Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fentress County Camping, Four-Wheeling and Hiking Trip

Cave Painting? 
I don't know. Looks like it to me!
And NO! It is not one of my infamous
Fake Ole Ass Cave Drawings.
Look for them on King Mtn!

Fentress County Camping Trip 

Kenny & Dana Koogler
Oct. 17-Oct. 20th, 2013
Pictures are here:   

    We took a much needed get-away long weekend to go camping, four-wheeling, exploring and hiking.    Kenny was worn out from working a month straight.
I was bored from lack of his company and having been laid up for a while.
We ran away to our beautiful Cumberland Plateau. We stayed at Maple Hill Campground
run by Betty & Klaus DeJong.  It is a great place to stay run by a terrific couple. I had 
thought after living in our camper for a month Kenny would not want to go. He told me
it was not the camper it was the working all the time that wore him out.  He was all about it so we went! 

       We set up camp and took off to go ride.  We wore it out riding on Thursday and Friday both.  The river trail has to be low water to be able to ride it.  We did not get to ride it during Spring or Summer owing to all the high rain fall we'd gotten.  Today we saw the river the lowest I've ever seen it. We covered a lot of new ground. New trails ridden. We also connected a lot of new trails with previously ridden ones to learn how they hook up.   There was not a lot of Fall color, but some.  It was pretty. I stood in the middle of the rock, dry river bed picking up gum tree leaves of purple, black, red, yellow, orange and red. I announced to Kenny that if I could be a tree.. I'd want to be a gum tree.

Obey River

Another pretty spot along the Obey

Dry patch of river bed. This river dries up to holes of water or areas that are mostly dry.
This past Spring it was at flood stage. A raging torrent that would have swept us away in a heartbeat.  You could not even get close to this spot.

A blue hole along the same river.

Deliverance Bus sitting in the woods looking out at the world with vacant eyes.

Another blue hole along the river. I loved the look of the azure water with copper beech leaves floating on it. Surreal.

Patch of color in the forest on the trails. Up high the beech trees, sourwood, black gum, sweet gum, persimmon trees, poison oak, and sugar maples were putting on a good show!

One of a few caves we went in.

View from the newly discovered overlook on Skinner Mountain. It faces west/northwest.

RZR on the dry river bed at the Swift Ford

Down in the wild and wooly Lost Cane exploring. Downed trees, vines, briars, this time. Still looks like Saigon. It was bone dry this trip. No waterfalls.

Golden autumn sun on the black gum pond on the mountain

    We spent Thursday and  Friday on Skinner Mountain, Lost Cane  the River Trail and King Mountain.
Saturday we were tired of riding and since it was so dry and not a good time to waterfall hunt ... we went arch hunting!  We visited the Clarkrange Arch at last. We had looked
for it once before unsuccessfully. Today we found it.

Clarkrange Arch

     Next we hunted up the Mountainview Arch. It was not far off and was a big one.
We found it with no problem.

Patch of Autumn color near Mountainvew Arch

Mountainview Arch with Kenny under there for size reference. He looks tiny! The dimensions on this are 100x30

   We'd gotten along great so far. It was a pretty Fall day with perfect temperatures for hiking.  We'd found what we were looking for easily thus far.  Our day was about to change.  We went to hunt for Price's Arch next north of us.  The day turned rainy and cold and windy. We ran out of luck.  We were heading in the right direction but the bushwhack turned out to be longer than anticipated and I was over it.  I was cold, tired and hungry.  We went back to the camper ate lunch, dried off and took a nap.

     The next day we took a gamble on finding an access to Conatser Hollow and the waterfalls back there. It did not pan out.  We also tried to find an access to Catpen Hollow Arch and that did not pan out.  We went north and explored Pogue Creek and ran out of time, but we did get to find how to reach it and saw State House Rock!

View from King Mountain

State House Rock. Next time we are bringing ropes and climbing this bastage!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Frozen Head State Park Play Day With Michael

Frozen Head Waterfall Hike With Michael

Pictures are here: 

   My grandson Michael spent the night at our house and the following day we 
went hiking at Frozen Head State Park.  We spent a wonderful day playing. We came home tired.  He slept all the way home. He played so hard he was still ready for some time on the couch watching cartoons when we arrived back at his house. 

       We picked Frozen Head because our marvelous state park system was still operational while the government shut down the National Park system! We stopped by
Middle Fork Falls on the way to Frozen Head.  

