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Burgess Falls State Park

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It has been awhile since I’ve been on the trail so today I decided to head off to Burgess Falls State Park.

Here’s a little history on the area (taken from Wikipedia):

Burgess Falls is named after Tom Burgess, a Revolutionary War veteran who settled along this section of the Falling Water River in the 1790s. The Burgess family used the river’s rapids to power a grist mill and eventually a saw mill which supplied early settlers with corn meal and lumber.

In 1924, the City of Cookeville built an earthen dam along the river a mile or so upstream from Burgess Falls. After a flood destroyed the dam in 1928, the city replaced it with a concrete dam that provided the area with electricity until the arrival of the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1944. Due in large part to calls from Cookevillians to protect the area, Burgess Falls State Park was established in 1971. Part of a pipeline bridge still spans the river in the vicinity of Little Falls. The pipeline originally crossed the river into a tunnel on the north walls of the gorge and emerged to cross the river again near Middle Falls en route to a powerhouse.

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Upper Falls

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Middle Falls

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Lower Falls

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Here’s a short video!

 

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Oscar Blevins Farm Loop Big South Fork National Park

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It’s been too long off the trail. Life, Work stress and all things have gotten in the way of something I really enjoy and it was time to head out on the trail again! I decided to go to BSF and give the Oscar Blevin’s Loop Trail a go. The trail is rated easy and only 3.7 miles in length. At the trail head be sure to pick up the pamplet named “A Guide to the Oscar Blevins Loop Trail”. Certain sections of the trail are numbered with a wood post and the guide will describe what the area was.

Quoting the guide, here is a little info on Oscar and Ermon Blevins:

“Oscar and Ermon Blevins were typical of many people who once lived in this area. They preferred to live an independent, self-sufficient lifestyle. They earned a living for themselves by working their small farm. Oscar supplemented his income by hunting and trapping the surrounding forest. Both have deep ancestral roots in the area. Their families were among the first permanent settlers in the Big South Fork region in the early 1800’s. Oscar and Ermon would have continued to live and work their farm had not their property been purchased by the government in 1980 for inclusion in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Oscar Blevins passed away in 1989 and Ermon Blevins died in 1994.”

With all the hustle and bustle of today’s lifestyle it’s nice to envision a simpler life. Pic’s and video of the hike below!

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Slippery foot bridges!

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Today’s temp’s were absolutely perfect for hiking.  It was overcast with a chance of rain but I managed to avoid the rain showers and really had a good time getting back on the trail.  Until next time folks!  Short video below:

 

Colditz Cove State Natural Area & Northrup Falls

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A friend of mine told me about this area a few weeks ago and I’ve been meaning to stop by and check it out.  I got up this morning with the idea to do that very thing, so I grabbed a quick breakfast, gassed up the Jeep and road trip!

The waterfall in this area was named for the family who settled there and operated a mill above the falls back in the 1800’s.  The high cliffs and cave like overhangs at the falls and along the creek gorge were once used by cliff-dwelling Woodland Indians over 3,000 years ago!

A few photos to take you along the way…

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I sat here for a good 40 minutes just listening and taking it all in.

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This area is a cool find, relaxing and just really enjoyable to finally see.

Below is a short video!

Overnighter at Big South Fork O&W Bridge Trail!

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The fellas and I finally got back out on the trail for an over night camping trip. Real life, time schedules, etc.. has kept us from an overnight for far too long. Kelvin, Darrin and I were lucky enough to get out of work early and were able to hike in, setup camp, and gather firewood before Jason came in. Jason came in solo and was able to get into camp around dusk. We sat around for a little bit and started feeling rain drops and seeing flashes of lightning in the distance. You see..Jason has this bad habit of bringing in the rain on almost all over night camping trips he’s a part of. He didn’t disappoint on this trip! Jason quickly setup his tent and by that time everyone was taking shelter from the rain. I hadn’t brought any rain gear, so I went inside my tent while the other guys got under Darrin’s tarp. We all sat (I lied down) down and just BS’ed for about an hour or so, I believe Darrin ate the whole time. He brought in about 3 lbs of food and I believe he was trying to lighten the load for the hike out the next day.

Late night brought clear skies and the moon. It was very bright, but later on in the morning the clouds moved in and it started to rain again. The morning was foggy and I decided to walked down to the O&W Bridge to see the sun trying to burn off the fog. The rest of the morning was spent hanging out, eating pan cakes and just chilling before hiking out to the trail head.

