The holidays and getting the new year started slowed progress a bit, but we were able to complete tagging every page with its current short comings. Now, if there are improvement needs, the trail page has a banner highlighting the potential improvements, and anyone reading the page can see how they can help. Needs include everything from more pictures, trail description detail, to GPS logs. With that complete, I will now turn my attention to trail searching. I’ve played with it a bit and have a basic working version, but the aesthetics need some improvement before it’s ready for the non-engineer. Beyond that, others have added details about Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area and its trails. There have also been updates to the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and several GPS track file updates to trails throughout our area. Progress continues and we hope you find it useful and will one day help out as well.
Holidays and getting the new year started slowed progress a bit but we were able to complete tagging every page with its current short comings. Now, if there are improvement needs, the trail page has a banner highlighting its potential improvements of how anyone reading the page could possibly help. Everything from needing more pictures, a trail description detail, to needing GPS logs. With that complete I will now turn my attention to trail searching. I’ve played with it a bit and I have a basic version working, but it will need some improvements for aesthetics before it’s ready for the non-engineer. Beyond that, others have added details about Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area and its trails. There have also been updates to the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and several GPS track file updates to trails throughout our area. Progress continues and we hope you find it useful and hope one day you’ll help out as well.
I updated a good amount of content during the month of October, including Rogers Ridge Horse Trail, Bays Mountain, and Warriors’ Path State Park . It’s becoming too much work to go out hiking! As for the inner workings, I’ve turned back on anonymous edits and user account creation. It’s working great to stop the vandals, but still no new editors have been contributing. I’ve also started a concept of “hike plans.” These will be pages that assemble a collection of trail hikes into a single plan. Bays Mountain and their network of trails are prime examples of needing hike plans. An 11 miles tour of structures within the park is an early example. I call it the Bays Mountain Structure Tour and will lead this hike as part of the fall Expo.
Speaking of contributing, it is a wiki and, yes, we would love your help. We have documented 168 trails, some with little more than just their trail name, and I know there are many more within a 2-4hr drive that we haven’t even listed yet. Although I promise that wiki editing is easy and that you can’t permanently mess it up (all edits are saved, past versions can be reviewed, and edits can always be undone), you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any desired corrections. But get in there, try out wiki editing, and help make this site the resource to find out about great hikes in our area.
Rogers Ridge Horse Trail is an in-and-out 6.87 mile long ridge line trail. It’s a long hill climb trail for a day hike but near the end, the 360° views of the surrounding ridge lines all make it worth it. A side benefit of this hike is being able to reach the Tri-State Corner Knob junction of TN-NC-VA. The trail begins in the Horse Ridge Scenic Area of the Cherokee National Forest past Damascus near Laurel Bloomery, TN. Horses are allowed, but on a recent October 2015 trip, there was little evidence of them. Although clearly marked at the trail head that ATV/ORV vehicles were not allowed, signs of their recent presence was along the entire trail. The hike begins with an immediate creek crossing that has neither a bridge or decent rocks to hop across, but this will be the last time you see water. Although guide books mention some camp sites along the way with water access, we didn’t see them. The trail wastes no time in getting to your 3,201 feet of climbing as it’s nearly a consistent slope up to the summit. The trail itself is very well marked with Yellow rectangle blazes, but several unmarked and well worn trails connect along the way. It may be possible that one of them connects to the Gentry Creek Falls trail that would make for a nice loop trail. The trail itself is wide with a clear “two-track” appearance with the occasional water logged rut to walk around. While not noticed on the ascent, the descent can be challenging for the ankles as there are several sections of loose rocks fist sized and smaller.
After hiking for 5.33 miles with glimpses through the trees of mountains and neighboring ridge lines, you finally enter a clearing to enjoy the views. The trail may “officially” end here as the previously well blazed path now lacks markings, but you can continue on to enjoy the views. From here you can take a side trip to the south to get an early view of the surrounding ridge lines and valley including Grandfather Mountain. Continuing on the trail to the north, you reach another bald clearing that could suit well for camping, especially large groups. The only reservation I myself have about camping here is the apparent frequent use of ORV’s here. From this higher elevation, there are views of Whitetop Mountain and Mt Rogers Mountain to the northeast. Throughout these tree bald clearings, blackberry bushes appear to be growing rampant. If you can tolerate the thorns, the blackberry picking in the summer must be unlimited! In a bald clearing to the east towards the state line is the trail high point in the final bald clearing. Although various sources differ on the exact measurement, we measured by GPS at 4,900 feet. The ridge top home seen to the south appears to have been severely vandalized. Although unfortunate for the owner, one can only hope that one day this majestic ridge line and profile can be returned to its original natural glory. After the high point, the trail begins to consistently descend for the first time, and ends at a trail/road. Turn left to continue the descent to find the Tri-State Corner Knob, the (at least at one time) terminus of this trail.
