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Benton MacKaye Trail Assn Hike Schedule



January 7, 2018 - Sunday. Annual Planning Meeting.  We will meet at 2 PM at the Family Resource Center, 3680 Michigan Ave Rd NE, Cleveland, TN, hosted by James Anderson.  Led by Jack Callahan.

Everyone interested in planning an event or leading a hike is encouraged to attend. New or interested perspective members are always welcome.  Club will provide soft drinks. Refreshments are not required, but always welcome. James Anderson is our host.
Everyone proposing a hike or event should have the following descriptive information typed or written out on a slip of paper; one per each slip. The information should contain:

Your write-up will be assembled on 3-hole punch paper (Jack will provide paper and glue stick) for notebook assembly.

Jan 19 - Friday - BMTA Hike from TN68 to Coker Creek, then up to Coker Creek Falls - Leader: Ed and Clare Sullivan. 7 miles, moderate. For further information, contact Ed or Clare at or This hike has been moved from the 12th Jan to the 19th Jan due to the 100% chance of rain on the 12th.

Hike Report: Seven members from the Cherokee Hiking Club enjoyed the Benton MacKaye hike on January 19, 2018. They hiked from Coker's Creek cascading waterfalls to the trails junction with Section 14 of the BMT at the long wooden trail bridge, 3 miles. Following lunch upward they went to the gap where the BMT intersects with the Unicoi Mountain Trail/John Muir Trail. Linda Kryssing, Sue Robinson, Mary MacEachron, Rick and Brenda Harris, along with Clare and Ed Sullivan started the hike in 19 degree temps with snow and ice. The warm rays of 42 degrees greeted them after lunch.  It was a gorgeous Winter day to get out and enjoy the beautiful falls and the views of the Hiwassee River and Starr Mountain

Jan 25-28 - SEFTC Winter Hike Week in the Smokies

Winter Hike Week
Jan 25-28, 2018 
Music Road Inn in Pigeon Forge

The Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition will hold their annual Leadership Conference meeting and winter hiking event this coming January 25-28, 2018, at the Music Road Inn in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The hiking component of this event is meant to continue the winter hiking tradition popularized for 25 years by Wilderness Wildlife Week, an annual winter event, now being held in May due to winter scheduling conflicts. The appeal of winter hiking in the Smokies, although not for everyone, has a sizeable following and SEFTC is glad to resurrect this winter hiking opportunity. 

The evenings will include a Friday Leadership Conference gathering at 4:30 which everyone is welcome to attend.  Election of officers will occur at this meeting, too.  It will end no later than 7:00 p.m.  Saturday evening there will be a presentation by a special speaker between 7 and 9 p.m., with doors opening at 6:00.  Both these meetings will be held across the street in the conference center which is part of the Music Road Resort, also a throwback to the Wilderness Wildlife Week events held at the Resort.  Please join us!!!

SEFTC will be offering multiple hikes daily, beginning Thursday, running through Sunday. The hike schedule is below and hike sign up will be handled on-site beginning Wednesday afternoon, Jan 24. Hikers will carpool from the hotel. Experienced hike leaders will accompany each outing. There will be a $35 fee to attend this event.  Details follow. We are expecting this event to sell out and urge participants to make room reservations now.

You may reserve rooms for this event at the Music Road Inn, 303 Henderson Chapel Road, Pigeon Forge, TN at 1-855-790-4646. On-line reservations at our group rates are not available. 

       Day                       Date          2 Queens 

Wednesday-Sunday   Jan 24-28         $75                Sales tax of 9.75% and lodging tax of 2.5% is applicable to all rooms


SEFTC     Winter Hike Week - January, 2018 

The schedule below is subject to change. It is our intent to offer all these hikes. However, we may find it necessary to make changes based on participation level, leader availability and weather. As changes occur and hike leaders are assigned, this schedule will be updated. Hike signups will be conducted on-site at our registration table in the lobby of the Music Road Inn beginning Wednesday Jan 24 at 2pm. Registration table will open throughout the event in the mornings as hikers assemble and again later in the day as hikers return from outings.

As updated Sept 2017 


W1 - 2 PM Short Hike for Early-Bird Arrivals - New park accessibility trail and other short treks near Sugarlands Visitor Center (small waterfall included) - 2.5 to 3.5 mi – E - Leader: George Owen  


T1 - 8:30 AM Schoolhouse Gap and Turkeypen Ridge Trails - 4.5 mi. - shuttle – E 

T2 - 8:30 AM Finley Cane and West Prong Trails to Tremont – 5.5 mi. – shuttle – M – Leader: George Owen

T3 - Schoolhouse Gap & Chestnut Top Trails - 6.4 mi. - shuttle – M 

T4 - 8 AM Trillium Gap Trail to Brushy Mountain and back, including Grotto Falls - 10.0 mi – out and back from end of Cherokee Orchard Loop - D – Leader: Rick & Brenda Harris

T5 - 8 AM Mt Cammerer from Cosby – 12 mi. – D – This is a long and quite difficult hike which might be snowed out. Think twice before signing up - Leader: Jim Plant  


F1 - 8:30 AM Cherokee Orchard trailhead to Rainbow Falls & return - 5.6 mi. – M 

F2 - 8:30 AM Cades Cove Loop Rd. to Abrams Falls and return - 5.0 mi. – M 

F3 - 8 AM Gabes Mountain Trail to Hen Wallow Falls and back – 5.0 mi. – out and back from Cosby - M – Leader: Rick & Brenda Harris

F4 - 8 AM Little River, Huskey Gap, & Sugarland Mtn. trails to Fighting Creek Gap - 7.9 - shuttle – M – Leader: George Owen

F5 - 8:30 AM 8 AM Ramsey Cascades - 8 mi. – out and back from Greenbrier Rd – D


S1 - 9 AM Finley Cane, Bote Mtn. northwest back to Laurel Creek Rd - 4.3 – E 

S2 - 8:30 AM Porters Creek Tr. - 7.2 – out and back - M 

S3 - 8:30 AM Loop from Cherokee Orchard with two waterfalls - Baskins Creek, Trillium Gap, etc. - 7.4 mi - M 

S4 - 8 AM Maddron Bald Trail to Albright Grove and back – 6.8 mi – M – Leaders: Rick & Brenda Harris

S5 - 8:30 AM Injun Creek via Grapeyard Ridge Trail ~5 mi – out and back from Greenbrier Rd – M – Jim Plant

S6 - 8 AM Crooked Arm Ridge, Indian Grave Gap, Rich Mountain Loop out of Cades Cove with side trip to Oliver Cabin – New Hike - 8.7 mi. – D – Leader: George Owen   


U1 - 8:30 AM Historical Hike: Little Greenbrier, Little Briar Gap, Metcalf Bottoms trails - shuttle – E – Leader: George Owen

U2 - 8:30 AM Gatlinburg Trail from Sugarlands VC, shopping in Gatlinburg, eat lunch, and return to Visitor Center - ~5 mi. – E – Leaders: Rick & Brenda Harris

U3 - 8 AM Huskey Gap Trail from U.S. 441, Little River, Cucumber Gap, & Jakes Creek trails to Elkmont - 7.1 mi – D 

U4 - 8 AM Big Creek Trail to Walnut Bottoms and back – 10.6 mi. – D –New hike for 2018. Options for shorter routes for those needing to get down the road. Convenient for those heading out via Cosby and I-40 toward Asheville – Leader: Jim Plant 



Feb 1 - Thursday - Harrison Bay State Park, Bay Point Loop Trail - 4.3 miles easy.  Afterwards we will lunch either in Ooltewah or Cleveland.  To carpool, meet in Cleveland at Bradley Square Mall in front of the former KMART location at the northern end of the Mall at 9 am. Travel time to Harrison Bay SP is about 40 minutes.  Leaders: Ruth and Clayton Pannell CANCELLED, WILL BE RESCHEDULED

Feb 7 - Wednesday -BMTA Hike from Kimsey Highway to Thunder Rock Campground -  5.7 miles, moderate, mostly downhill. Long shuttle. Possibility of doing a “key exchange” if enough sign up. Spectacular hike along mostly a ridge. Kimsey “Highway” is a historic Indian Trail. Contact Hike Leaders Tom Sewell at or by text to 706-669-6406 OR Tim Holby 828-361-4205.

