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Thread: Catching up on trail time - Savage Gulf

  1. #1

    Catching up on trail time - Savage Gulf

    Last hiking thread I posted was in 2015, so I guess another one's overdue. Since I've been on a bunch of solid hikes over the past year or so, I'll just throw out a sampling of pics from the lot of them. Having two small children really limits my opportunities -- as does having an alarmingly gimpy left knee -- but I enjoy it as much as I ever did.

    I'll probably break the hikes up into separate posts to keep this from becoming too much of a huge picture dump. As always, if you've done any recent hikes or other wilderness wandering, feel free to share as well.

    South Cumberland State Park, Savage Gulf Natural Area (Tennessee) - March and April 2016

    This place is incredible, and my hikes only skimmed the surface. The most wildflowers I've ever seen in one place, waterfalls everywhere, and scenic views in every season. There is also a pocket of virgin forest in the park, but it's not near any of the 50 - 60 miles' worth of trails. (My brother and I took a stab at scrambling/falling down the side of a gorge to find it, but stopped midway down when we ran across a huge rock-field and one of its resident copperheads.) It's about an hour north/northwest of Chattanooga, and about two hours northeast of Huntsville.

    Rutledge Falls (Tullahoma, TN) - June 2016

    Not really much of a hike, but I'm throwing it in because it's a great place to hang out after touring the George Dickel distillery. My brother, my two-year-old, and I waddled around a wide expanse of ankle-high shallows above the falls for an hour or so.

    Last edited by Prediction? Pain.; 04-14-2017 at 02:00 PM.

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    Tesnatee Gap to Blood Mountain, Appalachian Trail (North Georgia) - October 2016

    This was a roughly 13-mile, one-way hike. Great weather, big views. Absolutely worth the drive from our cabin in Blue Ridge.

    What, you don't strap your Weber on your back when you hike? Alas, if only our team's performance against Kentucky that night match my performance with the brisket.

    Oh, and the lake-view picture isn't from the AT. It's from a spot we found maybe 100 yards off-trail while hiking a smaller, localized trail system near Blue Ridge.
    Last edited by Prediction? Pain.; 04-20-2017 at 10:02 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Barking 13's Avatar
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    Jul 2013
    Bulldog Hill, AL
    You ever do the Sipsey wilderness at Bankhead?
    cautiously optimistic

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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Barking 13 View Post
    You ever do the Sipsey wilderness at Bankhead?
    I haven't, but a friend of mine in Huntsville has been out there a number of times. From the pics he's sent me and the little bit of research I've done, it seems like an amazing place to hike in northern Alabama, up there with Walls of Jericho and DeSoto State Park (neither of which I've been to either, though I have a trip planned to DeSoto in a couple of weeks). Do you get out to Sipsey much? And if so, have you ever done any paddling there? I've heard good things about canoeing and kayaking in the Bankhead.

  6. #6
    Cumberland Trail State Park (In and around Signal Mountain, TN) - Nov. 2016 - Feb. 2017

    We recently moved and these spots are all along a trail that's within a 5 minute drive from our house. The first pic is actually from last September, but I thought it'd be cool to show the same spot across three seasons.

  7. #7
    Cumberland Trail, Piney River Segment (near Spring City, TN) - April 2017

    As is probably evident from this and other hiking posts, I hike the Cumberland Trail a lot. It's a still-in-the-works trail that runs more-or-less continuously atop the Cumberland Plateau from Chattanooga, TN to Cumberland Gap at the TN/VA/KY border. Around 200 miles are complete, with another 100 or 150 to go. Anyway, it's close to home, so that's a huge plus, but it really offers an amazing array of scenery. Scenic views, tons of waterfalls, mountain creeks and streams, ancient gorges with pockets of old- or second-growth forest, and an array of wildflowers. The biodiversity of the forests and streams that the trail runs through is ridiculous. Per the Nature Conservancy, the Cumberland Plateau "is the world?s longest hardwood-forested plateau and is widely considered one of the most biologically rich regions on Earth, rivaling the biodiversity of tropical rainforests." And per Vanderbilt's Bioimages database, it "represents one of the most biologically diverse temperate regions in the world," with "freshwater communities [that] are the richest temperate freshwater ecosystems in the world."

    Ok, tooting the trail's horn aside, these are from a recent 9-mile Cumberland Trail hike about an hour north of Chattanooga along the Piney River. The big suspension bridge near the end of the pics is 100' long (and yes, that's me, Baldy McBaldington, hanging out on it). Pretty damn impressive. Also, the one earlier on where I'm standing on a metal bridge overlooking some cascades was kind of freaky. The 70's-era bridge is just dangling in mid-air about 20 or 30 feet above the river.

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