When visited in October of 2015 the hike was an enjoyable day of near complete solitude. The only encounter was a couple in a truck near the trail terminus. Unexpectedly we found the tree colors to be apparently in their early stages to the south and west, and finding only bare trees to the north and east. Regardless, the day of fresh air, views, and exercise was more than enough to make this a great trail to visit that you should consider as well.
Have you seen our Trail Wiki yet? You should; it’s chock full of great information for whatever you need trail related in our area, whether it be a list of trails near waterfalls, hard trails, trails near Kingsport, the AT, or more. Did you know it’s a wiki just like Wikipedia, meaning we all can contribute? Well maybe it’s a little daunting, so I’m going to try a new installment called the Monthly Trail Wiki Challenge. If you’re not comfortable adding it yourself, just send it to me and I’ll take care of it. Each month I’ll ask for something we are missing from the Trail Wiki. Maybe it’s a picture of azaleas in bloom or a frozen waterfall, or a detailed description of a trail, or a GPS log for a trail; anything that would be helpful to others trying to decide their next outing.
This month we’ll try Limestone Cove Trail just south of Johnson City near Unicoi. Use the wiki to find out how to get there if you don’t know where it is. This time I’m asking for some pictures and a GPS log. If you have either already or this inspires you to check it out, please send them to me and I’ll get them incorporated. If you’re interested in trying your hand at editing, we can work on that as well. Good luck and thanks for helping our Trail Wiki!
May’s meeting was about the new Trail Wiki. We had several people show up very interested to see more of what has already been done (although we still have a long way to go). The discussion ranged from “what’s a wiki” to how to do some basic editing (it’s really not that hard); but probably most importantly, how to find useful information. Users of the site can search by interest, by difficulty, by area, alphabetically, by choosing from a map, or several other ways to find trails. Many people were interested to hear that they could help those editing the site by offering pictures and GPS logs of their hikes. As always, please check out the site, find a trail, get out there, and update the description of what there is to see. If you see something missing or that we got something wrong, do not hesitate to hit that edit button, make your changes, maybe hit preview to see if it will look like you expect, and then save it. We’ve got a few people who routinely watch the “Recent Changes” page and, if needed, will help you with any changes you’ve made.
Unfortunately if you weren’t there, you missed HardCore 2011. The work on Pond Mountain was tough but the sense of accomplishment of making trail in those conditions is great. Full write up coming soon. This week it looks like you have some good opportunities to learn and have fun.
Wildflower Hike to Grassy Ridge on Wednesday starting in the morning
Club meeting at Eastman (open to outsiders) on Wednesday, main topic the new Trail Wiki
Hike for your Heart in Bristol on Saturday, a chance to hike and raise money
Hike Big Yellow Mountain to Little Hump! on Saturday. The details are scarce, but the notice says a celebration about a partnership between Highland Brewing Co., USFWS, and SAHC with refreshments at the end of the hike. Just saying!
Ah, a spring walk on a warm Sunday afternoon! With area temperatures reaching 87˚F, the shaded Doe River Gorge offered a comfortable hike while viewing and photographing the early wildflowers (wild ginger, yellow and wake robin trilliums, longspur, bleeding hearts, fire pink, and more). The three cars for the eight folks from TEHCC converged from different directions at the camp around 1:45. A surprise was when more cars with another 21 people pulled up at that same time. During the hike, we figured out that two hiking clubs had arrived coincidently for the same hike. Thus the trip was enjoyed with the “Little Lost Hikers” from Linville, NC (including some Boy Scouts from two troops). A real benefit was their wildflower expert who helped with identification. (FYI, looks like more flowers would be in bloom in early to mid-May.) The 5-mile hike was completed in roughly three hours. From TEHCC were Troy Greenwald, his daughter Ella, and mother Joan Amato, Sharon Burnette, Solange Adams, Serita Blankenbecler, and Cinda Foglesong.
Details of this trail have been captured in the new club wiki, including the wildflower pictures and identification. This shared knowledge could be useful to others for deciding where to hike and explore in the region.
Come to this month’s meeting to learn about the details of using and how you can contribute to our new trail wiki site. Come learn how you can navigate our new wiki and use it to find trails that interest you. We’ll even cover how you can help contribute to the site by either directly editing yourself or by providing the information for others to use in editing. Bring a sack lunch to enjoy while talking with others. The program starts at noon and we plan to be finished by 12:45 to give travel time for those who may have a 1PM meeting. Location is at Eastman in Kingsport B150 Room C. If you’re not an Eastman employee but are interested in attending contact Tim Schaefer to arrange a visitor pass.