Feb 8, 2018 - Thursday. Monthly Meeting - 6PM - Michaels in Etowah, 862 US 411 in Etowah, Tennessee

Feb 24 - Saturday - Rocky Flats Trail - Leader: Richard & Brenda Harris - 2 or 5 miles, moderate. This hike will go in from the Doublecamp Creek end of this trail in the Citico Wilderness one mile to the old Hollinghead homestead site. There Chris Hollinghead (teacher at Tellico Plains HS and grandson of the original owners) with his father and uncle will tell us of his childhood growning up at this site. Afterwards, those who wish a short hike can return to the cars along Doublecamp Creek Rd. Those who want a longer hike will follow the recently refurbished trail for 5 miles to Warden Fields where we will have our shuttle vehicles. Afterwards, we may go to a restaurant in Tellico Plains for supper. Contact Richard Harris at to sign up or for questions. Meet behind the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico at 9 AM to set up the shuttle and carpooling. Non-members are welcome.

Trip Report: Twenty-four hikers broke into two separate groups to meet Wilderness rules to hike the 5 mile Rocky Flats Trail and to hear about life growing up in the mountains in the early 1900s. Chris Hollinghead and his father Jimmy Hollinghead joined us for the hike. Chris is a teacher at Tellico Plains High School and is a relative of the Hollingheads who lived at Rocky Flats around 1910. His relatives worked for the Babcock Lumber Company and raised their families along Rocky Fork in the two homes whose chimneys are seen along the trail. Chris has written a book Papaw's Tales based on the recorded life stories of his grandfather. Chris spent over an hour enthralling us with his stories. We also visited the stone walls built to keep the livestock enclosed and the "fish cleaning rock" in Rocky Fork where fish were cleaned before family gatherings. One group of hikers then returned to their cars for a short 2 mile in and out hike, and others continued on down the trail, finishing at Warden Fields their 5 mile hike. We had to shuttle folks over the water level cement bridge at Warden Fields because Citico Creek was flowing over the top of the bridge. Along the way at Abbey Branch we ran into a group of ladies hiking from Warden Fields. They turned out to be members of the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club in Knoxville who were on a Saturday hike. After out hike, we returned to the upper trail head to retrieve our cars and the ladies were just coming out of the woods with the intention of hiking the 6 miles back to their cars at Warden Fields. We offered their drivers a ride back to their cars to shorten their hike and keep them from hiking in the dark. They gladly accepted.


Mar 3 - Saturday   Savage Gulf Hike,  Moderate. Hike the Savage Gulf day loop (4.2 miles) with a side hike out and back (0.5 miles) to Savage Gulf Falls. Meet at the Park and Ride in the SW quadrant of exit I-75 and Georgetown Road (Exit 25) in Cleveland adjacent to the service station at 8:15 am to carpool to Savage Gulf Ranger Station to begin hike. Pack a lunch to eat on the trail.  Contact Hike Leader Jack Callahan at or 423-284-7885 to sign up. For last minute updates to current hike schedule, check:, Facebook, or the Cherokee Hiking Club Meetup page.

Trip Report: Three club members made the Savage Gulf day loop(4.2 miles). With past rains the falls were flowing well.  This day there were lots of hikers on the trail, and lots of interesting canines towing them along.   The weather was great for a hike and this is a fairly easy hike, with great views of the gulf.  As the trees begin to leaf out, the views will almost all be gone.  Hikers included Sue Robinson, Margaret Callahan and Jack Callahan.

Mar 8, Thursday - Monthly Meeting - Pot Luck Supper, from 6-9 pm at the Etowah Senior Center, located at 435 Cooper Street, Etowah, Tennessee. After supper and a brief business meeting, for those who are interested, Jack Callahan and Rick Harris will have an open discussion and Q &A about backpacking equipment, with a display of some of the basic equipment.  This will be designed to provide information to possibly hikers who have not yet gotten into backpacking but have an interest. It will also be a prelude to new hikers who might want to join James Anderson for his backpack trip to Bob Bald on May 5-6, if there is sufficient interest.

Mar 10 -Saturday - Unicoi Turnpike Trail from Unicoi Gap to Joe Brown Highway, approximately 2.5 miles, easy. From Unicoi Gap to Joe Brown Highway.  Meet at the Food City Parking Lot in Etowah, TN at 10 am to carpool to Coker Creek Visitor Center at 10:45 am. Trail passes through remains of CCC campground, as well as old gold mine sites, the old Toll Gate site, and several grave sites.  Hike Leaders Ruth and Clayton Pannell. Contact them at or 

Mar 17 - Saturday - St Patty's day Hike at Bald River Falls -moderate with a few short pitches. Dogs on leash welcome. Hikers wear green to celebrate the occasion. Meet at Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains, TN at 10 am to carpool to trailhead. Group will decide to do 5 mile hike with shuttle or up to 10 miles in and out.  Hike leaders Rick and Brenda Harris.  After hike, Harris's are inviting hikers to stop by their home for snacks and green beverages.  For arrangements to spend night either before or after hike, contact the Harris's at We now have plans to have more than just green beer. I plan to try my hand at making a brisket and Brenda may make cabbage and potatoes or something equally green in addition to some green snacks. All are welcome on the hike and to our house afterwards.

Trip Report: Rick & Brenda Harris led 18 human and 2 canine hikers on a hike on this beautiful sunny day on the Bald River Trail. Because of the Bald River Gorge Wilderness limitations, we broke into two groups. One group of 8 with 2 dogs, led by Rick Harris, went in from the Bald River Road trailhead, and Brenda led the group of 10 from the Falls Trailhead. We all met in the middle for a joint lunch, then continued on. A key swap minimized the amount of driving on the forest service roads. From there we returned to the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center to regroup in all our cars, then went to the Harris's home off the Skyway for green snacks, green tea, green beer, potatoes and cabbage, brisket, and Irish Soda Bread. We finished off with green cookies and cake and watched the sun go down. After folks left, the skies turned very dark with lots of lightning. Report of a tornado over Etowah and Coker Creek was to follow, but it apparently never touched the ground. All agreed the hike was a great trip, sandwiched between rain in the morning and very threatening weather in the evening.  Attending were Rick & Brenda Harris with Jake (golden retriever), Mary Alton, Janna Hawkins, Al Johnson, Larry Van Dyke with his dog Cody, Jack, Megan and Margaret Callahan, Sue Robinson, Hoke Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Lewis, Becky Buchberger, Ruth and Clayton Pannell, Sandra Fenton, Perlika and Rajneesh.

Mar 22 -Thursday - Turtletown Falls hike, rated  4.5 miles easy to moderate. Road to trailhead fords a stream.  Meet at Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains at 9:45 AM to carpool to trailhead.  (Alternate location to meet if coming from Tellico Plains area is the Post Office in Farner at 10:45 or the trailhead at 11:00 AM). There is limited parking at trailhead and high clearance vehicle needed for access road to trailhead. Meet at Cherohala Skyway VC in Tellico Plains  at 10 am to carpool.  Hike leader Sue Sue at to make arrangements if meeting at Farner location.

