Sunday, September 6, 2015

Trip Report: South Cumberland overnight

We went up to help out with the trail reroute and that did not work out, so we just went hiking.  We camped overnight at the Foster Falls car camping area, which was once the TVA campground.  It's been bought by the state, but it's walk-in only until they upgrade a few things.  So the only bathroom is across the parking area, no showers.  It will fall under the $3 per site fee that will be imposed after Labor Day this year.  It appears the only way to get a campsite after that date will be to reserve and pay ahead of time, online.

Chan uses her head to avoid glare!

We set up in 22 again.  We have stayed here a couple times before, it's good for hammocks because it has this little cleared spot.
All the sites have a lantern pole, table, fire ring and gravel tent pad.
Since we had brought both of my new backpacking tents, we used the packed dirt in the hammock area instead of trying to stake them on the gravel.

We were not even fully set up before the kids wanted to go for a hike.  I had no objections, we just needed to get our sleeping gear from the van and that could wait!

Ben and Chan were anxious to see the climbing platform they helped build, so everyone got on swimsuits and we hiked to the base of Foster Falls and over to the climbing trail.

It's still there, in great shape!

We walked down to their favorite swimming hole.  I set up the hammock and read, they stayed within earshot while clambering up and down the creek.
I don't know when to stop the 'being nearby'.  Chandler will be 18 on her birthday, Ben is nearly 16.
For now, they don't mind at all and it makes me feel better to know if there was a need, I would be right there.

See Ben?

My lovely hanging spot!  

We decided to take the climber's loop on around, the kids wanted to see Father Adamz campsite and the falls from above.  It's a 2 mile loop trail.

We climbed to the top of the bluff on what turned out to be Access Trail #1.  It was steep, but not hard, though my legs were sore the next day, so there was some haul to it.

The kids called these 'view look things'
From this view look, they could see a house.

Back on familiar ground!  This is the very end of the Fiery Gizzard Trail.

Sweet Benny.

Blurry shot of a ring necked snake.  It was so tiny!  We saw several of these, though the rest were like greased lightning and I did not even get the camera out before they were gone.

Not as many mushrooms as the previous 2 summers, but still quite a show.

Someone had set up camp at the base of the falls while we were hiking.  That's not an actual campsite.
It looked like a really BAD spot, the tent was caving in from the wind off the falls and was soaked.  I guess it's a really good spot to test your seam sealer!

The field at the top of the falls was filled with wildflowers!  The little stream was running and frogs were busy.  It was a Disney moment.

ALL except the dog.  These people at the overlook had a dog that did not stop barking, we heard it the whole hike.  YAP YAP YAP
Chan suggested we go somewhere, I imagine the vein in my forehead was visibly pulsing.

I asked where and since all 3 kids helped Park with his trail and Ben and Chan helped with the bridge (I hauled wood!) they wanted to go walk it.  So, we did.

Jake and Rho put all the trail markers up on this trail.

The boys decide to clean off the bridge.  Leaves!

We headed back to camp, the dog was gone!  We decided to just make dinner at the pavilion by the van, there was no need to carry everything to camp.  Plus, there was water at the pavilion.
Elan had rice noodles, Ben and Chan and I split a backpacker meal of creamy pasta with veggies. It was pretty good!  I made hot cocoa after and the kids played cards the whole time I was playing chef.
We cleaned up and dropped the kitchen gear at the van, brushed teeth and washed up at the bathroom and got our bedding and went to camp.

It was 59 for the low, so we all had extra blankets for snuggling in, since we did not have to carry them very far.  Everyone stayed warm, no problem.
I did not like camping at Foster Falls, the local people have dogs that bark back and forth ALL night and there was a dog camping and a dog at the caretakers who got in on it.  It was never quiet for long.  Then around 4 in the morning, the local rooster started crowing.

My morning view

We broke camp quickly and loaded the van.  We stopped at Dutch Maid for some goodies.  Elan can't eat gluten, so we were happy to find some peach jam for his GF bread he brought with him. Chandler got a watermelon moonshine bread and Ben picked a HUGE flaky thing crammed full of cream.  It made him sick the rest of the day.  :(  It was way too sweet.  Poor kid.   Chan helped him out with some of it, too!
I picked up a little loaf of sweet bread soaked in Jack Daniels that Matt and I shared when I got back home.

We arrived at Grundy Forest at 8:40 and brushed our teeth at the bathroom, filled water bottles and got our packs ready.  Then we waited for our ranger.  For the next 45 minutes. I called and left a message and we went by the visitor center to make double sure the work day was that day/time/location.  It just didn't happen.

The trail is 12.5 miles from Foster Falls and 13 from Grundy.  Why?

Elan has not seen much of the area, so the kids were game to show him a few old favorites.  We did the loop trail at Greeter Falls and hung out there a while.

See the raft in the above shot?  Elan carried it out!  

ALL the steps.  At the top of the shot are the spiral stairs that nearly ended my hiking career years ago.  I was terrified to go down them!  hahahaha.  It took me half an hour to get up the courage to get on them, this time, I did not even slow down, just plowed down them and kept walking.

Yay, Elan!

We decided to learn from his example and ended up carrying out even more trash!

I should have scaled this shot, they were so tiny!

Our next stop was Stone Door at Beersheba Springs, the place I would move to tomorrow.  I love that community, it's so pretty!

Kitteh at the ranger station!

Laurel Gulf

Okay.  Campsite (our next backpacking plan) is 3.2 miles from here.  45 degree angle below.

It's 2 different trails, but the kids were flabbergasted.

ew ew ew ew

Some fall color!

That there is an okay view.  And just a mile of fairly flat walking from the parking area, too!

We had to walk down the steps at the stone door.  

Elan and Chan were playing Eye Spy.
Since they had picked a spot to sit with only the view of a big tree right in front, they were trying to play using some dead hemlock needles in Chan's hand.  She would look at one, he would try to guess which one she was looking at.  You know, typical teen stuff.

More stairs.  This park loves their steps is all I can say.

It's a cowkiller ant in a spider web, but the ant sounded like a rattlesnake. I did some video of it so I could freak Matt out, too.

I got ahead of the kids, so I waited at the overlook for them to meander along.
While I was waiting, I tried stitching 2 photos to get a better overall shot of the view.  This one is not too bad!

The kitteh saw Ben and LEAPED off the roof and collapsed at his feet.

This is back at the parking area, now the campsite is only 2.9 miles away and the trail is headed off in the other direction!  Ben was really irritated at this point.  I guess we will have to see where exactly this migrating site might be!

Kitteh went to get some love off Elan.

We decided to follow the Moonpie in the Sky signs while we drove. The kids were getting ready for something more than trail snacks.

 Chan took shots out the window while I drove:

We ended up detouring for Tullahoma, hoping the Fazoli's there had GF pasta, but they didn't, so we went to Taco Bell.  Then came home.  :)