253-6817.
Trip Report: We had a good turnout of 7 on this hike: 5 members of the club, including Sue Robinson (hike leader), and 2 guests. A few wildflowers just starting to bloom were noted at lower elevation, along with some good views on the way up. We also noted a definite temperature change after we reached the 200 foot elevation line. We ate our lunch at the top, wishing there was hot tea and hot chocolate. Luckily....no rain occurred, as forecasted, but we did have a little snow and sleet. In general, there is one lap of this hike that in my opinion is a good workout. And we met a trail runner on the trail who was running a little more than 6 laps that day!
3/16, Thursday – Indian Boundary Hike. Leader: Ann or Ruth? Miles/rating: ? Meet at the Etowah Food City (841 U.S. 411, Etowah TN) at 9:00 a.m. or at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center (225 Cherohala Skyway, Tellico Plains TN) at 10:00 a.m. If interested, please contact Ann Gray at 479-7511 (home), 240-8863 (cell) or by email at email@example.com.
3/25, Saturday – Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest/Haw Knob Hikes. Leader: Jack Callahan. Meet at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center (225 Cherohala Skyway, Tellico Plains TN) at 9:00 a.m. to carpool. This is two hikes in one. Our first stop will be the hike in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest; this one is a moderate hike of 2 miles through old growth forest. We will eat a picnic lunch there. Our next stop will begin the trip back to Tellico Plains with a hike to the top of the Hooper Bald meadow and back; this one will also be moderate, going 1.5 miles one way, with a 200 feet elevation gain. Please bring a picnic lunch and plenty of water. We will meet at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center (225 Cherohala Skyway, Tellico Plains TN) at 9:00 a.m. to carpool. Contact Jack at 423-284-7885 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trip Report: Ten people made the hike in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, including 4 visitors. One leg of the lower loop is closed due to wildfire damage from last fall, but the open sections gave us access to the giant yellow poplars, which dominate the hike. Some of the large trees are over 20 feet in circumference; with heights up to 130 feet... they are imposing, as can be seen in the picture below. Wildflowers are just beginning to bloom along the trail, and the trilliums are emerging by the hundreds, and will be in full bloom in another week or so. Along the trail we identified several artists’ conch shelf mushrooms. At the end of the hike we had a picnic lunch in the picnic area at the trailhead. After lunch eight of us went on to hike up to Hooper Bald, a short 0.6 mile walk to the upper end of the bald, where there are vistas looking north. The fog had cleared by afternoon and we were able to identify several balds and ridgelines toward the Smokies. Hikers included club members Jack Callahan (hike leader), Margaret and Megan Callahan, Sue and John Robinson, Mike Friedman, and visitors Emma Pembroke, Rhonda Scott, Laurie Minner, and Shirley Wright. More photos are available at https://www.meetup.com/Cherokee-Hiking-Club-of-Southeast-Tennessee/photos/27725489/.
4/1, Saturday – BMT Hike on the BMT, Section 5 (Wilscott Gap to Shallowford Bridge) Leader: Randy Morris. Strenuous, 7.7 miles, around 4100 foot in elevation gain (up & down). Car shuttle needed. Meet at the Hardee’s in Ocoee to carpool (time TBA). Contact Randy at 423-650-0485. We may eat in Blue Ridge GA on the way back. This strenuous hike on Section 5 of the BMT involves approximately 2000 feet of elevation gain as we will go over or near the summits of four named peaks, including Brawley Mountain and Tipton Mountain, before we drop back down in elevation for the last section along the shoaling Toccoa River. The total elevation change for the hike (up and down) is approximately 4,100 feet. We will drive to Shallowford Bridge south of Blue Ridge, GA and set a car shuttle in place and then proceed to the Wilscot Gap trailhead on Highway 60 to begin the hike—going northeast to southwest on BMT section 5. The trail encompasses a wide variety of habitats from dry upland forests to moist bottomland and areas of pine. CANCELLED, May be rescheduled later
4/7, Friday - Old Stone Fort State Park Hike – Hike leader: Ann Gray. Rating: easy. Length: 1.25 miles. We will visit the old Stone Fort State Park and go on a short hike, but first we will eat. The original mill dates back to 1812, but burned in the 1860's and was rebuilt in 1870. It's on the National Register of Historic Places. The 877-acre historic park is located about 2 miles off the interstate, and was a 2000-year old Indian ceremonial site. To carpool, please meet at 9:00 a.m. at the Hardee's on Keith Street in Cleveland, address 2780 Keith Street. We will drive 2 hours to Readyville TN, which is 17 miles off I-24, exit 97, south of Murfreesboro. We will first eat brunch at Goodness Gracious at the Readyville Mill. They serve a wonderful breakfast/brunch/lunch, where you can order off of any of the 3 menus (breakfast, brunch or lunch). Following brunch, the group will head south to the Old Stone Fort State Park, taking Exit 105 to get to the park. There is a small museum there where you can see an 18 minute film and walk an easy loop trail of 1.25 miles along the Duck River with numerous waterfalls. If interested in attending, call Ann Gray at 423-240-8863.