Trip Report: Eleven hikers made the Turtletown falls hike led by Sue Robinson.  We took the upper trail to the falls closest to the Hiwassee River and had lunch in a nice sunny spot.  Then we hiked upstream to the upper falls.  With the past rains the falls were quite a sight.  The total hike was almost 5 miles, and the temperatures started in the forties, but warmed up to the mid fifties by afternoon. It turned into a beautiful sunny day and great hiking weather.  We also had  four very well behaved  dogs with us and it was a great hike.

Mar 26 - Monday  Ijams Nature Center,  2915 Island Home Ave, Knoxville, TN.  See website at for complete overview of the facilities.  Numerous trails to select from but a must do is the trail along the river and its access trail of approximately 4 miles. Rated easy to moderate.   Bring a lunch and we will picnic in the area. Free admission, but the zip line and some other activities have fees. Currently do not plan to do anything but hike. There are approximately 12 miles of trail in the center. Dog friendly on a leash.  Meet at the Home Depot (near the nursery center) in Cleveland on Paul Huff Parkway at 8:30 am to carpool to Knoxville.  Hike Leader Jack Callahan,

Trip Report: Sixteen club members and guests made the approximately 2 mile walk out to the boardwalk along the Tennessee River, and then back past the pond and up to the former owners home site.  The woods are beginning to show their spring colors as the bloodroot, yellow poppy, Virginia bellwort,  and a variety of other wildflowers are up.  We were fortunate to have Leon Bates with us to identify and discuss the wide range of plants we encountered.  After our walk, we had a picnic lunch at the Center picnic area, and then several of us toured the Visitor Center before heading home.

Mar 31 - Saturday - Pocket Wilderness Wildflower/Rocktown Hike at Pigeon Mountain, GA - The walk is an 800 foot boardwalk on the Shirley Miller Wildflower trail.  The boardwalk guides the hikers through the wildflowers while protecting one of the finest areas for wildflowers in Georgia. Following this walk we will have lunch at the Pigeon Mountain Grill. Next we will travel to the two mile Rocktown hike, rated easy. This area contains several acres of large sandstone boulders, making it a very popular area for rock climbers. This is a fee area...the best deal is the one year Senior Sportsman's license for $7, unless you are a resident of Georgia and then the Sportsman's license is free. Must be age 65 or over for the Senior discount.  Meet at the Food City parking lot, 2310 McGrady Drive (off APD 40) at 9 am to carpool.  Hike leader  Ann Gray

Trip Report: Six hikers accompanied Ann Gray, hike leader, on a beautiful spring morning to the Shirley Miller Wildflower boardwalk at Pigeon Mountain near Lafayette, GA.  The boardwalk is named in honor of the wife of former GA governor Zell Miller.  There were many wildflowers in bloom.  Following lunch at the Pigeon Mountain Grill, the group drove to the peak of Pigeon Mountain and hiked the two-mile Rock Town trail.  These 200-million-year-old rock formations make this one of the most diverse rock climbing destinations in the area. Hikers include Jack Callahan, Margaret Callahan, Janna Hawkins, Barbara Morgan, Brenda Kelley,  Letha Kelly, and Ann  Gray


Apr 7 -Saturday - Ocawassee  Festival to be held at Gee Creek campground and day use area in the Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park.  Leon Bates will lead two hikes, one at 10 am and the second at 2 pm to discuss local wildflowers.  The Club will share a booth with BMT to provide information to the public. One subject will be food to take on a backpacking trip, by Jack Callahan. The final park agenda will be shared when the park publishes its schedule.

Trip Report: Weather was cold and misty, but there were a large number of the public in attendance, and many of them joined Leon Bates on his first of several wildflower walks.  There were numerous presentations in the afternoon with a session on mushrooms, wildlife, fly fishing, and trail bikes. The Hiking Club participated in a group presentation with reps from BMTA and SAWS discussing history of the Wilderness Act and maintenance of the trail systems.  Clayton Pannell  gave a presentation on the history and original location of the BMT and Jack Callahan discussed backpacking food information. 

Apr 12 -Thursday - Club Meeting, Pot Luck Supper, to be hosted by Lettie and Jim Whisman's farm , 7640 Gann Road, Hixon, TN 37343.  For those who want to tour Jim's goat farm, plan on arriving around 5pm, and remember to bring a separate pair of shoes if intend to get in the pasture.  We will begin the meal at 6 pm and ou:r business meeting afterwards.

Apr 14 -Saturday - Walls of Jericho, located in Alabama, north of Scottsboro.    Hike Leader Jennifer Schroll Details to follow.

Trip Report: Jennifer Schroll , Mitchell Schroll and Jack Callahan made the hike to the Walls of Jericho following heavy rains in North Alabama.  Stream crossings were aided by foot bridges, with water tugging at the bottom of the log stringers. Due to the large amount of water in the streams we were unable to make the last 100 yards up to the falls. Wildflowers were abundant, with trillium, fire pink, cats paw, and showy orchid along the trail. It was a great hike and the climb out was a great heart starter.

April 20 - Friday - Harrison Bay State Park -

Hike Report: Hikers Carol Guhue, Barbie Willis, Doreen Johnson, ann Gray and Karen Young, led by Clayton and Ruth Pannell.  It was a cool, beautiful day, and great hike, although the short cut did not turn out to be so short, but everyone made it fine. Afterwards we enjoyed a marvelous lunch at the Dockside Restaurant right at the trailhead.

Apr 21 -Saturday - John Muir trail cleanup Hike leaders Clayton Pannell and Jack Callahan  Meet at Childers Creek Trailhead/parking at 9 am for duty assignments.  Bring work gloves, sturdy boots, , water and a lunch. Contact Jack Callahan at 423-284-7885 or if you plan to attend.

Trip Report: Clayton and Ruth Pannell, Megan Callahan,  Jack Callahan and guest Angela Steininger. We preformed minor brushing and cleanup on the three mile section of the trail. The trail is in excellent shape with lots of wildflowers emerging. 

Apr 18 - Wednesday - Warriors Passage Hike - 6.2 miles - moderate - mostly downhill but with a significant creek crossing - We will meet at 9 AM at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center, then carpool to the top of Waucheesi Bald, dropping cars at the trailhead along Old Furnace Road on the way. We will hike down the trail, dropping about 2500 feet to Wildcat Creek, then up to the cars on Old Furnace Road. We will then retrieve our cars from the top of Waucheesi Bald, then eat ice cream at Tellico Beach Drive-In. The crossing over Wildcat Creek will require river shoes or just getting your boots wet. No way to cross without wading across the creek, but this is part of the fun. It is just a short distance from the creek crossing to our cars. The Warriors Passage is a historic Indian Route across the mountains and is currently a Boy Scout National Recreation Trail. Those who complete the hike can earn a patch, even if you are not a Boy Scout. Contact Rick Harris at or 423-253-6358 to sign up in advance. Info at

