Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 37307
Falls Trail Dayhike
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Hike Leader: Marc Bernatti 423 261-2573
Hike Rating: easy to moderate
Hike Distance: around 3 miles, mostly downhill. A car shuttle will be used; kids and pets are welcome.
Hike Description: The trail starts at the Coker Creek Falls parking lot, follows the creek and ends at the Benton MacKaye/John Muir Trails near the Hiwassee River. At times, when hill hugging, the footing is difficult. A walking stick could be useful. Bring enough water and a snack. The Welcome Center in Coker Creek will be open to get what you forgot. The trail has had some serious maintenance and improvements done by maintainers and the USFS. With Mother Nature smiling on us, we should have a pleasant hike.
Directions: Meet at the Cocker Creek Welcome Center/Post Office on Hwy 68 (mile marker 34) at 10 AM. From Ducktown, go North on Hwy 68 - approximately 25 miles. From Tellico Plains, travel South on Hwy 68 - approximately 10 miles.
We’ll work out a shuttle arrangement and drop off a vehicle or vehicles at the bottom and take those drives back up to the parking lot to start our hike. The road near the bottom is very rough so, we need high clearance vehicles with good traction to get down and come back out.
Post Trip Report: Like most of the hikes up here in the Cherokee NF at this time of the year, this one blessed the participants with great hiking weather, beautiful scenery, a mildly exhilarating workout, some obstacle exercises, an impromptu Botany refresher and an opportunity to interact with other National Forest recreation users, successful bear hunters. Seven hikers, six Club members, one guest and two dogs, met at the Coker Creek Welcome Center. On the way, the hiker’s caravan came up on a bear hunter’s roadblock. In their excitement to catch up with the bear being run by dogs, they bailed out of their trucks, leaving them ‘parked’ in the middle of the one lane crown raised dirt road. Fortunately, one hunter had stayed behind to watch the trucks and the other crated dogs. He was able to radio contact the pursuing hunters to get information about where their spare truck keys were stashed to move the trucks over just enough for our caravan to squeeze by. Two of our vehicles got stationed down by the bridge at our trail take out to shuttle all of us back up to the parking lot at hike completion. For the most part, the trail improvements made last year were still in excellent shape and made for good footing. The hike leader had to be reminded that wet rock at the bottom of the Falls is slick rock. That lesson was reinforced by soggy boots. Our resident Botanist, Leon, pointed out many plants as we passed them and answered all our questions about them. Recent severe weather had dropped a dozen or so trees across the trail. All but a 3’+ diameter one, were easily passed over or under. That big uprooted one with its smaller friend laying alongside, required some off trail slipping and sliding to get by. We met a number of back packers on the trail and talked to a couple of eager gold panners at the bottom. On loading up, we drove back to the parking lot for the other cars. When heading out, our caravan met some of the same hunters that our hike started with. One unfortunate young bear gave us a blank stare from atop a dog crate as we squeezed by. Making the hike were; JoAnne Jackson, Dave and Debbie Flowers, Jane Bohannon, Leon Bates, Ron Herzberger, Marc Bernatti and 2 happy Family dogs.
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