Monday, February 9, 2009
Cumberland Trail- Soddy Segment
Cumberland Trail- Soddy section……………..Outcasts Total…..484.5
Trail Rating: Moderate with future bridge sites being difficult
Day one…..…8.6 Miles
Day two……7.4 Miles
Marco, Raleigh, and I made this hike. We headed out after work and dropped a truck off at the Heiss Mountain Road trailhead. We then drove back to Mowbray Pike and parked at the marked location on Millsap Road. It took us a little longer to find Mowbray Pike because the street sign is not there off Dayton Pike. You need to turn by the Dollar General store. We ended up going further south on Dayton Pike to Mountlake road and coming down Mowbray pike from the other side. You definitely want to print off the directions, maps, and trail description off the Cumberland Trail website. They are very helpful.
We got on the trail at 10:30. Shortly after you get on the trail, you go through the Little Stone Door and pass the Indian Rock House. The trail travels the side of the mountain until you go into the Little Soddy Creek Valley. We stopped and had lunch before Clemmons point where we could enjoy the great view of the valley below and see the peaceful looking Sequoyah Nuclear power plant.
Just before you drop down into Little Soddy Creek valley you pass above a house and then the trail drops down. There was a generator and some other stuff off to the side. There was an extension cord hooked to the generator running off somewhere. We didn't hang around to investigate!
Once you cross the Little Soddy creek you will find remains of the old Soddy Coal Company and the area where they have been trying to clean up years of illegal dumping. This is a very challenging area to try and remove a lot of tires, wash machines, and the likes. From here you climb up and cross Hotwater road.
Hotwater road is where we met the members of the Soddy Daisy chapter of the Tennessee Trail Association. They had been working a section of the trail from Hotwater road to Posey point. And a mighty fine job they had done. We talked to a few of the members at the road and then about eight members on the trail. Super folks and we just can’t thank them enough for the work they do. After talking a bit, we found out that Don Deankins and Caroline Woerner were the one and same people that had made the maps we were following. They also found out that we were the Outcasts and we were amazed by how many people follow our Blog. After we left their company, I wished that we had taken a picture of the group to put on our Blog.
After Posey Point you hike the side of the mountain over Big Soddy Creek. We did spend a little while checking which way to go after the pine farm where the trail splits and there is no sign. The next marker is down the switchback from the split. This is about the time Marco’s knee started bothering him real bad. Part way back into the Deep Creek Valley we started wondering if we were going to have to stop our hike and carry him out. He wanted to be tough and keep going. I think he only fell about five times on the way down to Deep Creek. Not too bad for Marco.
On the way down to Deep Creek you pass in front of an old coalmine portal with the timbers still visible and at this time water filling the bottom.
The only part of this trail that is difficult is the crossing of Deep Creek and Big Soddy. The switchbacks are short and the drops or climbs are steep. Hopefully when they get the bridges done they will rework the switchbacks and bring them out further.
Deep Creek is a large boulder crossing of the creek where Big Soddy is more wading. The only pain you felt while crossing is anything that touched the water. I was hoping for numbness, but none would come.
There is a spot where the dozers tore up the land before Deep creek crossing doing rock mining. They could make a future campsite down the river a little ways where the dozers flattened it out by the river.
In between Deep Creek and Big Soddy creek Marco tried to break his leg, the good one, by dropping his foot down between rocks and falling backwards. This gave everyone a good scare.
It was getting dark so just after we crossed Big Soddy and got our feelings back, we made camp for the night. There is no flat area around here so we camped on the slope. It’s nice when you have hammocks. It is a little rough collecting firewood at a seventy five degree angle. Marco did some meds and rehab while we told lies around the fire. We had a full moon and the temp stayed around 35 degrees.
We started out the next morning hitting the trail at 9:00. It was a good climb after breakfast, the way we like it. The trail continues along the side of the valley.
There was one large shelf that the trail actually goes under. We had been talking about how boulders have fallen in the past and how people have been killed. Well, as Marco was hiking under the shelf, a large clump of ice broke off the top of the cliff probably around fifty pounds of it. It was safely out to the edge away from the trail as I saw it fall, but poor Marco didn't know what happened and just assumed he was dead when it crashed to the ground. It was entertaining to watch.
We stopped for lunch at a spot just past the last bridge which would make a good campsite. It was along the river bank and you could tell where a couple of people have camped before.
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. The trail covers alot of different type of forests and you end up hiking out along the highway and down Heiss Mountain road to the next trailhead. There were cars there when we dropped our truck off and then more cars there when we got to our truck Sunday. Must be a popular day hike out Possum Creek segment.
When we got back to the Mowbray Pike trailhead we had a note on our truck window stating "This is private property, do not park here" written on duct tape. It looked offical redneck. I will have to find out more about this.
The only wildlife we saw was the cows out in the pasture by highway 111.