The Unicoi Crest above Tellico Plains

 

Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 373
07

 

 

 


Trail Maintenance
Flats Mountain Trail

Trail Guide and Map

Monday, November 3, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008

Monday, December 3, 2008
Monday, February 9, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Flats Mountain Trail (FS Trail 102) is a trail within the Cherokee National Forest in the Tellico Ranger District which connects the Cherohala Skyway from the Eagle Gap parking area with the Citico Creek Road at Beehouse Gap. The trail is 6.5 miles long and for the most part follows the mountain crest winding in and out of the Citico Creek Wilderness. From the Eagle Gap parking lot, you first go uphill on an old roadbed to a couple of small balds at the top of Flats Mountain, then the trail heads down the ridgeline, dropping 1920 feet over the length of the trail. The best time to hike this trail is when the leaves are off the trees. There are great views to the west of Indian Boundary Lake and east to the high mountains along the state line. Because of the elevation rise, it is best to hike this trail from the Skyway down to Beehouse Gap.

Monday, November 3, 2008 - Flats Mountain Trail. Rick & Brenda Harris hiked the trail from the Beehive Gap lower end to the top at Eagle Gap and brushed out the trail along the way. The trail needs a lot of additional brush work as well as about 40 trees across the trail which need to be removed with crosscut saw. The trail,though, now is passable without any major difficulty.

Hours: Rick Harris 6 hours, Brenda Harris 6 hours.

 

Thursday, November 27, 2008: David and Rick Harris worked on the Flats Mountain Trail from the Eagle Gap parking area 2.9 miles down the trail, clearing about 30 trees with a chain saw and clearing brush with a brush cutter. The half mile or so through the wilderness was left untouched, saving that for a future trip with swingblades and crosscut saws. In that stretch there are about 4 or 5 trees across the trail and quite a bit of brush to clear. We then hiked on out to the bottom to our car at Beehive Gap. There are still quite a lot of trees across the trail past where we stopped, but there are also long stretches on which the trail is in great shape. In the lower stretch within the wilderness there are probably 10 or so trees which need to be cut out with a crosscut saw. A couple of the trees are quite big, maybe 18 inches in diameter. The views are great with all the leaves off the trees and the clear skies.

 
Volunteer Hours Worked:
 
Rick Harris, 1 hour driving time, 6 hours trail work
David Harris, 1 hour driving time, 6 hours trail work
Total 14 hours

Monday, December 3, 2008: Robert Thomas worked with us yesterday on the Flats Mountain Trail. Robert and I worked on clearing all of the blowdowns (11 trees) from the wilderness sections of the trail with crosscut saw and axe. Rick worked on clearing blowdowns from the non-wilderness section with the chainsaw, clearing about two dozen trees. Rick and Ed both worked on brushing out the wilderness sections with slingblade and loppers, and Ed continued on brushing out the non-wilderness section with the weedeater. 

I would estimate that about of the trail has been returned to standards. We were working in the snow again for the entire day, but at least the temperatures made it above freezing for most of the day. 

Here are the volunteer hours for the day: 

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

Ken Jones

2

7

9

Rick Harris

1

8

9

Ed Ley

4

8

12

Totals

7

23

30

Monday, February 9, 2009: I continued work on brushing out the Flats Mountain Trail on Monday. I hiked in from Beehouse Gap to the wilderness boundary and began work with a slingblade and brush hook. After completing about 100 yards, I decided to hike on up to the top of the mountain wilderness boundary, and begin working back downhill. I reasoned that this portion of the wilderness trail was in the worst shape due to lots of sunlight from the beetle killed pines. I was able to complete this upper segment between the two switchbacks for a total estimated brush out of 1/3 mile for the day. 

The high for the day reached the lower 70s, and I managed to run out of water since I was still only carrying 2 quarts. I saw where a hog had used the lower part of the trail while I was working, as evidenced by the fresh tracks on my way back out. I cleared two small trees for the day with my folding saw and one larger tree that I pushed off the trail. 

Here is my time for the day: 

Travel Hours = 2             Work Hours = 6.5

Tuesday, May 12, 2009: Rick and I worked on logging out the Flats Mountain Trail yesterday. We left a truck at Beehouse Gap and drove in to the second Wildlife Clearing from Eagle Gap. We sawed 3 trees off the wildlife road, 18 trees off the trail portions outside the wilderness, and chopped 2 trees off of the Citico Wilderness portion of the trail with the axe. We have cleared the southern 5 miles of the trail, leaving about 8-10 trees on the northern end. Rick had a problem with his chainsaw starting after lunch time. It looks like the plug wire broke near the connector end, so we failed to clear the entire trail. None of the trees that are still down pose any problems for a hiker to step across. 