Trip Report: Thirteen hikers and two dogs joined us on this very historic hike from the top of Waucheesi Bald to Old Furnace Road on the Warriors Passage Trail. The weather could not have been better. Starting from the 360 degree view atop the bald, we headed down the Lookout Tower Rd about a mile to where the trail heads off into the woods down the steep west side slope on easy switchbacks. We passed through a regenerating pine forest following fires which had been set by an arsonist many years ago. We then passed through Mule Pen Gap, then on down to the crossing over Tobe Creek, where we ate lunch. We crossed over Bald River Road then climbed up another burned over area with great views of the surrounding mountains. We then crossed Wildcat Road, then came to Wildcat Creek. Here hikers had to choose crossing on some logs or wading the creek. From there we hiked uphill to Old Furnace Road. We then all ate ice cream at the Tellico Beach Drive In, then retrieved our cars from the top of Waucheesi Bald. During the hike, Rick Harris gave several short talks on the history of the trail, dating back to 1730 when an old Indian route (The Great Warrior Path) which crossed the southern Appalachians was used by soldiers to bring cannon and supplies to build Fort Loudoun. The trail was the primary route over the mountains from Charleston SC to the Great Valley of the Tennessee River until it was rerouted through an easier route for wagons and renamed the Unicoi Turnpike. The Unicoi Turnpike was a primary route of trade into and out of the lands west of the Southern Appalachians. After the Removal Act during the administration of  Andrew Jackson in the 1830s, this route was used to transport the Cherokee Indians out of the TN/NC mountains from their homeland to Oklahoma along the Trail of Tears. The route of the trail was researched by Boy Scouts in the late 1950s then was rebuilt by Scouts as a Scout hiking trail in the early 1960s, and was opened to hikers in 1965. Designated as a National Recreation Trail, the trails was very popular among Scout troops for hikes and backpacks until the arson set fires for the most part destroyed the trail corridor. About 10 years ago, the Tellico Volunteer Trail Crew reopened the trails which is again being used by Scout troops and other hikers. The trail is currently in excellent condition. Your club, the Cherokee Hiking Club, is the primary organization managing the trail for Scouts. Check out the website dedicated to the Warriors Passage at

April 24-28 - Tuesday-Saturday - Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. See website at Leon Bates will be giving several presentations during this event.

Apr 27-29 - Friday, Saturday, Sunday -  Backpacking trip from Carvers Gap to Highway 19E, a distance of 16.5 miles.  Strenuous.  Spend first night on Grassy Ridge, second night in Bradley Gap.  This hike is limited to six and is currently full.  If there is sufficient interest, we can add a second group.  Contact Jack Callahan ( to inquire and put your name on the list for the second group.  Buddy Arnold will lead the second group and we will hike together at times. We will use the shuttle provided by Mountain Harbor Hostel on Hwy 19E.

Trip Report: Eleven  brave backpackers  made the strenuous hike of 18 miles with lows in the mid twenties on Sunday morning, and wind gusts topping 25 MPH as we climbed Big Hump Mountain. Skies were slightly overcast when we arrived by shuttle at Carvers Gap but by 3 pm on Friday the blue skies prevailed. First night was spent on Grassy Ridge with great views of the sunset and Saturday morning sunrise. Hike went from there to the Stan Murry shelter for a morning break, then on to the Barn shelter for lunch break and water resupply.  Leaving the Barn, the real strenuous climb began with the assent to Little Hump Mountain, with over 1000 foot elevation gain. After a brief rest on Little Hump in the very cool wind, we dropped down into Bradley gap to set up camp in a nice, somewhat sheltered wooded area, with lots of sites for all the tents.  The night began fine with little wind and pleasant temps, but during the night the wind picked up and brought freezing breezes. Ice formed in water bottles in hikers tents and breakfast was quick, so we could warm up on the assent to Big Hump, an approximately 700 foot elevation gain. From there it was downhill to Doll flats for a nice rest in the sun. Layers of clothing came off as we continued down in elevation and reached Mountain Harbor B&B around 12:30pm.   Lunch at the B&B included great hamburgers fresh off the grill with sides and a chance to share thoughts of the hike. Everyone did very well on the hike and it was a great group. As always there are thoughts about what equipment to bring on the next backpacking trip and lots of discussion about gear, wildflowers, scenery and reading the fine print about the pre-hike information.   Hikers included Stuart Johnson, Jerry Schneider, Tracy Brooks, Wade Cash, Becky Buchberger, Buddy Arnold, Sue Robinson, Russ Lingerfelt, Al Johnson, Jennifer Schroll  and the slave driver.


May 5 - Saturday - Bob Bald Hike Approximately 7 miles roundtrip, moderate.  If there is sufficient interest, this hike may be modified to an overnight backpacking trip (5-6 May) for new hikers interested in getting into backpacking.  Maximum number of 12 hikers.  Hike Leader James Anderson 423-715-8824. Hikers must contact James to make arrangements.

Trip Report: There were 8 of us that set out from Beech Gap that morning but only 4 made it home that night!!!  So now that I have your attention it was actually by design.  Four were the day hikers and the other four were going to spend the night on Bob's Bald.  The four day hikers were Sue Robinson, Sandra Fenton, Michael Friedman, and Al Johnson.  The four backpackers were Megan Callahan, Jack Callahan, Becky Buchberger, and James Anderson the hike leader.  Temps were in the high 60s when we left Beech Gap to hike the 3.5-4.0 miles to the top of the bald.  The hike up went without a hitch. We ate lunch together on the bald and enjoyed the views although it was fairly overcast and a breeze was blowing.  After enjoying a leisurely lunch the four day hikers headed back down and the four backpackers found a spot to set up camp.  The bald had recently been bush hogged so it was pretty easy to get around.  We set up camp in the edge of the woods.  Jack and Megan setup their hammocks while Becky and I set up our tents.  Around 5 or so we decided it was time for dinner.  We all had dinner and enjoyed sitting around talking for awhile.  Despite some brief episodes of sunshine late in the day the rain started around 8pm.  It rained off and on the entire night.  It was still sprinkling a bit when we broke camp that morning and hiked out.  We did have a decent water supply from the spring nearby so that was a big plus.  We also were awakened during the night by what Jack said was the mating calls of the barred owl.  After some back and forth on the calls, they all decided to fly the coup and head down the mountain. That morning as we were hiking out the temps were in the low 40s and there was a stiff breeze.  According to Jack's portable weather station the wind chill was in the 30s so it was kind of cool on the old fingers for awhile.  We all made it out fine though.  By the time we got to Tellico Plains it was sunny and much warmer.  We are assuming the other four made it out ok as well since we did not hear of any lost hikers on the news and their cars were gone when we got back to the trailhead

May 8-12 - Tuesday-Saturday - Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge.  Numerous hikes and events. Leon Bates will be giving several lectures on wildflowers.  See for details.

May 10 - Thursday - Club Meeting - 5 pm to 8 pm, Pot luck at Charleston Park pavilion, Charleston TN,  6 pm. Bring a dish and enjoy a program on geology and rock identification by Jennifer Schroll.

Meeting Report: Jennifer Schroll gave a great presentation on rock and mineral identification and shared her quite extensive collection...and she left with her gold samples intact.

May 12 - Saturday -  Beech Gap to Warden Fields Approximately 12 miles, difficult, with several stream crossings. Begin at Beech Gap and follow Fodderstack Trail then down either North Fork or South Fork Citico Creek Trails depending on water levels in streams. Another option is to utilize Pine Ridge Trail if water is too high. Meet at 7 am at the Tellico Plains Visitor Center in Tellico Plains TN to car pool to Beech Gap, or meet at Beech Gap at 8 am. Supper in Tellico Plains afterward.  Hike Leader Rick Harris.

