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!


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