Skinner Mountain Exploring With Sharon
Saturday April 4, 2015
Dana & Kenny Koogler
Photos are here starting with frame 155
and are a combination of trips from various parts of the area.
We had not gotten to see Sharon or do anything with her in about a year!
She was going to be at her place in Fentress County, TN. She plans to move to Tennessee from
Florida and was up on work business. She was also meeting with a building contractor to take
steps toward moving and building a home. Kenny made it back from Wyoming on Thursday night. Our son-in-law, Adam and myself picked him up from the airport Thursday night.
Friday was spent doing chores. Saturday was play day for us. We headed out to the Cumberland Plateau to see our good friend. Sharon is fun because she likes exploring as much as we do.
We spent a little while chatting, catching up some and fiddling with the ATVs which
needed some attention. They sit all Winter and have to be attended and coaxed to start. We ended up having to go pick up a battery, but before long we were back and the battery was installed. Thankfully the 700 machine cranked to life and we were ready to go!
We were more convinced than ever that we need to schedule a work weekend over here.
Sharon has trees that need cutting off the beach. The trails we ride seldom get ridden by anyone else so if they are going to get cut out and maintained we will have to do it.
The ATV's could use Kenny's and Adam's touch to maintain them. It would be fun and
therapeutic right now.
We decided to start out by doing what we all wanted to do most of all. Find a rock art painting that is supposed to be on Skinner Mountain somewhere. We have hunted it several times before, but today we were armed with fresh clues. I can't launch into a lot of details which would bore the reader, but also potentially divulge the location of something sensitive.
I will instead tell you that we started off trying to look for it along the bluffs up near the
old fire tower site. All that is left of the fire tower is the stanchions. Kenny and I knew there was a spring branch down below the tower site. We had hiked below there before hunting waterfalls and caves. We hunted the bluffs but did not find anything so we turned around and headed back up the mountain. We went out to the overlook toward the East and ate lunch. We decided once
lunch was over we'd go show Sharon some waterfalls we'd visited, but she had not been to yet.
We headed down the trails exploring and wondering with each place we passed "Where does that go?"
We had to stop and cut out a log across the main trail. It was a massive tree that had fallen and we could not go under it. There was no way around it either. Kenny purchased a different, better chainsaw from a buddy. It had a brand new bar on it and chain. He got the bar stuck when the tree went to give way and the two halves of the tree pinched it. We had a bonding experience as friends trying to work together to free the chainsaw. He had us women bouncing the tree up and down and side to side to try to free the bar.
It was scary watching the log splinter and wondering when it was going to give way!?! Wondering if we'd be able to jump back out of the way? Wondering if we'd get the chainsaw free? Finally he hooked the winch to it and I got in the RZR to run the controls. It worked! The saw was freed. No one got hurt. Nothing got torn up. He finished sawing the tree out and we rolled the logs out of the way.
Once we headed down the other trail toward the waterfalls two things were apparent.
1. The falls should be running because the trail and the stream were pretty much one at that point. Springs of water were flowing heavily down that dirt track. 2. We were not done clearing trail for the day. We ended up clearing three more bad spots. The worst was where trees had fallen damming up the stream and holding it back. We got muddy and dirty and covered in saw dust and plant matter working on that stuff. With all of us working on it.. it was cleared pretty quickly.
A short distance later we arrived at the waterfalls. Both falls were running today.
We saw a few Spring wildflowers and were thrilled at how pretty this spot was. We walked down the slope to get a closer look at it all. It was beautiful! Kenny and I had been here before.
One trip the falls were not running. Today they were pretty. Trout lilies bloomed on a ledge above one falls! Fiddleheads unfurled. Rue anemone blossomed. The sun shone down into this hole in the earth and lit the falls up like a shower of diamonds.
Sharon at Waterfall #2
Trout lilies were abundant today in this spot! They are getting plenty of sun and moisture!
My favorite view of Waterfall #2 today. Deep green velvet moss. Sunshowers in the falls.
One of the waterfalls even had a tiny rainbow in it!
We strolled along talking and enjoying the scenery and one another's company.
We were beneath a rock overhang. I began to say This looks like maybe.... but no.. could it be?
And Sharon was ahead of me. We were both scouting the rocks for that rock art painting from so long ago. She let out a holler and I knew.. SHE FOUND IT! Her reaction was priceless.
Her face was flushed pink and she was joyful and we were cheering. Right before us was the rock art painting dated to between 400 and 1000 years ago! Lobster man!
Lobster man.. see his claw hands?
We found it!
Our friend Ed Choate who has passed on and is in Heaven...was a skeptical somebody and a jokester. He claimed he was there when this was done. He said "He knowed who done that. It was not old, that it was a Tipton that done it." It is a running joke.
Ed was ever the skeptic and loved to play. I miss him a lot. We all do.
We did some cheering and hollering and hooting. We got Kenny back over there. He had the chainsaw out and was clearing more trail. He came and checked it out. He doubted this was it.
He did not relent until we got home and I had further proof. It was very satisfying.
We were elated. What a bonding experience finding something you've wanted to see. Something so special and old with a friend!
Sharon's joy and appreciation made it even more fun!
We headed back out of this holler and decided to go hunt morrel mushrooms. We went out to the spot where we've found them before. We did not find any. Everything is still too cold. We're about two weeks early. While standing there Kenny said "Do you hear that?" and we all got quiet and listened. We DID hear water running up in another holler! The stream there had a tiny bit of water in it, but not enough to make that racket. We followed the sound.
We bushwhacked about two hundred yards up the stream bed and found a pretty waterfall we have drive past a dozen times or more!
Kenny and Sharon at the falls.
I am naming this one Fifty Five Gallon Drum Falls because that is what stood out the most!
ha! See the old drum laying in the creek bed? It has a pipe sticking out. Someone was using it to collect water or something in the past.
What a lovely find and so worth the short 'swhack up there to visit it!
Foam flowers were beginning to bloom up there. Rue Anemone. Buttercups. It is a pretty spot.
There are two springs above it and one on the side of it. There is an old logging road over from it.
I want to revisit this spot when we've had plenty of rain and see what it looks like?!
We headed back to cook dinner at Sharon's place in Woo Hoo Holler.
She had bacon wrapped filets cooked on real hardwood charcoal. Grillin beans. Cheese bread with butter.
Pies for dessert in various flavors. Wine. Beer.
We ate like Elvis! We sipped wine and beer. We enjoyed one another's company and the conversation.
It is always a joy. We never want to leave this place. Lots of laughter and great times.
There are always plans of things we dream of doing the next go round.
In Magicmomma's Crystal Ball of the Future I see: All of us hunting for Franks Flume Cave
Clearing trails down into Lost Cane so I can see Spring wildflowers and waterfalls, Re-visiting
Big Sunk Cane, Finding out where those other trails go......... No end to the treasure to discover
in this wild and beautiful place. We needed it badly today. It did a lot to ease the soul sick feeling of loss.
In the future I see joy and hope. Thank you Lord!
Below are two videos from today.