Event Report: Three hikers (Rick & Brenda Harris, Sue Robinson) made this beautiful hike of 11 miles from Beech Gap at the State Line on the Cherohala Skyway on the BMT to Cold Springs Gap, then down the South Fork Citico Creek Trail to its junction with the North Fork at Warden Fields. The trail was in surprisingly good condition, thanks to the SAWS crews last summer. There were only a handful of downed trees, none hard to get around. The start of the hike was along the state line crest of the mountains for two miles on the BMT with great views into the surrounding mountains. The hike then took us very steeply down the South Fork Trail for the first mile or so, till we reached a logging rail line trail which was much more gentle. We followed this for several miles along the upper stretches of the South Fork. The trail then trended higher and higher above the creek along the old rail line course. Then again the trail went steeply downhill to the creek level. When we reached the creek, we ate lunch in a beautiful campsite. We then hiked out along the edge of the creek with several waterfalls and with a couple of creek crossings which were not very deep due to the low water levels. We were able to bypass two other creek crossings on a bypass trail with several blow downs. We finally reached Warden Fields and the trail terminus. Warden Fields was the location of a logging camp town known as Jeffrey. The area then became the site of a forest warden station (hence its name), and is now a large camping area and the junction for several great hiking trails into the Citico Wilderness. The campground is right on the edge of Citico Creek complete with rope swings. The general feeling is that the hike was much easier than expected and very scenic. We wish more had come on the hike. Sorry we labeled the hike as such a difficult hike.

May 19 -  Saturday - Big Frog Loop Hike  approximately 11 miles, rated strenuous due to distance and elevation gain.  Hike begins on Lick Log trailhead on FS 221, following Lick Log to top of Big Frog Mountain, then down Big Frog trail to Fork Ridge trail to Rough Creek trail and then back to Lick log and point of beginning.  Meet at  Thunderock trailhead adjacent to Thunderock campground just below TVA Powerhouse #3 at 8 am to carpool to trailhead. Hike Leader  Jack Callahan. This hike was cancelled due to inclement will be rescheduled in the fall to take advantage of fall color and cooler weather.

May 21-25 - Monday-Friday - Roan Mountain State Park Campout -Leader: Jack Callahan     Rating : varies    Length: several hikes of different lengths.
We will try to get sites in Loop A this year, as it is on much more level ground. This loop fills up quickly so if you are interested in this location you should consider making reservations.  There are also numerous sites in the other loops and cabins available.  We will make several day hikes, including a strenuous hike to Little Hump Mountain, a drive to local waterfalls, and a moderately strenuous hike to Grassy Ridge.  Hikes will be all day events and require packing a lunch and sufficient water for the day. Jack has rented a shelter for Monday and Thursday for us to meet and have supper and discuss hikes and other events. Also planned is a day trip on Thursday to Damascus VA to rent bikes and coast down the Virginia Creeper Trail, approximately 18 miles. Bike rental and shuttle to the top of the mountain is approximately $25.  If you have any questions, contact  Jack Callahan at 423-284-7885 or

Trip Report: Monday was an assembly day and we had meals in one of the park shelters and discussed the proposed events for the rest of the week. Tuesday we headed up to the Gardens, and found out they did not open the gates till the upcoming weekend....that eliminated the proposed hike to the Roan Mountain shelter. Plan B we took off to enjoy the Elk river falls, and it was closed due to a drowning and recovery in progress.  Plan C several of us headed to Banner Elk and had a great lunch then went to the original Mast General Store which is a trip worth doing. Wednesday the majority of the group went to Carvers Gap and hiked to Round and Jane Bald, where a couple of hikers chose to stop, and the rest went on to Grassy Ridge and had lunch and lounged in the sun for about an hour.  Following the hike, several of us enjoyed a great pizza place in Roan Mountain, and a great campfire with wood supplied by Boyd. Thursday nine of us took off for Damascus, VA to meet our scheduled shuttle and bike rental for our ride on the Virginia Creeper trail.  A flat tire caused us to reschedule our departure to 1 pm, and up the mountain we went  to Whitetop to start our descent.   Along the trail there were several accidents with the most consequential being one rider cracking three ribs.  Ratings afterwards ranged from fantastic to never again! For the late arrivers back in camp, the group had prepared a wonderful spread of food, and had a great fire underway.  Jack much appreciated the donations to cover the shelter cost. Campers included Boyd and Martha Firestone, Clayton and Ruth Pannell, Sue and John Robinson, Carol and Carroll Guhne, Margaret and Jack Callahan, Larry Van Dyke, Joanne Jackson, and Margaret Garland. Not everyone would agree with this......but the raccoons had a great time after had to have been there.....


Jun 2 -  Saturday - BMT Mud Gap to Pheasant FieldsApproximately 8 miles, moderately strenuous. Hike will cover a section of the BMT, with a stopover on Whigg Meadow. Will require a somewhat lengthy shuttle. Meet at Tellico Plains Visitor Center in Tellico Plains TN at 8:30 am to determine carpool needs. Possible ice cream at Tellico Beach afterwards. Hike Leader Jack Callahan  contact Jack at 423-284-7885 or if you plan to attend.

Trip report: With the gracious help of Brenda Harris, who met us at Pheasant Fields and shuttled our group to Mud Gap, saving us an hour shuttle on the end of hike, Six hikers made the event. Due to recent rains, every seep along the trail was running high, but weather was great.  Hike covered a section of the BMT, with a stopover on Whigg Meadow for lunch. From there it was all downhill, for a total of 9.5 miles. Hikers included Rick Harris, Sue Robinson, Randy Morris, Mike Friedman, Megan Callahan and Jack Callahan.  

Jun 7-11 -  Thursday - Monday Camping trip to Mt Pisgah campground and lodge, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 20 miles south of Ashville,  NC. Numerous day hikes including Graveyard Fields, 2.3 miles, Shinning Rock Wilderness 8.4 miles with some shorter options, and Mt Pisgah trail, 3.6 miles. Difficulty ratings vary depending upon individual trails selected.   Most are moderate due to elevation gain.  Meet at Mt Pisgah campground on the afternoon of June 7th. The campground and Inn fill quickly so reservations should be made ASAP. Reservations may be made up to 6 months in advance. The campground includes sites for tent as well as RV site, with hot water showers. No water, sewer or power hookups available. Rates are $20 per night, while rooms in the inn are in the $170 per night range.  Contact Buddy Arnold at 601-415-3551 or

Trip Report: Buddy Arnold, Larry Van Dyke and Sandra Fenton  and guests Bruce Lee and Jill Arnold. They enjoyed beautiful weather and hiked numerous trails in and around Mt Pisgah. With elevations over 5000 feet the temperatures were cool in the morning and usually nice in the mid afternoon. Besides campground cooking the group enjoyed a meal at the Pisgah Inn restaurant, with great views.

Jun 14 - Thursday - Club Meeting - Pot Luck supper at TVA Sugar Loaf Picnic Area immediately downstream from Dam #1 on US 64.  Meet at 6 pm for Supper and a brief business meeting afterwards.

Jun 15 -  Friday - Scenic Spur to Rainbow Falls in the Ocoee/Reliance area. Distance 3.2 miles, moderate with two stream crossings which can be crossed with rock hoping unless recent rains, then hiking poles are recommended . Meet at the Clemmer Trailhead parking Lot at 9:30 am Hike leader Clare Sullivan, 404-847-0872 or

Trip Report: Six hikers made the 3 mile round trip to the falls, with two fairly easy stream crossings and a few short steep sections of trail. The falls had a nice quantity of water and it is really a nice area to have lunch and enjoy the scenery.  Ed Sullivan did his usual great job of discussing points of interest along the trail.  

Jun 23 -  Saturday - Piney Falls hike in Grandview TN - Approximately three miles, fairly easy trail.  Hike Leader Sue Robinson. Carpool details to be arranged based on where hikers are coming from.  Contact Sue at 423-519-9751 or if you are interested in making this hike to get details. 

