The water level on Watauga lake as receded and the A.T. along the lake has been reopened.
Due to recent heavy rains, TVA has raised Watauga Lake and several areas of Appalachian Trail are under water. The trail is temporarily rerouted on US 321 and Oliver Hollow Road. Signs are posted and route is blue blazed. If heading trail north on Shook Branch Road, cross US 321 and walk left or west along US 321 for about a quarter mile and then go right along Oliver Hollow Rd. Follow the road for a third of a mile and take the short woods path to the right to the A.T.
Wildflowers are popping out around the region. The picture was taken along the Fall Creek Trail in Warriors Path State Park in mid-April. The club would love to see photos of what you see in the region.
We have a water conditions report from an area hiker. This was in early November. Hopefully this will improve with the rain in the forecast this week.
Iron Mountain Gap to TN 19E Water Report. I hiked with a good group of people over this section on November 11-13, 2016.
Here is a report on water based on listings in the AWOL guide (going north):
- Campsite 1.3 North of Iron Mountain Gap: Did not check due to being .1 off the trail
- Greasy Creek Gap: Did not check due to being .2 off the trail
- Clyde Smith Shelter: Had lunch here and took the time to walk down to check out the water source. No water available. Ground was not even damp.
- Water .4 North of Hughes Gap: Damp ground by no water
- Ash Gap: Very low flow of water. We had to build a dam and clear a path for the water. One of the crew used a piece of PVC to try and get the top water, but it was still sludge. Between engineering, low flow, filtering through a bandana, and then through a Sawyer, it took us almost two hours to get six clean liters of water. If it had not been at dusk and we were not tired, we would have moved on. I would not count on the water here.
- Roan High Knob Shelter: Slow steady flow with good pool to dip from.
- Footbridges/Streams south of Carvers Gap: Low flow. Would need to dig or find a hole to dip from.
Springs .2 North of Grassy Ridge Bald: Good flow running right across the trail. One was piped and the other could easily be dipped from.
- Stan Murray Shelter: Did not check due to earlier reports of being dry and frequently dry.
- Overmountain Shelter: Good flow
- Doll Flats: Very low flow. Took almost five minutes to get 1.5 liters. There was good flow coming from a spring running across the trail about .5 south of Doll Flats.
- Doll Flats to 19E: The next water we saw was the stream that was alongside 19E and that ran about .5 south of 19E.
UPDATE: Laurel Fork Shelter continues to be temporarily closed because of the July 8th high wind storm. While the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) removed the hazard tree in front of the shelter, there are two oak trees and a large locust tree still laying on roof. The major concern is a , which will require an expert sawyer from USFS to remove.
Closure signs have been posted at the shelter trail junctions. Please do not plan to visit or even stay in its vicinity until the storm damage has been safely cleared.
August 19, 2016 photo:
This is the continuation of the “Hike the TEHCC A.T.” series. We made it to Hughes Gap last month. Now it’s time to hike the balds! If you’ve wanted to hike large sections of the A.T. but avoid the in-and-out, here’s your chance. We’ll need roughly half to help participate in shuttling. This leg will be from Hughes Gap to the Barn Shelter. We’ll take the Overmountain Victory Trail for trail access. Contact email@example.com for details. Past and future hikes are being detailed at Hike Plans:2016 TEHCC AT
April 2016: Two nights of bear encounters have been recently reported at the Watauga Lake Shelter. The bears were seeking food, thus destroyed a pair of tents, able to shake a bag off the bear pole, and climbed trees for hanged bags.
The US Forest Service has reinstated a Closure Order similar to the previous one which now covers Oliver Hollow Rd./Hwy 321 to Wilbur Dam Rd. – approximately four miles of the Appalachian Trail along the west side of Watauga Lake. No picnicking, lingering, or overnight camping. Hiking, only, allowed on the named four mile Appalachian Trail section. BEARS ACTIVE IN THIS AREA. Help us protect you and the bears. Please hike through the area without stopping. Closure Order: April 15, 2016- Until Further notice.
For TEHCC members, the best recommendation is to avoid this “Oliver Hollow” area and enjoy another section of the Appalachian Trail. For thru-hikers, the word is being gotten out so that they can properly plan their distances. The temporary campsite located south of Hwy 321 above Shook Branch is available for use.
Tim Schaefer is interested in section hiking the TEHCC section of the AT this year (Spivey Gap to the Virginia border). He’s looking for car pooling and hike partner(s). This way he won’t have to do it twice going out and back. It also fits in well with the National Park Service’s program this year to hike 100 miles of trail and earn a pin or decal (see February newsletter). Since time, and more specifically hiking days are limited, he’s looking at possibly doing this in as few as seven outings. If this sounds too aggressive, contact him anyway as he may be encouraged to tone it down to be able to accomplish this. There are also others interested in achieving this same goal in not such an aggressive manner as well and we can get you in contact with them. If interested email Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org for some discussion, to do some planning, and start to get some events on the calendar.
Submitted by Vic Hasler
The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016. In celebration of its Centennial, several of the national parks are hosting 100-mile challenges. For the Appalachian Trail, everyone who hikes 100 miles or more — with at least one hike on the A.T. — during 2016 is eligible to receive a limited-edition Hike100 decal. Register by sending your name and email address to AT_Hike100@nps.gov to receive a simple official hiking log. Enter dates, where, and miles to reach the 100-mile goal, and then send it back when you’re done. Other national parks in the region announcing similar challenges include GSMNP and New River Gorge.