For the Record – Spring Wildflower Hike, May 9, 2015

Joe DeLoach reporting

For this year’s installment of our annual spring wildflower hike, we chose the Appalachian Trail from Highway 19E to Doll Flats.  Our record of 40 species was found years ago between 19E and the edge of Hump Mountain, and we might have matched that if we’d gone further this year, finding 31 varieties without going beyond Doll Flats.  Showy orchis and fringed phacelia highlighted the lower elevations, moving into erect trilliums and wood anemones in the middle, with early spring trout lilies hanging on at Doll Flats.  The flower of the day was jack in the pulpit; we saw some great specimens and a lot of them in the upper half of the hike.  We also saw evidence of much hard work by dedicated TEHCC volunteers who had cut and peeled locust logs, some quite large, and stakes for Trail rehabilitation with HardCore the following weekend.  Doll Flats makes a great place for a siesta on a warm sunny day.  Joe lost his bet with Kim that we would find more species of flowers than we would see Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, and it wasn’t close.  Next year we’ll shoot for earlier in the spring and the different varieties it brings. Hikers for this outing were Serita Blankenbecler, Phyllis Cairnes, Denise Hardin, Kim Peters, and Joe DeLoach.

Stan Murray Inducted into the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame

Stan Murray will be inducted into the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame on June 5, 2015.

Stan Murray photo

The application cites the following three accomplishments and more…

While serving as Board Chairman of the ATC for 14 years, Murray played a major role in getting the National Trails System Act passed in 1968 to establish the Appalachian and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails and authorize a national system of trails to provide additional outdoor recreation opportunities and to promote the preservation of access to the outdoor areas and historic resources of the nation.

He was president of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy for 11 years, and was later named its first executive director. The SAHC acquired thousands of acres of the majestic mountains along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee through which the A.T. passes. He also led the Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club’s 74-mile relocation of the A.T. from its original route on roads and valleys to the present spectacular route through the Highlands of Roan.

Murray was one of the first advocates of the greenway concept, which led to the present trail corridor through which the A.T. passes. He led ATC’s move to a permanent headquarters facility in Harpers Ferry and hiring a full-time executive director and other important staff positions. He passed away in 1990 at age 67.

Judy Murray will be attending the June 5th Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame banquet in Boiling Springs, PA to accept the award on behalf of her late husband. TEHCC is proud to claim the leadership of honoree Stan Murray among its history.

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail – Saturday, May 23

Leader: Vic Hasler (423-238-0388)

Rating: ~8 mile round trip hike with 1600 ft elevation climb and return

The Overmountain Men marched in 1780 to join the Revolutionary War at the Battle of King’s Mountain. This portion of the route in the Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area was improved during 2007 to provide a better trail. We’ll start with open meadows (closing any gates used since livestock is grazed in the area) and then along the Left Prong of Hampton Creek. Spring wildflowers are expected. Forest is entered and the hike continues up Yellow Mountain to reach the Appalachian Trail. We’ll head another 0.2 miles to Overmountain shelter for lunch. Return by mostly same route except jumping over onto Birchfield trail on the other side of the creek. Let’s meet in Colonial Heights at 8AM. The 1.5 drive route can be arranged to pick up folks in Johnson City. Bring plenty of water and lunch. No dogs on this hike since a nature preserve. Return to Kingsport between 5-6PM.

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.