Trip Report: 10 people attended this 3 mile hike.  Somehow with all the rain this spring, water levels were low. Not a large flow in the two waterfalls.  A few blackberries and ripe dewberries were sampled along the way.  Large rock formations and interesting vegetation.  Five of us took the short rock climb up to top of waterfall for  nice view.  Overall, good hike with good people and good weather. Total hike was just under 3.5 miles, and we finished just a few minutes ahead of a severe rain/wind event that would not have been fun in the woods. Sue Robinson had done a prehike a few days before and was an excellent group leader.


Jul 12 - Thursday - Club Meeting   6pm Pot luck supper at the Etowah Senior Center located at 435 Copper Street, Etowah, Tennessee. 

Jul 15 - Sunday -  Hiwassee River Float Trip  Float from Gee Creek put in to Patty Bridge. Everyone responsible for their own water craft, safety equipment, and snacks. Each person must have and wear a lifejacket.  Meet at the Gee Creek Campground (on Hiwassee River upstream from Highway 411 bridge approximately 0.75 miles) at 2 pm, and we will organize shuttles and catch the rising water when the turbines begin releasing.  Event organizer  Clayton and Ruth Pannell, 423-263-9730 or 423-435-1848, or

Trip Report: Float from Gee Creek put in to Patty Bridge. Sue Robinson handled the float and organized the shuttle.  There were 10 participants who joined us for the float.  There was only one turbine in use so it was a lazy trip, about 4 hours.  The river was well used this afternoon and there were large groups of tubers and others drifting along. A slightly overcast day held the heat down and everyone had a great time.    

Jul 19-22 -Thursday-Sunday -  Four day three night backpacking trip from Newfound Gap to Cosby Campground in the Smokies.  Trails- AT and Snake Den, approximately 25 miles, strenuous.  day one, 2.7 miles to Icewater Springs Shelter, day two 7.7 miles to Pecks Corner shelter, day three 5.3 miles to Tricorner Knob shelter, day four 9.0 miles to Cosby Campground.  Special considerations - need to coordinate shuttle or arrange for commercial shuttle from Cosby to Newfound Gap.  May want to camp in Cosby Campground on either end of the hike. Limit to 4 or 5 hikers due to difficulty to get permits for shelters.  Shelters must be used, no tent camping.  Hike Leader  Buddy Arnold  601-415-3551 or  Must contact Buddy at least two months prior to hike date to begin to make arrangements for shuttle, reservations, etc.  Great way to get a portion of the AT if you are a section hiker.  Some of the best views in the Smokies, especially from Charlie's Bunion, and Eagle Rock. To Be Rescheduled

Jul 23 - Monday - Tour of the VW assembly plant in Chattanooga.  Tours last approximately 1.5 hours, beginning at 11:30 am.  Restrictions apply- no cell phones, no cameras, no flip flops, no heels, no open toed shoes, no shorts, no skirts, no dresses.  Long  pants and close toed shoes must be worn. Maximum in group cannot exceed 20. Must provide first and last names of attendees 48 hours prior tour. Meet at Home Depot parking lot at 10 am on Paul Puff Parkway in Cleveland to carpool. Event Leader  Jack Callahan 423-284-7885 or  Must contact Jack at least one week prior to event date to get on the attendee list. After the tour we will eat lunch near the plant or on the way back to Cleveland. This event has been canceled till further notice due to current modifications being done to the assembly line.  As soon as the tours are resumed, Jack Callahan will reschedule.



Aug 7 - Tuesday - Tellus Science Museum, Cartersville, GA This a non-hiking hot weather event.  We will visit the Tellus Museum, a Smithsonian Institute  affiliate natural history and science museum. Following the museum, we will have a buffet lunch at Grand Oaks Mansion, in downtown Cartersville.  Museum cost is $13.95 for seniors and $15.95 for non-seniors. Buffet lunch is $15 per person, which includes buffet, drinks and desert, in a circa 1901 Victorian style mansion.  Event Leader  Ann Gray  Meet in the Food City parking lot at 2310 McGrady Drive (off APD 40) at 8:30 am.  Attendees must contact Ann at least one month in advance to make reservations for the buffet.
No Club Meeting Scheduled this month.

Trip report: This was a non-hiking hot weather event.  We visited the Tellus Museum, a Smithsonian Institute  affiliate natural history and science museum. Following the museum, we had a buffet lunch at Grand Oaks Mansion, a circa 1901 Victorian style mansion. , in downtown Cartersville. Event Leader  Ann Gray did her always outstanding job of planning and coordinating the trip and meal.

Aug 11 - Saturday - Hiwassee River float trip - Gee Creek Campground  put In to Patty Bridge  Meet at Gee Creek put in at 2:00 pm adjacent to the group camping area and we will organize shuttle.  Everyone is responsible for their own watercraft, and necessary equipment.  Life preservers must be worn.  Bring your own water and snacks.  Event Leader  Clayton and Ruth Pannell,, 423-263-9730

Trip Report: Event Leader  Clayton and Ruth Pannell were joined by Leon Bates and Jim Passmore and had quite an experience.  They will go into detail (perhaps) at the upcoming club meeting

Aug 17-26 - Friday-Sunday -  Backpacking trip in the Weminuche Wilderness Area in southern Colorado.  Trip will involve riding the Durango/Silverton train to Elk Creek trailhead, hiking a 38.5 mile loop with approximately 8000 foot elevation gain, six days and five nights. Two passes will involve hiking through gaps with elevations of around 12500 foot elevation. Hike will conclude with train ride from Needleton trailhead back to Durango. Actual hike will begin on August 19 and conclude on August 24, with cushion time on each end for acclimation to elevation and one day down time in Durango.  Hike Leader Jack Callahan   Note: This hike is currently full..if you are interested in more detail and to be put on the waiting list, contact Jack at

Trip Report: Trip involved a shuttle from Durango, Colorado to the Molas Lake trailhead, hiking 40.5 miles with a total of 5290 foot elevation gain, six days and five nights. Two passes involved hiking across the Continental divide with elevations of 12600 and 12860 foot respectively. Due to extra mileage caused by train not carrying backpackers, the section of hike into Chicago Basin was dropped. Wildlife spotted included moose, mule deer, white tailed deer, marmots, picas, and lots of squirrels and ground squirrels. All of one day was spent hiking in rain gear. Hike concluded with a shuttle from Vallecito Creek Campground back to Durango. Hikers included Sue Robinson, Rick Harris, Becky and Karl Buchberger, Jerry Schneider, Kevin Sigward, Al Johnson, Otis Pannell, James Anderson, Megan Callahan and hike Leader Jack Callahan 


Sept 7 - Friday - Murphy River Walk, Murphy, NC  Easy 3 mile round trip, well graded, some paved, and some boardwalk sections of the trail, with portions along the Hiwassee and Valley rivers. Walk will include a discussion of "date nails" at the Historic L&N railroad bridge across the Valley River. After the walk we will eat at "Shoebooty" restaurant in downtown Murphy.  Meet behind the Ocoee  Hardees on US 411 at 9 am to carpool to Murphy. For those nearer to Murphy, plan on meeting at 10:30am at the trailhead parking lot adjacent to the old L&N railroad depot on Hiwassee Street in Murphy on the left just after you cross the Hiwassee river bridge.  Hike Leader Jack Callahan

Trip Report: Eleven members and guests made the easy 3 mile round trip, on the well graded, some paved, and some boardwalk sections of the trail, with portions along the Hiwassee and Valley rivers. Jack Callahan led a short discussion of "date nails" at the Historic L&N railroad bridge across the Valley River, with examples he had collected through the years. After the walk we ate at "Shoe Booties" Cafe in downtown Murphy.