4/8, Saturday – Cloudland Canyon Hike on the Bear Creek Backcountry Trail in Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia. (NOTE: Requires permit at park office.) Leader: Buddy Arnold. Strenuous, 9 miles. Trail can be subject to closing in high water. If trail is closed, we will consider doing the West Rim Loop trail combined with Sitton’s Gulch Trail, which is 9 miles total. This trek is more moderate in difficulty, but rated Strenuous due to the length. Meet at the Cleveland Home Depot (546 Paul Huff Parkway, Cleveland TN) at 8:00 a.m. to carpool.
Hike Report: This was a great hike with six club members participating: Buddy Arnold (hike leader), Randy Morris, Jack Callahan, Megan Callahan, Sue Robinson, and Jerry Peters. The hike started about 10:15 in cool but sunny weather at the main parking area in Cloudland Canyon State Park on the Overlook Trail. The first part of the hike was about ½ mile or so on the Overlook Trail with beautiful views of the canyon and two waterfalls on the opposite side. The large waterfall we viewed from the Overlook Trail had a total drop of about 300 feet. The hike then proceeded to the West Rim Trail which is about 4.5 miles long. There were great views of Trenton and Lookout Valley along the trail. The group stopped at a nice sunny overlook for lunch around noon about half way through this part of the hike with temperatures in the 60’s by then. With completion of the West Rim Trail, the hikers then started down the Waterfalls Trail dropping about 400 feet in elevation via a series of steps and paths to view Cherokee and Hemlock waterfalls in the canyon. These are very impressive waterfalls both falling over 60 feet off sheer cliffs. There were tremendous flows due to previous rain. Below is a picture of the hikers at Cherokee Falls. We then made it to Hemlock Falls, just as impressive as Cherokee Falls. This falls is well named, having a number of nice hemlock trees nearby. We then got on the Sitton’s Gulch Trail and followed it along Bear Creek about 2 miles to where we had left a vehicle to ferry us back to the main part of the park. There were several more waterfalls viewed along the way, not as large as the other two, but still very impressive. There were a number of wildflowers blooming along this portion of the trail, including many Trilliums. The hike ended about 3:00 p.m. with a total distance hiked of about 9 miles. More pictures of this hike can be viewed at https://www.meetup.com/Cherokee-Hiking-Club-of-Southeast-Tennessee/photos/27766906/.
4/8, Saturday – Ocawassee Festival. This event, which has taken place for the last few years, will be held again at the Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park, 404 Spring Creek Road, Delano TN. This event encompasses several activities and is a celebration of spring. Long time club member Leon Bates will lead the Gee Creek Hike at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. See more on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/616409781890191/.
4/12-15, Wednesday-Saturday, Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the GSMNP. Leon Bates will lead 5 hikes for this historic event. See http://www.springwildflowerpilgrimage.org (not updated for 2017 yet as of 1/12). Yes, this event is still on, despite the fires that ravaged Gatlinburg recently. The club’s own wildflower expert Leon Bates will be leading 5 of the wildflower hikes for this historic event. There are many other wonderful experts on the wildlife, plants and history of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park that will be sharing their knowledge as well, so come and see! Registration online has begun; see the website below for the 2017 brochure and to register. http://www.springwildflowerpilgrimage.org.