Pic’s of the trip…

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Setting up camp.  Darrin and Kelvin like to hang from trees.  I’m thinking they are more evolved than I am. 🙂

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Heading out to filter water for the evening.

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This area is very popular so finding wood is a bit of a challenge.  We ventured out of camp a ways and found a couple dead trees that we cut up into pieces and pulled down into camp.  Darrin a/k/a McGyver has his homemade saw which came in very handy.

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Kelvin supervising and me documenting the supervising.

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Ah, we made Fire!!!

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Morning in the REI Half Dome Plus.  Love the extra room but not the weight.  I’m probably going to find a lighter two man version of this.  Also the O&W bridge right before the sun burnt the fog away.  Very nice hearing this river all night and being able to walk out to it in the morning.

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Stopped by the visitor center and picked up a good map of the area.

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Video of the trip below:

Chimney Top’s Trail GSMNP

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This Sunday, the son and I decided to take a road trip over to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and hike the Chimney Top’s Trail. I’ve been itching to do this trail for some time and with it being only 4 miles round trip, it was about the length we needed so that we could be back earlier Sunday evening.

The trail climbs about 1,400 feet in 2 miles and definitely makes for a steep trail. With all the rain from the previous day the trail was muddy in spots, but I have to say the trail crews have been busy and have made a lot of improvements. The construction is still in progress. The Trails Forever program is a cool program that’s getting this type of work done on many of the trails within the GSMNP. Check them out here.

For most of the hike, it was really foggy with a little drizzle. I was at first disappointed that we wouldn’t have the great views, but the fog actually added to the experience of the trail and I’m so glad we decided to go ahead and do it regardless of the weather. If you wait for the weather, you’ll never do anything! Below are some pics along the way…

Map of the area.

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Below is the new bridge that washed out in 2013.

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At this point you make a right to go on up to the Chimney Tops.  If you stay straight, you’ll come out at Newfound Gap and can continue out on the Appalachian trail towards Charlie’s Bunion.

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AJ exploring the base of the rock climb to the top.

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On the way back down, the sun starts to shine through the clouds.

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Here’s a Runkeeper of the hike.  Short video below.  Thanks for dropping by!

O&W Trail and Devil’s Den

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Hey guys!  Decided to head out on the trail again this weekend.  I’m having trouble at this point finding trails that don’t require me to drive 2+ hours to get too.  That’s ok, I’m ready to branch out, but this weekend I had limited time on Saturday so I decided to re-hike the O&W trail in Big South Fork National Park.  I’ve done this trail about 5 times now and it’s a nice 5 miler that goes along side the Big South Fork river, ascends some and ends at the O&W Bridge, which use to be a railroad bridge but now you can drive across.  Just this last week, I had heard that if you go on across the bridge you can jump onto a trail that will take you up to Devil’s Den.  After crossing the bridge, the sign said .5 miles to Devil’s Den and even though I needed to be heading back, I decided to hike on up and check it out.  Yes, I said UP.  That portion is entirely up.  Did I say it was up?  But at only .5 miles, it’s not too bad.  Ok, I decided to sit down once but what the hell, it was right next to a waterfall and why not take some time and take it all in?

Pic’s below:

Started off from my little “cabin”.  Went down to it Friday night for some much needed relaxation!

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Video below and Runkeeper here:

Burnt Mill Bridge Loop Trail

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Hey guys, thought I would update the blog with another hike from Big South Fork today.  I promise I’ll start branching out soon and doing some hiking in another area, most likely in the Smoky Mountains.  Today’s hike was a moderate 3.6 miler, even though I ended up doing closer to 5 miles because I thought I had missed a trail and had to backtrack, then return to my original location.  Pic’s below!

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Could barely find a parking place!

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The trail was really wet in a lot of places.  With all the rain we’ve had lately, I was unsure if the trail would be underwater since this is the first time doing this trail.  Other trails in BSF like O&W, Angel Rapids, etc.. are not passable after heavy rains.  I lucked out at the end (shown above).  2 days ago, this area was flooded and would have required backtracking the whole trail or up to a road crossing and walking the road back.  Either way would have doubled the mileage.

Had a blast today, was nice to be out in the beautiful weather and enjoy some much needed sunshine!

Thanks for tuning in.  Runkeeper here.  Short video below:

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