Sept 13 - Thursday - Club Meeting - Pot Luck supper to be held at Pat and Leon Bates' home, 285 Laurelwood Lane,  Benton, TN. Meet a few minutes before 6 pm so we can begin and after supper and a brief business meeting we will enjoy a slide presentation by Rick Harris, et al, on the Weminuche Wilderness backpacking trip.  Those who made the trip are encouraged to join in as Rick goes through the slides and share their experiences of the trip.

Mtg Report: After supper and a brief business meeting we enjoyed a lively account of the Gee Creek to Patty Bridge float trip and beyond by Jim Passmore.  Jim is such a great speaker. Afterwards, Rich Harris gave a great slide presentation on the Weminuche Wilderness backpacking trip. Rick included a day by day map of the hike and had some really good slides of the beautiful scenery.  Eleven club members made the 40.5 mile hike, with almost 5300 feet of elevation gain.  The highest point was on the continental divide on day two, at 12,860 feet. Everyone made it out and back to Colorado with no mishaps or injuries.

Sept 14-15 - Friday-Saturday -  Hike to Len Foote Inn and spend Friday night at the Inn.  Cost for single occupancy is $122, and double occupancy is $175.  Includes supper and breakfast. Hike is approximately 5 miles each way, moderate.  See for more information.  The signup date for this event was January 13th, so if you are still interested, you may check with the Inn to see if any vacancies remain. Each participant is responsible for their own reservations.  Plan to meet at the parking lot behind the Amicalola Lodge at 12 noon on Friday, September 14th to begin hike. Hike leader Ruth Pannell, 423-263-9730.

Trip Report: Fourteen club members and guests made the five mile hike in to the lodge and after hot showers enjoyed comradery at the supper table and afterwards in the game room for several hours.  Overnight we were treated to the calls of several barred owls, and  at daybreak, watched the sun rise and a great view of the International Space Station, with copious cups of coffee.  After a good breakfast we began the hike out.  About halfway back to the parking lot club member Stuart Johnson met several of us and we hiked  out together.  Stuart is the maintainer for the first 1.2 miles of the trail.


Oct 6 -Saturday  Hike from Clingman's Dome parking lot to Andrews Bald and return - Approximately 3.6 miles round trip, moderately strenuous. Meet at the parking lot at Clingman's Dome at 10 am, bring lunch and sufficient water for the trip.   Hike Leader Ruth Pannell, 423-263-9730,  Carpooling options and possible overnight camping at Smokemont Campground details to be developed as we get closer to the event. TO BE RESCHEDULED

Oct 11 -  Thursday - Club Meeting - Hosted by Ann and Bill Gray at their home, 2349 Varnell Road, Cleveland, TN. This is the annual pizza night, covered by the club. Meeting to begin at 6 pm. 

Hosted by Ann and Bill Gray at their home, 2349 Varnell Road, Cleveland, TN. We had a great night with lots of pizza and Ann's great deserts an the celebration of Carol Guhne's birthday, followed by a nice fire in Bill's outdoor fire pit.   The officers for next year are as follows and will be inducted at the Christmas Party:
President and Newsletter.........Jack N. Callahan
Vice President..........................Leon Bates
Secretary.................................Sue Robinson
Treasurer.................................Randy Morris
Publicist...................................Ann Gray
Webmaster..............................Rick Harris                                                                               

Oct 13 -Saturday  John Muir trail cleanup.  Approximately 3 miles.  Meet at Childers Creek parking lot trailhead  at 9 am.  Bring water ,lunch, cutting tools and safety gear.  Hike leaders Clayton Pannell and Jack Callahan. THIS MAY BE RESCHEDULED, LOOK FOR AN EMAIL OR FACEBOOK POST TO FIND OUT. THE BMTA WORK TRIP THIS PAST MONTH WAS ON OUR SECTION, SO THERE MAY BE NO WORK TO DO

Oct 21-26 -  Sunday-Friday  - Club campout at Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area.  Club has reserved the Group camping area A for the week, which includes the shelter, and bathrooms with hot showers. camping spaces do not have electricity or water hookups.  Cost per person will be determined by days of attendance, typically around $10 per person. .   Events will include numerous day hikes of various lengths and difficulty.  Evenings in shelter  after the meals will include cards, and slide show presentations from earlier hikes and events by various members.  And  lots of firewood burned.   Event Leader  Clayton and Ruth Pannell,

Trip Report: Another great campout at the Group Camping area "E-1" with great meals and a roaring fire in the fireplace that never went out. Day hikes included the Rim Hike, Double Arch Hike, Honey Creek hike, and a trip to Pall Mall to visit Sgt York's home place. Some made day hikes around the Picket State Park area as well. Weather was beautiful till Thursday evening when the rain finally showed up. Nine participants closed out the week by going to the German restaurant just west of the park boundary on Thursday evening.  Thanks to everyone who prepared food and snacks, and to Otis for his great job of locating and transporting the firewood.  

Oct 27 -Saturday Cherohala Skyway Festival in Tellico Plains, TN - The Benton MacKaye Trail Association had an interactive booth at the very successful Cherohala Skyway Festival on Saturday, October 27. The festival was very well attended in spite of the cold gloomy weather. The festival consisted of numerous craft and food booths, live bluegrass and folk music, and several interactive booths such as the crosscut sawing at our booth, and corn grinding, bee keeping, and hay rides.  The BMTA booth was very popular, especially with dozens of kids who wanted to try their hand with the crosscut saw. Many grownup "kids" also gave it a try. Even Smokey the Bear pulled the crosscut, since he knows how vital trails are to the forest. Many folks learned about the BMT and what it takes to maintain the trails and several folks indicated interest in membership, hikes, and trail maintenance. In addition to handing out information on the BMTA, we also put in plugs for the Cherokee Hiking Club and handed out CHC and BMTA cards with how to access the clubs' websites, Facebook pages, and Meetup page. Thanks to Rick and Brenda Harris, Clare and Ed Sullivan, Jeff DePaola and 
Ben Yaun for helping staff the booth. Rick, Brenda, Clare and Ed represented both the BMTA and the CHC. Jeff and Ben represented the BMTA. The festival was a big success overall and we undoubtedly will make a return appearance next year, and the next, and next.


Nov 8 - Thursday - Club Meeting  Wesley Memorial Church, Etowah , Tennessee, Located at 923 Ohio Ave, Etowah TN 37331.  Meeting will begin at 6 pm with a pot luck supper, followed by a brief business meeting and then a 20 to 30 minute presentation by Mike Friedman. Mike will give us a description of his trip to Nepal, with slides of the area.