4/13, Thursday – Club Meeting. We will meet at the Etowah Senior Center at 435 Cooper Street in Etowah TN at 6:00 p.m. Note: this is a change in venue from where it was to be held! Please bring a dish to share. We will eat, have a brief business meeting, and then Amy of Starr Mountain Outfitters (601 Tennessee Avenue, website http://www.starrmountainoutfitters.com ) in Etowah will speak on new hiking and camping gear and take us on a tour of the store. All members and guests are invited. Amy has her own hiking club as well, so she is quite knowledgeable. Directions from Cleveland: head east on U.S. 64 to Ocoee, and turn north on U.S. 411. Go through Benton and cross the Hiwassee River. Continue until you reach Etowah. Go several blocks until you reach the corner of Highway 30 on the left. Turn left there, and go approximately 0.3 miles; then turn left on Lawrence Street. Drive one block and turn right on Cooper Street. The Senior Center is about 2 blocks down on the left.
4/15, Saturday – John Muir Trail Maintenance. This twice-yearly trail maintenance is a responsibility of the CHC. Leaders: Ruth & Clayton Pannell. Easy, 6 miles both ways, or 3 miles with a car shuttle. This covers the maintenance of the JMT from Childers Creek to Big Bend. Maintainers and hikers meet at the Childers Creek parking lot in Reliance TN at 9:00 a.m. Directions: from Highway 411, turn onto Highway 30 at the Hiwassee Corner Market, going toward Reliance. Turn left on Highway 315 as it crosses the Hiwassee River, cross the railroad, and immediately turn right onto Childers Creek Road. Continue a short distance to the Childers Creek parking area on the right. Contact Clayton Pannell at 423-263-9730 (home), 423-435-1848 (cell) or email at email@example.com.
Trip Report: Three club members and a guest worked the JMT (John Muir Trail) from the Childers Creek trail head to the Big Bend end point. They found 1 tree blown down, and a little overgrowth. They picked up trash, lopped, and cleared the blowdown. Clayton also repainted the trail blazes on the Benton MacKaye trail from Big Bend to the Rock Step. Attending were Clayton and Ruth Pannell (hike leaders), Jack Callahan and guest Mary Alton.
4/19-22, Wednesday-Saturday - Polk County Ramp Tramp – Come out to eat some unique food with delicious native ramps (a wild member of the onion family found in this area), hear some bluegrass music and enjoy some fun company. Hopefully some ramps will be available to purchase and take home and cook in your own meals! Great eating. And if you like A&E’s Duck Dynasty, you will get to greet John Godwin from the show. Sponsored by the Polk County Chamber of Commerce, John will be at the Chamber tent on Saturday, April 22nd from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. to meet, greet and sign autographs. See https://www.facebook.com/events/616409781890191/.
4/22, Saturday – Dutch Fields/Settlement Hike in the Ocoee Ranger District. Leader: Jack Callahan & Leon Bates, and possibly a local historian or archeologist (Quentin Bass?). Easy, 2.5 miles, 150 foot elevation gain. Trailhead at Pace Gap on FS RD 221. This area was settled in the early 1830’s and several old home sites are still evident to the skilled eye. Hike will include a discussion on the history of the area, as well as locating remains of structures, out buildings and spring houses, with possible mushroom finds. Meet at the Thunder Rock trailhead parking lot on U.S. 64, adjacent to the Powerhouse #3 at 9:00 a.m. Or meet at the carpool location at the Ocoee Hardee’s on U.S. 411 at 8:30 a.m. For questions or to RSVP, contact Jack at 423-284-7885 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
4/27-5/1, Thursday – Monday. Great Smoky Mountains Spring Backpack/Hike. Leader: Jack Callahan. 22 miles total, moderately strenuous; steep trail sections. This is a 4 day/3 night backpack. Begin hike at Clingman’s Dome parking lot and hike the AT around 4.6 miles to the Silers Bald Shelter for the first night. On Day 2, hike the AT around 5.7 miles to Derick Knob Shelter for Night 2. On Day 3, hike around 6.5 miles to the Spence Field Shelter for Night 3. On Day 4, hike to the trailhead at Cades Cove by way of Bote Mountain and Anthony Creek Trails, approximately 5.2 miles. NOTE: this hike is currently full; it is limited to 6 hikers due to the difficulty in reserving slots at the shelters, and may have to be reduced further if slots are not available. Contact Jack Callahan at email@example.com if you wish to be put on the waiting list.
