Garlic Mustard Challenge – Sat. May 2

In 2015, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is challenging itself and volunteers (link) to pull 2,189 pounds of the invasive plant, garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), from the Trail corridor (one pound for every A.T. mile). In the south, we’ll need to pull garlic mustard in April, before it goes to seed. This event is to tackle a known infestation around Devils Creek Gap, north of Spivey Gap. The control work will be completed by hand-pulling as the plants are small and removed easily. The weeds will be bagged and weighed before proper disposal. Appropriate equipment for the day includes work gloves, boots or sturdy shoes, and suitable attire for variable spring weather plus lunch and water.

Maintenance Summary:

The goal of one pound per trail mile was almost achieved in a single day.  Four large, heavy duty trash bags were filled with 129 pounds of blooming garlic mustard plants pulled from along the north-bound trail, at the USFS road crossing and a couple of side spurs, and along a nearby clearing edge.  In addition, three smaller bags of aluminum cans for recycling and trash for disposal were hauled out.  A steady stream of backpackers passed through this gap – with a few stopping to learn about invasive species.  The club will need to return next year to continue breaking the biennial cycle for garlic mustard.

F/B: Rock Creek Falls (Erwin) – Sunday, June 1, 2014

Leader: Brien Lewis, 615-828-8206, chair@tehcc.org

Rating: Medium 3-mile hike up and back along a cascading stream to a pair of waterfalls

Forest Service Trail #148 follows the Rock Creek as it winds up the hollow. Being June, white rhododendron blooms should fill some areas. We will leave at 1 pm for the 45-minute drive.  There is a $2 cash per car day-use fee at USFS Rock Creek Recreation Area. There are four creek crossings which can be “rock hopped” on stepping stones.  Otherwise, bring water shoes and a towel to dry your feet, if you plan on just wading across.

For the 50th Anniversary of Wilderness Act, the Cherokee National Forest is featuring this specific hike in the Unaka Mountain Wilderness area.  Group size is limited to 14.

F/B: Doe River Gorge – Sunday, May 11, 2014

Leader: Vic Hasler, 423-239-0388

Rating: Easy 5 mile round trip hike along a railroad grade with just 230 ft elevation gain

A hike to bring mom – and the family along. An easy afternoon walk up a beautiful hollow and back. Pass through a pair of tunnels. Enjoy the spring wildflowers in bloom. Leave Colonial Heights at 1:00PM or Johnson City at 1:20PM to arrive at the trailhead in Hampton by 2PM. Doe River Gorge has their own permission form which must be completed by the group and put into a drop box at the parking lot. Expected return is roughly 6PM.

Spring Wildflower Hike – Gentry Falls, Saturday, May 3, 2014

Leader: Joe DeLoach , 423-753-7263
Rating: Dry and beautiful!
Gentry Falls, sometimes called Gentry Creek Falls, is one of Northeast Tennessee’s more unusual and lesser-known waterfalls. There are two drops, each about 35-feet high, in a rocky gorge with prolific spring wildflowers. Also beautiful in the fall with great foliage, formerly it was more challenging in the spring with about 15 creek wades in the 2.3-mile walk (each way) to the falls. Recent work by the Cherokee National Forest though has resulted in stepping stones at all the creek crossings. The crossings are all quite navigable, though hiking poles won’t hurt. A scouting trip indicated that the flowers are going to be super, one of the best of any of our Spring Wildflower Hikes which date back to 1992. Also, it is not at all a steep hike; so suitable for all ages. We’ll meet in Colonial Heights in the parking lot between McDonald’s and State of Franklin Bank at 8:30 on Saturday May 3. We’ll go through Abingdon and Damascus, so there won’t be a Johnson City meeting point. Bring lunch, which we’ll plan to have at the falls. Please contact Joe in advance if you’re interested, or for more information.

Wilderness First Aid Course – Saturday-Sunday, March 22-23

The Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts and Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club are sponsoring a Wilderness First Aid course taught by Landmark Learning. The official registration form is obtained here. Course fee is $137. Check for the course fee is payable to Landmark Learning, but being collected by Scott Fisher. For current TEHCC members, a limited number of $50 scholarships are available (rebate upon successful completion). Contact a Steering Committee member to apply.

On Friday evening prior (March 21st), an optional CPR class is being offered for those wanting to become CPR certified/re-certified. This is a separate class and participation in one is not required to take the other. Cost is $45. To encourage the training, current TEHCC members can apply for $20 rebate scholarships to knock the price down to same as Red Cross. The same info packet is used.

Hike Report: Rocky Fork—Flint Creek Battle Site, Nov 10, 2013

Vic Hasler reporting
On a gorgeous, late fall, Sunday afternoon, one car carrying David Kossor, Gerald Scott, Marc Schurger, and Vic Hasler took the 50-minute drive to the trailhead arriving at 2PM. With an early 5:30PM sunset, long shadows were already creeping into the valley. Leaves thickly covered the gravel road which runs along the cascading Rocky Fork stream. Back on wintery January 10, 1789 morning, John Sevier and his men had to walk or ride horses in snow along or in the cold flow – pulling “grasshopper” field cannon with three pound balls/canister shot. A portion of the troops were also sent over Flint Mountain to close the retreat path. Upon reaching Flint Creek, we discovered that a large blowdown across the stream has been converted into a simple bridge, thus affording a quick and dry passage. The Indian encampment site was in the bottomlands where the two creeks merged. Sevier reported determining their exact location from the smoke of their campfires. The wet weather caused the gunpowder to not function, so the battle quickly evolved into hand-to-hand combat with sword and tomahawk. The encounter was no longer than an hour, leaving a “bloody field” per the governor’s report. For the hikers, we could see the regrowth forest in the lowlands, but could only imagine what occurred on that snowy morning. We hiked to the upper end where the Flint Trail continues following the creek up to the ridgeline at the A.T., and then turned back. A nice easy three-mile hike was enjoyed.  Some will be back next year to pursue fishing, and a hike to the top of White House Cliffs as a newly cut trail was observed.

Vehicle vandalism and theft reported at AT trailheads in Tennessee

May 12th: Forest Service has reported that there have been a number of vehicle vandalisms along US-421 at least from South Holston Lake to AT trailhead.  A personal vehicle at trailhead recently had a window broken out.  Recommendation is to not leave any vehicles here until this issue is resolved by local law enforcement.

May 24th: Hikers on Roan Mountain reported that a thief broke into their car by smashing a window and prying open the glove compartment.  The thief stole purses, wallets, a cell phone and other items stored in the glove compartment when they parked their vehicle at Carvers Gap on Tenn. Highway 143.