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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Savage Gulf

April 2007
Savage Gulf to Hobbs Cabin.............TrailRating.........OutcastsTotal:99.3Miles Savage Day Loop........2.2 Miles...........Easy
North Rim Trail.........6.3 Miles............Easy
North Rim Trail.........3.5 Miles............Easy
Mountain Oak Trail...0.8 Miles............Easy
North Plateau Trail....1.2 Miles............Easy
North Rim Trail.........0.3 Miles............Easy
Savage Day Loop.......2.0 Miles.............Easy
Total……………….......16.3 Miles

Even though we had up to about eight people saying that they were going to hike with us, when it came down to the day, it ended up being the three Outcasts and Greg's two boys. The excuse of waiting for nicer weather has run out. The weather was beautiful and we were excited about being out in the wilderness with the peace and quite…………….what are all of those cars doing here? Lot's and lots of Boy Scouts! A group of about twenty scouts were in the parking lot getting ready to head out on the trail. We headed up to the ranger station.

As we opened the door, the elderly lady, who was on the phone said, " Well I have to get off here, it's getting ugly in here." Of course we looked behind us, but we were the only one's in the office. She hung up the phone and asked in a serious face "How can I help you?" It turned out that this lady was a lot of fun with a great sense of humor. She even kept up to my remarks.

Well, we gathered the packs and headed out. The first group of scouts that we passed was the really young ones. There packs were as large as they were. They of course were heading to Hobb's Cabin as we were. As we passed them we heard some of their comments: "How much further?"; "Have we gone a mile yet?"; "Are we eating lunch out here? I'm hungry." They were about a half a mile out on the trail.

The next group was the teenagers. We would pass them a couple of times and then ate lunch with us at an overlook. We did have the traditional 80-year-old double bypass patient jog pass us. Troy said that if he laps us, he would retire from hiking and take up knitting.

One time when we caught up with a couple of scouts that were somewhere in the middle of their group, Greg stopped and helped him do a pack refit. The scout turned around and ran square into a tree. The hilarious part was that he immediately said " I'm OK." And then walked on in a swerving pattern. When we got to a swinging bridge with a sign that stated "only two people at a time" he turned and asked me to wait until he got across. I waited until he got half way across and yelled, "Here I come." The boy got a panic look in his eye and ran the rest of the way. As I crossed I found the scoutmaster on the other end of the bridge giving me the evil eye.

We had one scout that would run ahead and catch up with us. He would have to stop where his scoutmaster told him to and sure enough a little later he would be back with us. He was quite impressive for someone of his age. He messed up one time and drank all of his water. Greg gave him a donation.

The views over the Gulf were beautiful as were the waterfalls. When we got to camp Greg came to the first site and started setting up. I started looking for the group camp to make sure that we were far enough away. It just so happened to be the site that Greg had picked. He was not a happy camper as he took his tent and hammock down. There were plenty of people in the camp. Of eight sites I think that one was not used.

Hobb’s cabin is an actual log cabin that has been kept up over the years. It is in very good shape and has three or four sets of bunk beds in it. The water spring looked like we were panning for gold with all of the filters being used.

There was an older couple that came down to the spring and she told her husband to get started while she took pictures of the "fiddler heads". Once again I looked around and saw Troy and Chase looking back at me. To our relief, when she got to us she turned around and took a picture of a plant. When I said, "that’s the first time I've been called that" she turned and busted out laughing. Later on we saw her in camp and we all started playing our fake fiddles and she cracked up again.

We were relaxing by the campfire when a ranger came up and asked if Craig was here. You know something is wrong when they ask for you by name. He told me to pack up my stuff and come with him. He had a truck waiting and my baby had just had a seizure. He did let me know that she had the CAT scan, spinal tap and that she was doing all right. He didn't know which baby it was. I took a ride that would put any ride at Cedar Point to shame through the woods. He took me directly to his house and called Connie. After talking to her I borrowed Troy's Jeep and headed to Vandy. It turned out that she was fine. She had a rapid temperature rise, which started the seizure.

I now turn the story over to Greg: After an unwanted hasty departure for a medical emergency for Craig, we continued our wind-down by the fire speculating the hopefully good outcome of Craig’s grandchild. (I said a little good thoughts and wishes to the Gods insert denomination here ____________!) Funny stories from the boys and the big boy’s made the mood light and soon the day’s events gave way to our tents and hammocks.