Nov 24 - Saturday - Linda Davis Memorial Greenway Hike, Cleveland, TN.  Come join us for the annual after Thanksgiving stroll on the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway! We will hike approximately 6-7 miles along the northern part of the greenway and the newly completed Casteel Connector. We will meet at the Raider Drive Pavilion and then head north to Tinsley Park. We will then take the Casteel Connector which borders Fillauer Branch to the North Ocoee Street terminus. We will then head back to Tinsley and up to Mohawk Drive before retracing our steps back to the Pavilion. Hikers can choose to go the whole length or part of the way, since there are parking areas at various points along the trail. This hike is named in honor of long-time hike leader and CHC member Linda Davis and is traditionally held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. For more information on the Greenway you may visit We will begin at 9:00 a.m. from the Raider Drive trailhead - meeting under the pavilion and utilizing the parking spaces at this trailhead. Please call Randy Morris at 423-650- 0485 no later than 8 p.m. Friday, November 23 if you have any questions. The hike will be cancelled in the event of rain.Nov 30 - Tuesday - Tour of Caney Creek Roadless Settlement across Ocoee River from US64  Details to be determined

Hike Report: Three “regular attendees” of this hike met at the Raider Drive pavilion on a cloudy, cool morning to stroll the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway on the Saturday after Thanksgiving as is customary for this “hike” named in honor of long-time CHC member Linda Davis who left us way too early some years back. We proceeded north on the greenway to Tinsley Park where we took the approximately 1-mile Casteel Connector along Fillauer Branch to the North Ocoee Street terminus. We then retraced our path back to Tinsley where two of us continued on to the Mohawk Drive northernmost terminus before returning to our vehicles. All of us enjoyed walking the Casteel Connector which is a fine addition to the greenway network. We encountered few walkers out on the cool morning, but did spot a large Blue Heron on the Casteel Connector and admired its graceful takeoff from the creek when spooked. Total mileage was approximately 6.5 miles. Attendees were Carol Guhne, Jennifer Schroll and hike leader Randy Morris. For more information on the Greenway you may visit

November 27 - Tuesday  - Hike to Big Frog - Jack Callahan, 10 miles moderately strenuous - Due to the refusal of TVA to allow the club to cross property at Powerhouse No 2, the hike to Caney Creek settlement has been cancelled.  In its place the day hike to Big Frog will be done. We will meet at the Thunderrock trailhead parking just downstream from No 3 powerhouse on the Ocoee River across from US 64, at 8 am, and carpool to the beginning of the hike.  This hike is about 10 miles long and will involve a steady climb of about 2300 ft, making it a moderately strenuous hike.  Bring lunch, water, and a headlamp, as it is getting dark much earlier now.  In the case of rain and fog, the hike will be cancelled.  The hike date is November 27th, a Tuesday.  Contact Jack Callahan at or 423-284-7885 if you plan to attend this hike.

Trip Report: Tour of Caney Creek Roadless Settlement  across Ocoee River from US 64 at the very upper end of Parksville lake.  This event was cancelled for two reasons: TVA chose not to allow the club to cross their property at Powerhouse No. 2, and the restrictions on moterized watercraft on the Ocoee River downstream from the kayak/canoe putin at Big Creek,  which eliminated access by pontoon boat.  At the upcoming club planning meeting Hike leader Jack Callahan will add a hike to the historic site by way of Hogback ridge trail No. 74, about an 8 mile round trip.  In lue of this event on the 27th,  Jack led a day hike up to the top of Big Frog Mountain and back, an 11.5 mile round trip, with an elevation gain of 2400 feet. The tempertures never got above freezing, but the hikers were treated with a brilliant display of rime frost above 3800 foot and the skies turned a bright blue after a cloudy start.  Many individuals see the white top on Big Frog on winter days from a distance, but it is quite something else up close.  Every twig, limb and blade of grass was highlighted with up to an inch or more of delicate frost which formed on the downwind side giving the illusion that there is snow on the mountain top.  Individuals making the hike included Megan Callahan, Sue Robinson, Judy Price, Al Johnson, James Anderson, Zoe, and Jack Callahan.  


Dec  7, Fridayt - Christmas by Candlelight - Christmas by Candlelight at the Vann House, Chatsworth, GA, Friday, December 7, 2018, 5:00 p.m. This is a historical outing instead of a hiking event.  In 1805, Cherokee James Vann opened his new brick mansion to the Moravian missionaries to hold one of the first Christmas celebrations in the Cherokee Nation.  We will also tour the visitor center and watch a film before we tour one of America's best preserved Cherokee Indian homes. We will meet at the Fresh N' Low Grocery just off ADP 40/Spring Pace Road at 4:00 p.m.  We will then drive 27 miles straight out Spring Place to the Vann House at 82 Highway 225 N at for this annual Christmas by Candlelight. Admission is $5.50 senior or $6.50 regular.   In case of rain, this will be canceled.  Contact Ann Gray, 240-8863.

Trip report: Christmas By Candlelight, December 7, 2018, led by Ann Gray. The group toured the Chief Vann house, one of the best preserved Cherokee Indian homes. Members included Letha Kelley, Ed and Clare Sullivan, Carol and Carroll Guhne, Barbie Willis, Leon and Pat Bates, and Ann Gray. This 1804 plantation home was built by James Vann, Cherokee Indian leader, and was the most elegant in the Cherokee Nation. Following the tour, everyone enjoyed supper at Angela's on APD 40.

Dec 9, Sunday -  CLUB CHRISTMAS PARTY AT JAMES AND PHYLIS ANDERSON'S HOME.  Begin at 3 pm with a catered meal followed by Unwashed Santa gift exchange and induction of club officers. Begin at 3 pm with a catered meal at 4:30 pm, followed by  induction of club officers by Jennifer Schroll, and  Unwashed Santa gift exchange ($10 gift amount), overseen by Gail and Edmond Gray.  Weather permitting, James will have a fire going in his outdoor fire ring.  Also, DUES ARE DUE,  so if you have not paid already please bring a check for $15 per family, and include $10 for each individual ($15 per non-member)  for the Christmas Dinner.  Checks are much preferred, as it makes it much easier on Randy.  For those who mail their checks, attention them to : Randy Morris, 198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 37307.     
New  officers for 2019 are:  
President and Newsletter.........Jack N. Callahan
Vice President..........................Leon Bates
Secretary.................................Sue Robinson
Treasurer.................................Randy Morris
Publicist...................................Ann Gray
Webmaster..............................Rick Harris  

Look for the nominating committee for 2020 officers to be designated soon in the new year.

Mtg Report: Almost 40 club members met and began with a business meeting, followed by the induction of new officers by Jennifer Schroll, who did her always entertaining and excellent performance. The officers for 2019 are the same as those who held office in 2018. Afterwards, Rick and Brenda Harris handed out the new name tags to members, and their work is much appreciated. Then Phyllis Anderson led the group through several bingo exercises, with club related questions, as well as shower habits, in lieu of the typical number game. After the great catered meal, Gail and Edmond Gray did the honors of the Dirty Santa gift exchange. Some items seemed to be highly coveted, and thank goodness for the three steal rule. Thanks to all who participated, and a special thanks to James and Phyllis Anderson for opening up their home and allowing us to enjoy their wonderful hospitality. And thanks to Ann Gray for getting the club news in the Daly Banner....she had it in almost before the meeting was over!


JANUARY 6, 2019 - SUNDAY 2-4 PM - ANNUAL CLUB PLANNING MEETING - We will meet again at the Family Resource Center, 3680 Michigan Ave Road NE, Cleveland, Tennessee, hosted by James Anderson.   Please come with your proposed hikes and events for 2019. Jack will have three ring binder paper available at the Christmas party for you to write your proposals on.  Remember to include all pertinent data for hikes, including length, difficulty rating, meeting locations, what to expect on the hike, and  special considerations.

MARCH 14, 2019 - March Club Meeting will include the slide presentation by Larry and Candise Van Dyke on their extensive trip to India.   

SEPTEMBER 3-12, 2019 - Wind River Backpacking Trip - The dates have been set for September 3-12, 2019.  Actual hike dates will be from 5-10 September, six days, five nights, with a total distance of about 40 miles. The hike is currently full, but if you are interested please contact Jack Callahan to have your name put on the alternate list, in case someone cancels out. 

OCTOBER 20-25, 2019 Big South Fork Campout - Reservations for the Club Group Campout at Big South Fork NRRA have been made for October 20-25th 2019. Looking forward to the second round with Honey Creek Loop trail.