Here are our volunteer hours for the work trip: 

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

Ken Jones

2.5

5.5

8

Rick Harris

1

5.5

6.5

Totals

3.5

11

14.5

Wednesday, May 13, 2009: Rick returned to the lower section of the Flats Mountain Trail today and brushed out the lower 0.7 miles of the trail almost up to the switchback, when he ran out of gas. So he plans to return on Friday, May 15 and finish off the brush cutting up to the wilderness boundary, about another half mile or so.

Here are Rick's volunteer hours for the work trip: 

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

Rick Harris

1

4

5

Totals

1

4

5

Friday, May 15, 2009: Rick finished the brushing out of the Flats Mtn Trail on the lower end up to the wilderness boundary. just after he got back to his car the heavens opened up and there was lots of rain, thunder, lightning  and hail.

Here are Rick's volunteer hours for the work trip: 

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

Rick Harris

1

3

4

Totals

1

3

4

Wednesday, July 1, 2009: Brenda and Rick Harris logged out the lower 1.2 miles of the Flats Mountain Trail up to the wilderness boundary. 10 logs were removed. Brenda also used loppers to open up the trail corridor a little bit. Volunteer hours are below:

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

Rick Harris

1

4

5

Brenda Harris 1 4 5

Totals

2

8

10

Thursday, February 3, 2011: Flats Mountain Trail - We had another large crew to tackle logging out the Flats Mountain Trail last Thursday. About 1/5 of this 6 mile trail is contained within two separate wilderness segments. We were able to field two crosscut crews and two chainsaw crews to work the trail. The saw crews were able to log out all of the entire trail. Many of us were impressed by a small Stihl 180 chainsaw that belonged to Jim Sirmans. It is very light weight and still did an efficient job on most of the blow downs. Another smaller crew worked on brushing out the uppermost wilderness segment and finished this portion. We will definitely need another work trip with weed eaters on the non-wilderness portion up on top of the ridge line. The entire trail was free of snow for the first time in many weeks, but patches of ground were still frozen. Here are the volunteer hours for this work trip: 

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

Ken Jones

1.5

8

9.5

Ed Ley

3

8

11

Bobby Mitchell

1.5

8

9.5

Blue Goodson

1.5

8

9.5

Philip Gooch

1

8

9

Jim Sirmans

1

8

9

Tom Smith

1

8

9

Roger Taylor

1

8

9

Bill Hodge

1

8

9

Rick Harris

1

4

5

Brenda Harris

1

4

5

Totals

14.5

80

94.5

Thursday, August 25, 2011 - Flats Mountain Trail - We began work to brush out the Flats Mountain Trail today. Two of the work crew began with brush cutters at the Beehouse Gap end. Four others began work at the Eagle Gap end at the second wildlife clearing with two brush cutters and sling blades and loppers. Each work crew was able to complete brushing out about 1.5 miles of trail from their starting points. That would leave about 2.5 miles of work remaining in the middle of the trail. The work on the ridge line was really hard due to all the sunlight where the dead pines have fallen. It was a very hot day with highs near 100 degrees, and the sunlight while we were working made it feel even hotter. All of the sunlight also had stimulated growth for a lot of briars and berries, making the work even harder. Brushing out the remainder of the trail will probably require multiple trips to finish, so it may be a good candidate for a camping work trip in the future. Thank you for helping us on this work trip. Here are our volunteer hours:

Name

Travel Hours

Work Hours

Totals

Ken Jones

1.5

9

10.5

Bobby Mitchell

1.5

9

10.5

Kyle Atkins

1.5

9

10.5

Tazz Reid

1

9

10

Rick Harris

1

9

10

Totals

6.5

45

51.5

Thursday, September 8, 2011 Flats Mountain Trail - A damp day led to a different set of tasks. I'm glad we could clean up the Eagle Gap Trail Head, and I am very glad we could remove the large tree across the South Fork Citico Trail. I hope the weather cooperates next week and the crew can tackle the Hemlock Trail. Here are the hours from today:

 
Bill Hodge 5 hours Worked - 1 Hour Travel
Tazz Reid 5 Hours Worked - 1 Hour Travel
Rick Harris 5 Hours Worked - .5 Hour Travel
Roger Taylor 5 Hours Worked - 1 Hour Travel
Kyle Atkins 5 Hours Worked - 1.5 Hours Travel

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