Morning broke with crisp air and a scramble for heat. A good breakfast and slow roll through packing made for a good start for our trip out. It was very nice with no traffic as all of the scouts and others left earlier.

The trail crossed and stayed on an old narrow gage rail bed covered with moss and coke or coal. A sign we found with a tree growing around it had an indistinguishable name of a mining company. The boys and I have been to the coke mines in the area and that or coal is our best guess. Very cool and concreted in my mind that this area does indeed have a mining history.

We kept up with the usual misstep or gymnastics along the trail. Thanks for a great trip Boys and Troy. They took the same trail out until it cut over on the Mountain Oak Trail. They checked out the campsite on that loop and said that it was just as nice as the others. We will have to make another trip back to catch the plateau trail. Darn it. Anyways, we highly recommend this trail as a trail with beautiful scenery.

Montgomery Bell (Take Two)

April 2007
Montgomery Bell (Take Two)...............Trail Rating....Outcasts Total: 83 Miles
Jim Bailey Trail.........................0.5........Moderate
Wildcat Trail to Ore Pit............0.75........Moderate
Ore Pit to Spill Way..................0.75........Moderate
Spill Way Trail..........................1.0............Easy
Overnight Trail to Laurel............1.5........Moderate
Laurel Furnace........................0.12.........Moderate
Overnight Trail to Woodland.......3.0.......Moderate
Woodland Shelter.......................0.6.........Easy
Overnight Trail to Creech............0.5........Moderate
Creech Hollow to Overnight........1.2..........Moderate
Overnight to Creech...................5.0...........Moderate
Creech Hollow to Overnight.........1.2.........Moderate
Overnight Trail to Parking...........1.0.........Moderate
Total………………………………........17.2 Miles

It just so happened that I had a couple of free days off during the week. I made a few calls and came up with Troy and Logan Gill. Greg had to cut grass with his boss. Troy had missed out on the Montgomery Bell hike and I wanted to finish the rest of the trails there so here we go. Take Two.

We met up at MFD headquarters, my new home, and headed out. We got to the park in good time to make an early start. Let me tell you about Logan. Logan is a woman slayer, a young man who has just turned 21. When we pulled up to the visitor center he dove out of the truck and headed over to a young blonde woman who was having trouble with her car door. He headed over there with his tail wagging and tongue hanging out. Well after Troy and I got out of the truck, I looked over at this sad sight and told Troy to watch this. I wondered over there, Logan backed out of the way. I unlocked her door, sprung the latch and told her she had nothing further to worry about. She grabbed a hold of my neck and gave me a big hug thanking me profusely. She turned and patted Logan on the chest and got in her car. I just looked over at Logan and told him to get back on the porch. He whimpered and wondered back to the truck.

We got signed in and headed out. I found out that it was well worth coming back for. The Spill Way and the Creech Hollow trails were some of the parks finest. We ate lunch at the Spill Way. We found us a picnic table and I pulled out my peanut butter and honey sandwiches. I started looking at the map to figure out our miles when out of the blue two-gallon size zip lock bags full of Troy’s famous fried chicken hit the table. I couldn’t hold back the tears of excitement and whimpered like a small child as I dove into the fried chicken. Logan watched in amazement and Troy just sat back and grinned at a job well done. I missed my cook!

The wildlife was abundant this time with Turkey, Deer, Snakes, Fish, and one of the biggest Moles that I have ever seen. It measured in at four inches and looked about the size of a rat. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I should have skinned it and kept the Moleskin in my pack.

Even though we surprised the weather god’s there were only two other hikers on the trail. One was described as Big Eddie with a neck and cane. Now you would have to know Big Eddie who is our largest roundest firefighter on our City fire department. The other was a round woman with a couple of dogs. Nether of which we would like to consider being in our ranking of hiker.

We did pass some Amish gals at a picnic table in one of the parks that we passed. I told the guys that I had arranged for the Swedish bikini team to arrive and there must have been some miscommunication. They both end in “ish”. I did make a mistake in the last log of our journal.

I said that I didn't remember even having to step over any trees on the path. Well Logan kept track of the number of trees and counted them off as strikes. After nine he said that I was out of the park. Over all we had a wonderful hike and we highly recommend this park.