Trip Report: This hike was a moderately strenuous backpack trip spanning 4 days and 3 nights, traversing the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Clingman’s Dome to Cades Cove. The group encountered several steep rocky sections. 6 hikers attended, including club members Jack Callahan (hike leader), Sue Robinson, Tracy Brooks, Megan Callahan, Rick Harris and guest Jerry Schneider. Pictures can of this event can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/groups/cherokeehikingclub/ .
5/6, Saturday – Grassy Gap Hike. Leader: Jack Callahan. Strenuous, 8 miles, approximately 1200 feet elevation gain and rough trail conditions. This hike covers Wolf Ridge trail #66, Grassy Gap trail #67 and Big Creek trail #68 in a loop in/near the Big Frog wilderness, beginning and ending on FS RD 221. The Grassy Gap Trail was constructed by the CCC and generally follows the 2400 foot contour. This hike will require fording of Camp Branch around 1 mile from the end of the hike. Meet at the Thunder Rock Campground trailhead just downstream of Powerhouse #3 of U.S. Highway 64 at 9:00 a.m. to carpool to the beginning of the hike on FS RD 221.
5/6, Saturday - Old Stone Fort State Park Hike Hike leader: Ann Gray. Rating: easy. Length: 1.25 miles. NOTE: This hike was rescheduled from April. Please note the changed carpool location below. We will visit the old Stone Fort State Park and go on a short hike, but first we will eat. The original mill dates back to 1812, but burned in the 1860's and was rebuilt in 1870. It's on the National Register of Historic Places. The 877-acre historic park is located about 2 miles off the interstate, and was a 2000-year old Indian ceremonial site. To carpool, please meet at 9:00 a.m. at Ann’s house at 2349 Varnell Road in Cleveland. We will drive 2 hours to Readyville TN, which is 17 miles off I-24, exit 97, south of Murfreesboro. We will first eat brunch at Goodness Gracious at the Readyville Mill. They serve a wonderful breakfast/brunch/lunch, where you can order off of any of the 3 menus (breakfast, brunch or lunch). Following brunch, the group will head south to the Old Stone Fort State Park, taking Exit 105 to get to the park. There is a small museum there where you can see an 18 minute film and walk an easy loop trail of 1.25 miles along the Duck River with numerous waterfalls. If interested in attending, call Ann Gray at 423-240-8863. She can give you directions to her house then.
5/10-13, Wednesday-Saturday – Wilderness Wildlife Week. Leon will be leading some hikes for this. Information available here
5/11, Thursday. Monthly Club Meeting, Charleston TN park picnic area, 6 PM. The dinner will be potluck, so please bring a favorite dish. Drinks and dinnerware will be provided. You may also consider bringing a folding chair, as seating at the picnic tables is limited. Guests and visitors are welcome!
5/13 or TBD (pending date), Saturday – Cleveland State Community College trail maintenance. The college will be leading this up, but the Club will assist. Leader: Rebecca Levings. Meet at 9:00 a.m. in the parking lot between the gym and tennis courts on Adkisson Drive, Cleveland TN. Contact Rebecca Levings at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kimberly Harrington at Cleveland State CC at email@example.com. Sorry, no dogs are allowed for this event, because of a state law.
5/15, Monday – Oak Ridge UTK Arboretum Hike. Leader: Jack Callahan and Leon Bates. Easy, 5 miles or less, nature walk. The Arboretum (901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge TN) is a self-guided system of trails with emphasis on tree identification. There are numerous options for easy walking loop trails, which if all walked would total 5 miles. The Arboretum covers 250 acres, with over 2500 native and exotic woody plants, including an extensive holly population. We can decide to pack a picnic lunch or eat at one of the restaurants in Oak Ridge. Web site is http://utarboretum.tennessee.edu. Meet at the Cleveland Home Depot parking lot (546 Paul Huff Parkway, Cleveland TN) at 9:00 to carpool.
