Friday, January 30, 2015

Cummings Falls / Standing Stone State Parks

Cummings Falls 1.35 Miles                                           Outcast Total Miles: 1794.93
Lake Trail 5.2 Miles
Total 6.55

We tried to knock out a couple of parks on this hike.  We started at Cummings Falls State Park. They have done a lot of work for a new park.  They have an extremely large gravel parking area and a nice looking bathroom built.  The trails are clear and trash free.

At the parking lot we met a guy and he was asking if we had any information on this park.  After telling him that we did not he headed out.  We hiked the Overlook trail, Shortcut, and Downstream Trail to the creek.  The map shows that it stops there, but I guess you can walk all the way to the falls?  We walked down the rocks along the side of the creek to another small fall on the other side of the creek. After that we turned around.  We met the guy again and this time he told us that he had hiked this area before when they first opened it. OK? We went back up and to the falls on the top. Beautiful falls!  We walked to the top of the falls and explored the area before taking the Upstream trail back to the parking area.

After this hike we headed to Standing Stone State Park.  We checked in for the campground and then hiked the Lake Trail around Kelly lake. It is a well used trail and in good condition. There is one area that they have some wires down on the trail.  Being firefighters, we treated them as hot and moved around them. We passed another hiker that said the wires have been there for a couple of weeks and that they were working on them.

They obviously have beavers who like to cut down trees.  We saw lots of places where they have worked and a large dam they built on the South side of the lake on Morgan Creek.

There is maintenance being done on the main dam at this time.  They have scaffolding up along it.

There is an 8 mile loop "Cooper Trail" off of the Lake trail that is on State Forest land.  The lady at the office said that it is not marked well or maintained and that people have gotten lost on this trail. She recommended that we did not hike that trail. The closest trail head is at the Overton Lodge for this loop.

We stayed the night in the campground. We were the only ones there for some reason? In the morning we woke up to some light sprinkling rain.  Troy said a storm was moving in, there was a national weather service warning and the schools were running late / closing due to weather. We did a quick pack up and headed home.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cedars of Lebanon / Long Hunter

Bryant Grove Trail 8 miles                                                Outcasts Total Miles: 1788.38

Hidden Springs Trail 5 miles
Campsite to trailhead 1.2 miles
Total Miles: 14.5 miles

Trying to hit up some State Parks that do not have overnight backcountry sites, we took Marco's camper out.  The weather did as usual and dropped down to 4 degrees for us.  We went to Cedars of Lebanon State Park and set up the camper. After we got it set up we headed to Long Hunter State Park and hiked the Bryant Grove trail.  We have not done any of the trails on the South side of the park.
The Bryant Grove trail is four miles long one way. It goes along the shore of Percy Priest lake.  It is a flat trail that goes through different Eco systems along the lake.  We stopped for lunch along the way.  For some reason we only saw one other person on the trail and he was running it.

When we got back we headed to Cedars of Lebanon again for the night.  This time instead of a fire, we had two small heaters in the camper.  We didn't have a 50amp adapter for the trailer and they only had one plug with a 20amp fuse. So we had to take turns using a heater, or the oven, or the skillet.  Anyways, we had a Troy's Famous Fried Chicken dinner with potatoes and corn on the cob. Life was good!

The next morning we got up and after a great breakfast of bacon, eggs, and biscuits, we hiked to the Hidden Springs trailhead.  This trial goes through many Eco systems with the highlights being the caves and underground springs. Marco showed me on my own daypack that I have a built in whistle. I have had this pack for a couple of years now and never noticed it. Then Lora looked and we have them on our backpacks as well.  Pretty slick!

We headed back to camp and started getting the trailer ready to leave.  When we went to lower the top nothing happened.  Not good! We ended up having to take a couple of panels off from under the camper to gain access to the cranking mechanism to lower the camper.  Anything for entertainment.