MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: HIKING IN THE BIG SOUTH FORK

Monday, April 09, 2007

HIKING IN THE BIG SOUTH FORK

Most of you know I love to hike and that I have missed several lately because of my shoulder operation. You also now how I hated that I missed one with Dragons just last week, so Friday I made up for it!

The eight of us, 4 Dragons and 4 Knights, hiked a portion of the Grand Gap Loop in the Brandy Creek area, of the Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area, near Oneida, Tennessee. I would bet you that the small animals have only started working their way back into the canyon area today. There was more cackling going on than in a flight of black crows! I actually stopped once to try and determine if what I was hearing back down the trail were crows or my wife and her three sisters!

The Knights had a tendency to move out ahead of the Dragons, not simply to get away from them so we could hear the wildlife, but because we are a little more seasoned at hiking. So, every now and then we would stop and wait for them get into view, before heading off again. The return trip ended up being, one Knight and one Dragon, for the most part, stopping frequently to rest and help each other up the ladders.

The goal was to make it to Fall Branch Falls, about 2 miles, before doubling back to the parking lot for a picnic. We were probably on the trail about three hours. There was a lot of rock formations to exam, some wildflowers, and, of course, the falls to photograph. The trail itself is fairly level, with two places where you have to descend ladders to transfer from a higher trail to a lower one.

The rocky outcrops took thousands of years to form and they were laid down in easily discernable strata, some being deposited in opposite directions. The water running round and over the formations cut many hydraulic holes and other designs in the various strata over the eons.

It was a good day, but the temperature on the cool side. It was perfect for the hike, but when we tried to settle in for some food and beer, we ate as if we were starved so we could get back in the vehicles and warm up!

Click on the shots above to see a larger view, and there are more photos at Flickr!

See ya on the trail!

11 comments:

BRUNO said...

Last pic is MY favorite---The EATING portion of the hike!

Les Becker said...

Wow! Your trails look a lot like those we have around here. I doubt I'll get out on them much anymore, though, having lost my hiking partner. What are the chances of being adopted by a bunch of Dragons and Knights? Any?

Fathairybastard said...

You made it up those ladders with a lame wing? Good boy. Also, as the temps get a bit warmer, you might want to have the Dragons way out in front of you, make sure the bears keep their distance. Y'all have black bears up there don'tcha? They'll hear them comin' for miles around. Looks like a nutritious lunch too. Cheeto's and, what looks like stuffed eggs. Mmmmm!. Is that a box of cupcakes? Damn. The cave man is dead. RIP caveman. Seriously, beautiful trail. Jealous of your proximity to such a place.

Mushy said...

Seated on the right of the last pic, Bruno, is me and my Dragon! We heat everything over her red-hot hair! She's so easy to spot in Wal-Mart!

She's the same on jumping out from behind a tree in pic #2 from the top left, and one with the big marocas by the sign!

Sure, Les, if you can stand the heat from the Dragons, come on!

Mushy said...

Sorry to miss your comment FHB...yeah, it was turkey season Friday, so we thought they would either keep us safe or get us killed...depends on how dedicated a hunter is!

This park is 1 hour from home, about the same to the Smokey's, so we are surrounded by good parks and greenways.

Fathairybastard said...

Yea, I was gonna say, is that hunter orange on the wifes head?

Marie said...

I hope I get to have all the fun you do when I retire. . .

Jose said...

Oh man, one of these days I'm gonna start doing something fun like hiking. City boys like me are just too lazy. In the meantime I will continue to enjoy your hikes through your tales.

Suldog said...

That looks like such a great spot. Wish I was there...

Michele said...

We have a couple of parks around here with some great trails and falls. The 8-year-old is usually way out ahead of us while the 3-year-old and I bring up the rear! Hopefully it will warm enough this weekend to actually get out on the trail!

Kuanyin said...

Where are you hiding on Fuel My Blog...I'll add you as a friend if I can find you!

Betcha didn't know I like to hike 2!