5/23, Tuesday – Turtletown Falls Hike. Leaders: Linda Kryssing and Sue Robinson. Moderate, 3.5-4.5 mile loop with 2 waterfalls along the way. Meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Farner Post Office off Highway 68 in Farner TN. Sue is also willing to carpool from Tellico Plains if needed; those wishing to carpool from Cleveland will be responsible for their own carpool. Contact Sue Robinson at 423-519-9751 (text) or 423-253-6817 (voice). Note: a 4-wheel drive vehicle will be needed to drive to the trailhead.
5/27, Saturday - Boyd Gap/Old Copper Road Hike - Hike leader: Clayton Pannell. Rating: easy. Length: 3.5 miles with optional 1 mile hike to the dam and back to the trail. We will hike down the Boyd Gap Trail to Old Copper Road Trail, and optionally hike that trail to the #3 dam (about ½ mile one way). Then we will return to the Boyd Gap Trail and continue our hike to the Whitewater Center. Please meet at the lower parking lot of the Whitewater Center on U.S. Highway 64 at 9:00 a.m. If interested, contact Clayton and Ruth Pannell at 423-263-9730 (home), 423-435-1848 (cell) or email via firstname.lastname@example.org .
5/30, Tuesday – Fort Mountain Wildflower Hike. Leader: Ruth Pannell. Easy, 1 mile plank walkway through blooming flowers. Hike will take place in Fort Mountain State Park near Chattsworth GA. Meet at the Ocoee Hardees on U.S. 411 at 9:00 a.m.
6/2-5, Friday-Monday – AT/Cosby Campground Backpack Hike. Leader: Buddy Arnold. Strenuous, 31 miles total. We will depart Cleveland Friday afternoon, June 2 and camp that night at Cosby Campground, then shuttle to Newfound Gap on Saturday June 3. We will hike the AT from Newfound Gap to Cosby Campground via Low Gap Trail, and take a side trail to the Mount Cammerer fire tower. We will return to Cleveland on Monday, June 5. Note: this hike is limited to 5 campers/hikers. It requires camping permits at AT Shelters and the Cosby Campground for the first night. I plan to get a commercial shuttle from the Cosby Campground to Newfound Gap: cost is $25 per person.
6/3, Saturday – Murphy River Walk. Leader: Mick Friedman. Easy, 3 miles. We will be walking a pleasantly wooded, flat, paved trail along the Hiwassee River in the historic part of downtown Murphy NC. We will afterward eat at one of the local restaurants, possibly the well-known “Shoebooty”. We will meet at the Hardee’s in Ocoee on U.S. 411 at 9:00 a.m. to carpool. For those wanting to meet in Murphy: come to the trailhead by the L&N Railroad depot next to the Hiwassee River on Hiwassee Street at 10:30 a.m.; drive time from Cleveland to Murphy is around 1 hour 20 minutes.
6/8, Thursday – monthly meeting, location TBA.
6/10, Saturday – Laurel Falls Hike. Leader: Sue Robinson. Moderate/strenuous, 6 miles. Meet at the Home Depot parking lot at 546 Paul Huff Parkway, Cleveland TN at 9:00 a.m.
6/17, Saturday – Rhododendron Trail Hike. Leader: Joann Jackson. Easy paved trail, 3 miles round trip, 100 feet maximum elevation gain. Bring a lunch and we will eat at one of the picnic tables at the Whitewater Center. Meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Thunder Rock Trailhead, off U.S. 64 just downstream from the TVA Powerhouse #3 at the entrance to the Thunder Rock campground. We will identify wildflowers and fungi along the trail.
