Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Honey Creek Loop, TTA Hike

Day One:
John Muir 2.3....Easy
John Muir 1.8....Easy
Leatherwood Ford Loop 3.1....Easy
River Overlook 0.2....Easy
Total: 7.4 Miles

Day Two:
Honey Creek Loop 5.6....Difficult
Honey Creek Overlook 0.2..Difficult
John Muir 5.0....Easy
Burnt Mill Bridge Loop 1.4...Easy
Total: 12.2 Miles

Total Miles: 19.6 Miles

This was a Tennessee Trails Association hike that Marco and I went on. We are both members of TTA and we joined Millette and Lora of the TTA.

Plan A: Sara planned this hike as hiking the Honey Creek loop and car camping Saturday night.

Plan B: I suggested we hike Sunday as well and do the John Muir trail. Sara agreed.

Plan C: Sara broke her ankle so Millette was the hike leader and due to rain planned to go the campground Saturday night and hike the Honey Creek loop Sunday.

Plan D: We headed out Saturday morning in the rain and this is how it went:

Because the rain was more of a down pour, we all met up at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center. After a doing a little visiting we decided to hike in the rain as it had changed from a down pour to a light rain. We decided to go for a safe rain hiking trail and picked the John Muir out of Leatherwood Ford to the O&W Bridge. As it turned out with all of the water falls, it was a beautiful hike. There were water crossings and they were quite high as the rain built them up. We found a nice overhang to eat lunch under. It cleared up a bit by the time we got to the O&W Bridge and we got some beautiful views.

On the way back, we decided to take the Leatherwood Ford Loop up to the River Overlook and back to Leatherwood Ford. We were already wet and there was still day light. Millette showed us a few fancy steps today, but nothing like Sunday.

We camped at the Bandy Creek campground, where the girls set up in one site and the boys in the other. We enjoyed some chicken, with Lora's family secret sauce, and tator's. Life was good. We followed up with some marsh mellows over the campfire. Cough medicine was taken and some stories were told.

The rain decided to show up again after I went through all the work of getting the moon and stars to shine. We decided to have a tarp party. We all sat in a row with a tarp over us as we watched the last of our campfire being put out by the rain. The last thing was the car camping as we sat and listened to CD's as the rain came down. Finally we decided to call it a night.

The next morning we got up, had a warm breakfast and headed to the trailhead. Millette was going to do the Honey Creek loop no matter if the water was over our heads. We dropped a car at Burnt Mill Bridge and headed to the Honey Creek trailhead.

Now Millette showed us some moves yesterday, but she was dancing with the stars today. Marco, who was not to be outdone, did a 360 on the trail that was quite stunning. So, I had to show them how to hit the trail and I did a good job.

The trail was challenging with the high water and wet rocks. The water crossings were deep and took a little talent. The trail led us astray a couple of times with inadequate marking. The lizzards were out and even a couple of snakes. The waterfalls were beautiful and we got some wonderful views from the Honey Creek Overlook where we ate lunch.

After the loop we took the John Muir trail to the Burnt Mill loop to Burnt Mill Bridge. The John Muir trial was mostly old road bed until we got to the river. At one point when I was leading, I came upon a large rat snake that not only surprised me, but decided to challenge me as well. He had a little attitude. I turned to Lora who was behind me, but had levitated about three feet off the ground and passed everyone to the back of the line.

We finished up the hike with a good long and deep water crossing where the river had flooded the trail.

We got another surprise when we got back to the truck, as we found that we had gotten into a nest of seed ticks which ate us all up.

It was a great hike. Sorry that Sara couldn't make it, but she was with us in all of our minds.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009