Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Possum Creek Trail…….Moderate…….10 Miles
Rock Creek Trail………..Moderate……..9.9 Miles
At work, getting to sleep until 2:30am was like getting a treat before hiking the next day. Marco and I headed out to meet my cousin, Austin, and my Dad at the Lower Leggett Road Trailhead. We left the van at this trailhead and drove my truck to the Heiss Mountain Road Trailhead.
We got on the trail by 11:00am and were immediately impressed by the Blanchard Creek waterfall right off the get go. Just past the falls we met the only other hikers on the trail. They said that they had hiked in three miles the day before and had gotten soaked by the rain. The trail had some slippery spots and the rocks were even more slippery. Even though it was his first hike, Austin jumped right in to doing the trail dance and even included the trips. It must run in the family.
We were glad to see the bridge over the Big Possum Creek, as the water was deep and fast. We were quite impressed to see the new fiberglass type bridge. That is real nice and I'm sure will last a long time. We ate lunch just past the bridge where the old narrow-gage railroad grade connected with the trail.
The short side trail to the overlook of the Tennessee River valley is worth the time. You can see all the way to the Appalachian Mountains. Then you descend to Little Possum Creek.
Dad and Austin impressed me with walking right over a two-foot long Copperhead snake. After investigating, we found out that someone had already cut the head off the snake, which I guess was a good thing for those that don’t look down.
Little Possum Creek was anything but little. We ended up crossing on a fallen tree that stretched between two boulders. With the slippy rocks, it turned out to be a good workout on the nerves. After crossing the creek, we hiked back to the trail.
On the way to Stack Rock, Austin with his snake fetish stepped on a small gray snake with an orange bottom. Of course Austin didn’t realize what he had done until I let him know.
Stack Rock was impressive and after you reach the top, there is a good campsite with a stream running next to it and a stack of firewood. Way too good for us. We head on.
Between the Stack Rock and the Imodium Falls we had some impressive falls. Marco put up a fight, but Dad took the all time prize with imitating the swimming sidestroke across a flat rock as he grabbed for anything he could grab while he was traveling across it. That is where experience pays off and we had to bow to the Master.
Crossing Little Possum creek below the Hughes Branch, we had to take to wading. Put on the Crocks and go for it. It got up to the thighs and you know what that means for poor all Marco!
We camped just after descending from Coalbank Hill in a flat area of pines next to the Coalbank Branch of Possum Creek. It was about a mile short of Retro-Hughes Road. It was time to eat and we got a pretty good workout with all the ups and downs of the trail.
When it finally got dark enough for a campfire, we had some entertainment lighting wet wood. Marco found an old Cedar that really helped us out. We sat around sipping medicine and telling lies. They were calling for 47-degrees for tonight, so we went for the 35-degree Outcast temperature instead. Oh yea, Austin did it again and found a snake under his tarp before it got dark.
We got on trial at 8:30am and crossed Retro-Hughes Road to start the Rock Creek Section. The blackberries will be good this year and I know the place to pick. After about a mile you start down into Rock Creek gorge. The trail was not nearly as slippery today, which was good because I know where Rock Creek got its name.
We got to climb the wooden ladder on the way to the fiberglass bridge over Rock Creek. The Leggett Branch cascades were beautiful and we stopped at the Rock Creek Overlook and ate lunch. It was a beautiful day and we watched the hawks flying over the gorge.
We decided to take the Upper rim trail to see Leggett Point Overlook. It was a good climb, but the trees block most of the view. We got to the Lower Leggett Road trailhead at 2:00pm.
This is a wonderful hiking trail and I commend the many people that helped to build this trail. The flowers were all bloomed out putting on a show. You definitely want to visit the Cumberland trail website to print off the maps and trail descriptions as well as register to hike.