Monday, January 18, 2016

BIG SINK! 123'

BIG SINK 123' 

Saturday January 16, 2016

Dana & Kenny Koogler 

3.5 miles RT bushwhack 
20 mile RT ride

  Saturday January 16, 2016 was the first opportunity we had after hunting season ended to go into the Big Bottom Unit TWRA land to explore Big Sink.   I have listed the way point for it above.  
I also provided the BEFORE link to the blog entry I wrote about hunting sink holes to prove they contained waterfalls.   Out of eight sink holes listed I have explored one and I did find waterfalls a plenty in that one!   Many questions answered.  More questions raised by going in there!  

     Access was both more and less problematic than anticipated.  I predicted accurately that 1. we'd be able to reach them with out fording the Caney Fork and 2.  That there was a road or trail going all the way back in there.  We did not have to ford the Caney Fork so I was right on that.  There IS a trail going all the way back. We did not find it amidst the maze of trails in there until we had bushwhacked all the way there and were on our way back.   We finally figured out how to get there by trail and rode all the way back to where we had just explored!  We were then able to go back out closing our ride as a loop.   Once again we were successful, but we still managed to make it harder than it had to be.     

         We parked off Hwy 285 in Mooneyham and rode from there.  We got down in there and encountered a maze of trails.  We knew we had never been to some of this stuff before. We found out that Big Bottom Unit is far larger than we ever figured!  We ended up parking the RZR and locking it down and walking up the creek bed toward the waypoint.  We arrived at the first interesting thing at 
Little Sink Branch.  It was a low, wide cascade which falls and enters a swallet.   It was very pretty.
We had our lunch here.  

First Cascade on Little Sink Branch

Huge boulder sitting along the waterfall on Little Sink Branch

  We got going after we finished eating.  We worked our way to the right, forded the shallow stream, picked up the trail right above this and for awhile we did not bushwhack.  We walked a logging road.
We then left the road again and entered the woods and went right up a holler.   We eventually found the logging road again.  We continued on until we came to an old man made structure!  It was very weird seeing this hut out in the middle of nowhere.  It was likely a two room bunk house for loggers.

We also saw old bed springs, parts of a stove, human debris and trash.   

  Next we came to a chimney pile about 275 ft from the rim of the Big Sink 123' which pinged 
at this spot.  

 Mossy rocks of a dry stone chimney from a former house.
 This is what it looked like when the GPS pinged we had reached "Big Sink"

I could hear water back in that round hole.  It looks like it is a manmade entrance into the bank.  Maybe a spring house or a cold storage or both! 

         Kenny had continued on ahead of me and so I leisurely strolled on.  
I figured we'd come this far. I knew we were not quite at the very back of Big Sink.. the larger landform.   I wanted to make it all the way to the back. The old logging road continued. Kenny nowhere in sight so I went onward.   It was flat here.  I am walking through the flat bottom of a sink hole a lot like in White Oak Sinks in the Smokies!   I finally caught sight of Kenny ahead of me and he was yodeling for me to come on ahead.  I could see a big grin on his face.  A few steps more and I could hear water. I knew he had found something good!

Walking along the old logging road thru Big Sink.  Barren woods.

Beautiful waterfall at the back of Big Sink!

It flows right out of the rocky bluff and back into the ground.  All around are mossy, huge boulders!  Up the bluff to the right are more waterfalls and cascades!

Moss coats the boulders and trees

Another waterfall that flows thru the rocks and over them and re-enters the ground.

Beyond it is a rocky gully.  
Looking back down the gully beyond the one waterfall. No water!

 Pretty blue hole of water on up the stream. This stream does not have a name. 
Upper cascade on un-named stream. 

We climbed up the bluff and around the boulders and found more beauty!
We came down another way which was much easier.  Standing facing upstream you should pick the right side to go up. Either way will work but the right is easier and safer.

    We hiked back.  We found the RZR and our coats.   We played around until Kenny figured out which way lead to the falls. I was hollering by then because I was sure he was gonna drive us over  a cliff.     Yet he didn't and we made it!   We rode all the way there.
We went up and around to the left near the back of Big Sink and came out up in the pine plantation about 2 miles from the truck!  We had closed our loop.

         We had a great time. It was a beautiful adventure and very crazy and fun!
We got some exercise which I badly needed.  We figured it out.   We can hardly wait to go back for I am sure there is more to find!

 Below is a short video that shows the highlights of what we saw. 


  1. Thank you for your research, efforts, video, pictures and inspiration!! I want to see this, too. It looks like you two had a wonderful day!!

    1. Jan, you are most welcome! Thank you for taking time to read and comment. Glad you liked the trip report and what we found there! It was certainly worth the trip and could be considerably easier and shorter now that we know the way. I am not 100% clear on getting back. I look forward to returning to explore some more especially this Spring. Sink holes tend to be good places for wildflowers! :-) Let me know what you find when you go?! Exciting!


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