Archive for January, 2015

Wilderness and Longarm Branch Falls – 1-6-2015

Happy New Year ! My first hike of the brand new year would be to a triple set of waterfalls discovered by my hiking friend Tommy (Bol’Dar) Warden. We had the pleasure of documenting these falls and naming them to be listed on the TN Landforms Waterfalls website a few years ago. They are phenomenal falls with the middle set being some 150 feet tall. I would be accompanied on this trip with fellow waterfall enthusiasts Kenneth Woody and John Forbes. They picked me up at Hairnt-quarters around 10am and we were at the Longarm Branch trail head by 10:45 after a quick stop at the ‘Hitchin` Post’ so John could get his breakfast grub on.


Upper part of Middle Wilderness Falls


Posted on 27 January '15 by , under RATtreks. No Comments.

Waterfalls of Panthertown Valley (NC) – 12-19-2014

On this adventure my friend Dave Aldridge and I would be attempting to see the Upper Dismal Falls and as many others as we could in the process. After a sausage biscuit from Clarence`s in Unicoi and the long drive down, we would begin this journey not at the traditional parking area as seen on the map but, instead we got permission to park at the nearby outdoor therapeutical camp for boys (formerly called Camp Winding Gap but, is now called Trails Carolina) where there is a little known shortcut trail that leads into the main trail. It was a beautiful day for hiking but, too sunny for taking pictures which seems to be the norm for me. Only minutes from the car we found ourselves at the side trail to Aunt Sally Falls (or so we thought)  which we decided to skip on the way in as we had bigger fish to fry and a limited amount of daylight to accomplish it in.


Upper Dismal Falls


Posted on 22 January '15 by , under RATtreks. No Comments.

Little Stony Creek (Virginia) – 12-11-2014

On a chilly yet very sunny Thursday in mid December I joined an extraordinary group of hikers to explore the Little Stony Creek Gorge in Southwest Virginia. We would start this quest from the lower end at the Hanging Rock Picnic Area with hopes of making it all the way to the upper Little Stony Falls and back. In between we would take a lot of time to explore as much as we possibly could including unnamed waterfalls found by bushwhacking up some side streams. In this elite group would be myself, Jason Horton, John Forbes, and the Honey Badger himself, Thomas Mabry who would travel all the way from Waynesville, NC to join us. Parking at the picnic area we began our journey going upstream into the gorge where our first stop would be a rather large rocky area where some old coal mines are located. Their openings have been blocked by welded steel structures to prevent human entrance and to also protect the endangered brown bat populations.


And so it begins,,,,, (left to right) Jason Horton, John Forbes, and the RATman. (Photo by Thomas Mabry)


Posted on 20 January '15 by , under RATtreks. No Comments.

Unaka Talus Fields – 12-3-2014

For as long as I can remember I have seen the bare spots on one particular slope on the Tennessee side of Unaka Mountain. These are most prominent when there is a dusting of snow on them which allows the areas to stand out from the rest of the terrain there. It has only been in recent years that I have looked more closely at these areas and realized that they consist of broken rock that form enormous football field sized boulder gardens that lie on the steep slopes. Having looked at these rock piles from various locations as well as looking down on the upper one from the road that runs across the top, I never really gave much thought to several things like how large they really were, what they were made of, what made them and just how steep it actually is. About a year or so ago a hiking friend of mine asked about them and it made me realize that although I knew they were there, that I really did not know that much about them. That person became very interested in them and vowed to go there and stand on them as soon as possible. Since this had tweaked my own interest in them, I advised as to where they were exactly and what routes one would have to take to get to them, whether it be from bottom or top, and vowed that I would be there before them ! On Dec. 3, 2014 I made that a true statement.


Unaka Mountain frozen. You can see the Talus fields under bright snow on the left side of the mountain (Taken Feb 2010)


Posted on 10 January '15 by , under RATtreks. 1 Comment.