6 20-23, 2017, Tues-Friday - Roan Mountain State Park Campout
Jack Callahan is proposing a 4 day/three night camping/cabin rental event for June 20-23, 2017, at Roan Mountain State Park. The group will arrive on the 20th and depart on the 23rd. This will be a Club event. There will be hikes of various levels of difficulty. This campout will be after the annual Rhododendron Festival that will take place June 16-18, 2017, but typically the flowers are still in bloom, and the crowds are somewhat less. There is a large campground as well as some 30 cabins available for rent in the park. Jack plans to lead a day hike each day, the first from Carvers Gap to Grassy Ridge, about 6 miles round trip, and featuring a 1200 foot elevation gain. This would classify as a strenuous hike, but we would have all day to make the trip, and could take our time. A second day hike would be from the "Barn Shelter" to Little Hump Mountain, about 6 miles and featuring an 1100+ elevation gain, another strenuous hike. But again we would have all day to make the hike and could take lots of rest stops. We would have a leisure lunch on the balds. This would be an opportunity for those club members who do not care to backpack and camp on the trail to see these unique balds and experience the scenic panoramic views from elevations of 5500 to 6200 feet. There are shorter, less strenuous hikes in the area, and of course there are the Rhododendron gardens. Due to the popularity of the area during this time, it is suggested that those who want to join this trip should make reservations as soon as possible. Currently about 1/2 of the campsites and cabins are already reserved. Jack has reserved campsite #70. Persons interested in more information may contact Jack Callahan at 423-284-7885 or email@example.com .
6/25, Sunday – Walls of Jericho Hike. Leader: Rick Harris. Strenuous, weird bridge. See this amazing natural rock formation on the AL/TN border in the Cumberland Plateau.
7/8, Saturday – Canoe/Kayak Float Trip. Leader: Clayton Pannell. We will float on the Hiwassee River from the Gee Creek boat ramp to Patty Bridge. We will meet at the boat ramp in the Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park at 2:00 p.m. to work out a shuttle to Patty Bridge, so we can haul our canoes/kayaks back to Gee Creek. Please make arrangements to bring your own canoe/kayak and bring life jackets, paddles, etc. The water should start coming up around 3:00 p.m., and we will begin our float then. Contact Clayton and Ruth Pannell at 423-263-9730 (home), 423-435-1848 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
7/13, Thursday – no club meeting this month.
7/18, Tuesday – Booth Western Art Museum Tour. Leaders: Jack Callahan and Ann Gray. This museum in Cartersville (501 North Museum Drive, Cartersville GA) has excellent exhibits of western art. We will not hike, except in the museum. See their website at http://boothmuseum.org. After the tour, we will eat at one of the local restaurants in Cartersville, possibly the Grand Old Mansion. The tour costs $10 per head/$8 per head for seniors. Lunch at the Grand Old Mansion runs around $15 per head. Meet at the Home Depot (546 Paul Huff Parkway, Cleveland TN) parking lot at 9:00 a.m.; drive time to Cartersville is approximately 1.5 hours.7/28, Friday – BMT Hike to Ocoee River. Leader: Claire Sullivan. Easy, 3.4 miles. This hike will traverse the Benton MacKaye Trail, Section 11e. It starts on FS RD 221 and continues to the Ocoee River and U.S. Highway 64. The hike is 98% downhill from Forest Service Rd 221 down the backside of the Tanasi Trail area to Thunder Rock Campground. It starts with a walk down an old roadbed and old growth forest. The trail crosses Forest Service Road 45 and goes along a ridgeline, then descends steeply down switchbacks to the Ocoee River and the beautiful Thunder Rock Campground. A restroom is available in the Thunder Rock parking lot. Meet at the Thunder Rock Campground parking lot at 9:30 a.m. A shuttle will be organized from the parking lot. Contact Clare Sullivan at email@example.com or 404-849-0872.
8/12, Saturday – Perseid Meteor Shower. This is not a club event, but just an announcement of this amazing event in case any members want to get together privately and view it. See more at http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/earthskys-meteor-shower-guide .
8/21, Monday – Solar Eclipse Event. Hosted by Rick and Brenda Harris at their home outside of Tellico Plains. The Eclipse will occur about 3:30 p.m. The Harris home is directly under the maximum shadow of the eclipse. If the Harris’s happen to be out of town then, they will tell us where they hide their house key. We will havea meal after viewing the eclipse, so please bring desserts, appetizers and other goodies. Meet at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor’s Center in Tellico Plains to carpool to the Harris home, time TBA. This will be our monthly meeting for August.
9/14, Thursday – club meeting, location TBA.
