Monday, May 12, 2014

Jamestown Camping Trip--Day 3 Bombing Out and Heading Home :-)

Dwarf Larkspur
Jamestown Camping Trip Part 3--The End
Dana & Kenny Koogler
Sunday April 27, 2014
Pictures are here: Jamestown Camping Trip Pix
   We had discussed what our plans for Sunday would be on
Saturday night before going to sleep.  We thought we knew what we wanted to do. We woke Sunday morning with misgivings about
the plan. We had agreed Saturday night to avoid certain areas as it is  also horse riding country. We had gotten by with visiting there during the off season, but were not willing to press our luck this
time of year.  We formed the plan to go into Rockcastle Creek to
attempt to find the Rock Castle Natural Bridge and a couple last falls we had not seen.   We now both agreed it just did not sound like fun. 
     We had some romance and took time to fix a big breakfast of pancakes.  We hoped a leisurely breakfast would help us make up our minds about what to do.  We finally opted to try to visit the last falls back above Blue Hole Falls.  It is a really neat area.  Nearby is
East Fork Obey Falls. We had tried to reach it a week or so earlier without any luck.  We figured we'd get those two done and wrap it up and head home. 
      We could not really enjoy the river trail this weekend.
The crossings were deep and flowing fast. We ran into this Friday.

 Top-- Swift Ford crossing
Bottom-- the rope swing swimming hole

      We headed all the way across the county to Overton again.
We had no GPS coordinates for the first falls we wanted to visit.
We drew near the place and I began to get a bad vibe.  We arrived to find that someone had put a log chain around the gate and welded the hinges.  I'd say they were serious about keeping out interlopers.  We talked about it for a bit but we both had this feeling
our luck was fixing to run out.   We were disgusted but moved on
to the next part of the days adventure.

       We parked the truck and planned to use the RZR simply to get across the river here.  It had been so deep a few weeks earlier we about got into trouble.  Today we managed to make it across the river! The plan was to park the four-wheeler and hike from there.
We had the GPS coordinates.  It was less than a mile up there.
The day was growing hot.  We  were able to continue on an old logging road for a short distance.  Finally the trail played out and there was too many downed logs across the trail.  The logging road had been there for so long, but out of use for long enough that large trees had grown up in it!  We got out and hiked.

Top -- Laurel Creek merges with the East Fork River. I am guessing the rusty rocks comes from iron oxide in the stream or rocks?
Bottom-- Golden ragwort against a green moss background on the river bank.

    We found we just had to follow the path of least resistance.  We hiked along the river bank. We followed the old road when we could. The further we went the rockier and more difficult it got.
The saddest part was that the further upstream we went the less water there was in the river!
We were putting ourselves through all this work to get to a falls that might be dry or have barely any water coming over it. 

Top.. logging road with tree growing up in the middle of it.
Bottom--Kenny hikes the old road through a hemlock forest

 Here is what the river looked like

Not much water in the East Fork River.

We saw a few wildflowers along the way, but most were done for the Spring.
Here is a dwarf crested iris.

 Kenny said he was done with it. We climbed up the rocks and finally found the way back to the logging grade and back down the river we walked.  We will have to try this again.  We spent some time checking out side roads that might take us down a drainage toward the falls that may be closer.
Kenny had said we should have done that to begin with.  I hope he is right. I won't care to be wrong if we can find the way to visit those falls.   It is going to be rough due to the steep, rugged terrain.

It will be tough because we'll have to find a way to see them when the water level is up in order to make the trip worthwhile.  The high water level will add to the difficulty if we have to ford.
 His route .. if it pans out would have us not needing to ford the river.

    The take away from today's bombed out plans?  Sometimes we're blessed and it all falls together.
Sometimes we've got the deck stacked against us and it all falls apart.   Sometimes... the past comes up from behind us and bites us in the butt.  And that's all I'm gonna say about that. :-)

    We went back to the campground to fix lunch before heading home.
We had time to visit with Betty.  I grow to like  her more all the time. She has a lovely spirit of fun.
We stood talking to her a truck pulled through the campground. It was another nice couple. They are the new owners of Cherokee Campin N Cabins.  They wanted to come by to speak to her and introduce themselves.   We got to meet them as well.   We told them we wanted to come check their place out to have options in case Maple Hill was all booked up. They agreed we should.
They have advertised waterfalls to hike to on their brochure.  We asked about that and what size falls etc?  They said the falls were 3 or 4 feet high.  I asked if they had access to Sharps Branch Falls or
Stewart Creek Falls at the back of their property.  They said no. They did not even know where those were.   You know bells were going off in my head.  We'll have to see if a day pass there could get us a way to hike in to them legally from there. 

         We do a lot of planning, scheming, scouting, and studying and sometimes the reward is immense.  Other times... not so much. We  had a good camping trip and a much needed rest and change of scenery.  
Here is a link to the falls we were trying to reach that are listed on the Tennessee landforms database.

Here is a video of the incredibly beautiful Big Sunk Cane Falls.

   I'm glad God made me Daydreaming Dana. :-)

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