Middle Fork Falls.. first time Michael had ever seen it! He liked it so much he did not
want to leave to go on to the next thing!

Middle Fork Falls

    Next we hiked to DeBord Falls at Frozen Head.  It was a short, easy hike of about a mile round trip.  He ran for part of the way. He did not find it much of a challenge so its time to increase the difficulty level and the distance! 
Michael at DeBord Falls

He liked DeBord Falls and played in the water. He climbed on the rocks and made friends with two sisters who were also visiting the falls with their parents.  They were a bit older but he liked them so much! He told me they were so nice he wished they were his cousins!    He wanted to keep them.  We ate a snack on the climb back out.

    We had passed a playground on the way in to the park.   We went back to that and spent a long time playing hide and seek and tag and other fun games on the play sets.
We were hungry now! We had agreed to stop at Chik-Fil-A in Oak Ridge on the way back to eat lunch.  We would play there too.   We did eat lunch and then got in the playground indoors and for the first time... I got to see Michael climb all the way to the top!
He made it!  I was so excited I squeezed my big butt in there and sneaked all the way to the top before the management could find me out and stop me!
We had a grand time.  I love spending time with my grandson.  He is fantastic company.

 I look forward to longer and even more fun hikes to pretty features and exciting places like caves, overlooks, waterfalls, and forests.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Kentucky Life, Recovery, and Hiking--Beaver Creek Wilderness

First of the colored leaves for Autumn 2013.

Kentucky Life, Recovery, and Hiking

Pictures are here:
Kentucky Pix

     I had been suffering with some health problems and had surgery September tenth.
It has been a chaotic and exciting time for our family.   Our granddaughter Tessa was born September fourth.  One week later I was in the same hospital having surgery.  A week after that Kenny left for a job in Kentucky that was to last three weeks to a month.
Our house was like a revolving door for awhile.  My mom and sister came to look after me.  I enjoyed their TLC so much!  Words cannot express it adequately.  My Dad and stepmother came to visit just as my mom and sister headed home.  A week later my best buddy Cathy came to help keep me company.  My son Jared came to visit. Finally the stream of company and visitors died down and it was lonely.    

   Kenny was being lonely in Kentucky. I was being lonely at home.  Once I was able to drive I packed and headed to stay and finish my recovery by being Kentucky Trailer Traysh!   The first week up there I stayed Monday, Tues. Wed. night and had to head back to Maryville on Thursday morning to pick up Kenny's checks, take care of business matters and see my doctor for a follow-up visit.   I took care of all that. Spent the weekend at home and headed back up the next week.

      The area we are staying in is nice. It is an RV park that is clean as a pin. It has a driving range, indoor pool, fellowship hall, free wi-fi, cable tv hookups.  The nearest town is Burnside. The nearest city of any size is Somerset.  I went shopping in Somerset.
I cleaned and cooked and enjoyed my hubby's company. I was overjoyed to see him.
I played games. I read books. Watched movies.  Rested. There is not a lot to do in the area unless you have a boat.  It is by Lake Cumberland so fishing and boating are the big things to do.

    I did bring my hiking guides and once I was worn out with being a 'townie" I went hiking.   I had to drive about 15 miles down the road, but it was worth it.  I hiked Three Forks of Beaver in the Beaver Creek Wilderness. It is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest.    It was not the most dramatic hike, but it had a beautiful overlook. The forest was quiet and serene.  I hiked the 3 miles or so of this short hike and it was exactly what I needed.  There is a little more hiking in the area and if I go back I hope to do some more. I expect after the long working hours and weariness of the past month or more.. Kenny will not want to revisit this area for a LONG time for work or pleasure.  I can certainly understand that.

Butterfly on Ironweed. One of many pretty fall wildflowers.

Fall color just beginning at the overlook

Orange leaves and it is raining on me!

Red Riding Hood Forest of deep hemlocks and tall cliffs.

Royal Ferns are a type of fern that is found in the Cumberland Plateau. Its binomial is Osmunda regalis
I am standing in the middle of the Freeman Fork. It is shallow. I saw sucker fish, small native trout and water spiders.

Beaver Creek shallow with lots of pretty spots along it for wading.

Orange shelf fungi on a tree. The sun has come out again now that I have emerged from
down in the hollers. I am back up on the plateau!