9/23, Saturday – Narrows Hike. Leader: Ruth Pannell. Easy/moderate, involving one switchback, 4-5 miles round trip. Hike to the Narrows on the Hiwassee from the Appalachia Power House, via the John Muir and Benton MacKaye Trails. The trail we will be taking to and from will be the old trail along the river. Meet at the vacant lot across from the Hiwassee Corner Market, on the corner of U.S. 411 and Highway 30 at 9:00 a.m. to carpool Bring a lunch; we will have lunch at the rocks near the Narrows. Call Ruth at 423-506-9623 or 423-263-9730.
10/12, Thursday – club meeting, location TBA.
10/15-18, Sunday-Wednesday – Great Smoky Mountain Fall Backpack/Hike. Leader: Jack Callahan. Strenuous, steep ascents, approximately 17.2 miles total. We are starting with Sunday night car camping at Big Creek Campground, near Waterville on the far eastern end of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. On Monday (Day 1), we will begin our backpack hike up Big Creek Trail to Walnut Bottom Campsite #37, a total of 5.3 miles. On Day 2, we will hike up Swallow Fork, Mount Sterling Ridge and Baxter Creek Trails to the top of Mount Sterling, and spend the night there at Mount Sterling Campsite #38, for a total of around 5.8 miles. On Day 3, we will hike down Baxter Creek Trail back to our vehicles at the Big Creek Campground, for a total of 6.1 miles. There are no shelters, so camping will be in tents and/or hammocks. This backpack is limited to 6 hikers; as of this date (1/15/2017), there is only 1 slot left.
10/21, Saturday - John Muir Trail Maintenance. This twice-yearly trail maintenance is a responsibility of the CHC. Leaders: Ruth & Clayton Pannell. Easy, 6 miles both ways, or 3 miles with a car shuttle. This covers the maintenance of the JMT from Childers Creek to Big Bend. Maintainers and hikers meet at the Childers Creek parking lot in Reliance TN at 9:00 a.m. Directions: from Highway 411, turn onto Highway 30 at the Hiwassee Corner Market, going toward Reliance. Turn left on Highway 315 as it crosses the Hiwassee River, cross the railroad, and immediately turn right onto Childers Creek Road. Continue a short distance to the Childers Creek parking area on the right. Contact Clayton Pannell at 423-263-9730 (home), 423-435-1848 (cell) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10/22-27, Sunday-Friday – Big South Fork Bandy Creek Campground Group Campout. Leaders: Ruth and Clayton Pannell. This campout will be at group site #1, near Oneida TN. We will be camping for 6 nights. Plan to arrive Sunday 10/22 after 2:00 p.m. and depart on Saturday 10/28 by noon. We will have our own bathhouse, screened-in shelter with lights, electrical outlets, fireplace, area for cooking and large grilling area. There are about 20 camp sites, and in the group camping area no one can set up except members of our group. We will plan our hikes or other excursions, and will buy firewood after we arrive at the campground. You will need to bring your own camping gear and hiking equipment. We usually share meals and take turns preparing breakfasts and suppers. There is a limit of 30 for this event. Note: we attempted to include a full weekend for this date range, but both sites were reserved. However, we learned from campground personnel that if we book a full year ahead we probably would have a better chance to include a weekend. We will try to do that next time. Contact Clayton and Ruth Pannell at 423-263-9730 (home), 423-435-1848 (cell) or by email at email@example.com.
October 31 to November 8 – Grand Canyon Backpack. Leader: James Anderson. Strenuous, 4500 foot elevation gain.
James Anderson is looking for other adventurers to join him and Buddy Arnold in backpacking this section of the exciting Grand Canyon. Within the next few weeks he will need to apply for the backcountry permits in order to make this rim to rim backpacking trip. The space is limited to 6 spots and 2 are already taken by Buddy Arnold and James. The draft details of the trip are as follows:
Tuesday, October 31: fly from Chattanooga to Flagstaff, rent a vehicle, and then stay in hotel at South Rim.
Wednesday Nov 1: catch shuttle to North Rim and then hike to Cottonwood to camp for the night
Thursday Nov 2: hike to Clear Creek trail and camp for the night along the trail.
Friday Nov 3: hike remaining 7 miles or so to Clear Creek campsite.
Saturday Nov 4: stay at Clear Creek and do side hike to waterfall, explore remote area of canyon.
Sunday Nov 5: hike to Bright Angel campground, spend night, and possibly eat dinner at Phantom Ranch canteen.
Monday Nov 6: send most gear out on mules, eat breakfast at canteen, and then hike the South Kaibab trail to South Rim. Pick up gear and drive in to Flagstaff. Spend the night in motel in Flagstaff.
Tuesday Nov 7: day trip to take sky lift to top of Humphrey's Peak, which is about 10 miles outside of Flagstaff. It is 12,633 feet high. Hike down and return to Flagstaff.
Wednesday Nov 8: fly back to Chattanooga. If you want to fly back on Tuesday you can, but some of us want to stay an extra day to do the Humphrey Peak hike since it is the highest peak in the area
Right now the round-trip flights from Chattanooga to Flagstaff are running about $475-500. The shuttle cost per person from the South Rim to the North Rim, which is about a 4.5 hr. trip, is about $100 per person. There will be at least two nights of hotel, to be split typically 2 persons per room. Additionally there is a minor amount for the camping permit, which will probably be in the ballpark of $50 per person, and cost for the equipment bags that go out on the mules, at about $75 per person. Also, if you want a very hearty meal at Phantom Ranch when we camp at Bright Angel, then dinner is anywhere from $28-$45 depending upon whether you want stew or steak. Also a full breakfast before you hike out is about $23.00. We have typically done those and really enjoyed them but it is really up to you. So the total cost is in the neighborhood of around $1000.
If you are interested you need to let James Anderson know as he has to send in the request for the back country permits. If the group can't get the permits for the particular dates mentioned above, then the alternate will be exactly a week later, starting Tuesday the 7th of November and running to Wednesday the 15th.
Also keep in mind that if you say you are going and then change your mind, you would still owe for any portion of the expenses that had to be incurred ahead of time, such as permits or other reservations that are not individual or cannot be changed. You may feel free to email James Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org , or call him at 423-715-8824. Also feel free to contact James if you have any questions; he will need to hear from you by Friday May 12th. The canyon is an awesome place and the group is really looking forward to the scenery of this rim to rim adventure.
This hike covers one rim of the Canyon to the other. 6 is the maximum for this hike but this could be expanded to others if we are able to get the reservations. If you are interested, contact James to get on the waiting list. The trip will probably last about a week.
10/28 (or 11/4), Saturday – Blood Mountain Hike. Leader: Randy Morris. Strenuous (elevation gain), approximately 6 miles. This hike may be cancelled in the case of rain, as the views are too amazing to miss. Meet at the Hardee’s in Ocoee at 7:30 a.m. to carpool. We need to start early, as the Atlanta people quickly fill up the small parking area at the trailhead. Contact Randy at 423-650-0485 by the evening before.
11/9, Thursday – club meeting, location TBA.
11/11, Saturday – Cleveland State Community College trail maintenance. The college will be leading this up, but the Club will assist. Leader: Rebecca Levings. Meet at 9:00 a.m. in the parking lot between the gym and tennis courts on Adkisson Drive, Cleveland TN. Contact Rebecca Levings at email@example.com or Kimberly Harrington at Cleveland State CC at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sorry, no dogs are allowed for this event, because of a state law.
11/25, Saturday – Linda Davis Memorial Greenway Hike. Leader: Randy Morris. Easy, 9.5 miles or less. This hike is on the flat, paved Cleveland Greenway. Hikers can choose to go the whole length or part of the way, since there are parking areas at various points along the trail. We will start near the middle of the Greenway, at the Raider Drive Pavillion. The hike will be cancelled in the case of rain. Contact Randy at 423-650-0485 by the night before.
12/2, Saturday – Foster Falls Hike. Leader: Randy Morris. Moderately strenuous, 6-7 miles. This hike will be on the Cumberland Plateau in Marion County, near Jasper TN. Most of it will be a loop hike, with lovely views of Foster Falls. We will meet at the commuter parking lot beside the BP gas station at Exit 25, off I-75 (second Cleveland exit, coming north or south) at 8:30 a.m., to carpool.
12/9 Saturday – monthly club meeting and annual Christmas Party. Location TBA.
December ? – Loop Hike on Big Frog. Leader: Jack Callahan. Strenuous, 2200 feet elevation gain.