Archive for April, 2018

Work Trip on the Appalachian Trail – 3-27-2018

Normally I do the ‘Pre-Spring walk-through’ sometime in February to check the condition of my trail section, mainly to get information to the saw crews as to how many blow-downs there are that will require a chainsaw and their locations, pictures, etc., however, due to the bad weather and snow we had this year it was late March before we (my son Tyler and I) could get in to the section. There was still snow on the ground but, we did not have any issues and was able to complete the task. There had been a lot of storms with high winds recently along with a round of freezing rain which was reported to us to have brought down a lot of limbs and debris. We were expecting the worst but, were pleasantly surprised to find the trail condition was about average for the amount of damage and the heavier work would be needed on the lower half of what used to be part of my section until recently. We got an early start with anticipation of having to saw several trees off the gated forest service road we use to access my section but, were happy to find only one along the road and another smaller one at the parking area. We sawed those out in a quick and efficient manner and were soon packed up and headed up the blue blazed access trail towards the campsite at Whistling Gap.


View from the TN side summit of Little Bald


Posted on 11 April '18 by , under RATtreks. No Comments.

Tennessee Talus ! – 2-27-2018

Finding any form of ‘talus’  East of the Rocky Mountains is a rare thing however, there are a few instances of it found along the Appalachian Mountain chain. Mostly in the Northern sector as it is very seldom found this far South yet, we are lucky to have some fine examples of it right here in our local mountains. The best and largest examples are found on Unaka Mountain but, we do know of a few other sizeable areas of it on some other local slopes as well. This one in particular is equally as large in area but, the size of the rocks are somewhat smaller than the larger sized ones on Unaka. A small part of these could actually be classified as ‘scree’. We have known about these ‘rock fields’ for many years yet, never gave them much thought until a few years ago when we actually set our boots on the massive stones on Unaka which fueled our desire to check out some of the other ones we knew existed. We finally got around to checking out the next largest (in comparison to Unaka)  patch of talus and although I will not share the exact location or provide any pics that may give away their home, I will share a few close up shots of the talus fields to show the enormous size of them and just how steep these stacked stones are. I have always been curious as to how these massive stone fields were formed and more so as to how they manage to stay in place on such a steep angle. From a lot of hands on research of all the huge talus fields found on Unaka over several trips there, I have concluded that they used to be cliffs that were destroyed by either earthquakes, fire, freeze and thaw, or all the above. I am not so sure about this new investigation as the stones are smaller and much looser and harder to walk upon. It will always remain a curiosity in my mind until someone of authority can shed more light on these wonderful rock collections that flow down some of the steepest and most rugged of the mountains found around here. Getting to them is as hard a hike as I have ever been on so, fortunately they do protect themselves from being exploited by the masses.


Looking up from the bottom of the main talus field. Although this view shows way over a football field long of talus, this actual field is at least 3 times that in length with at least one more continuing into the tree line at the top !


Posted on 10 April '18 by , under RATtreks. No Comments.

Unnamed Waterfall on Unaka Mtn – 2-8-2018

Welcome to the new year, 2018 ! Although we did go on an amazing adventure in January, it was to a sacred location that we visit yearly that I do not share with anyone other than those that have accompanied me on that journey each year for quite some time now. So, this would be our second adventure of the new year. With only time for a quick trip and with water levels at high tide, I decided to take Tyler to an unnamed waterfall that not many know about on Unaka Mountain. We got our usual early start but, were surprised by higher water levels than we actually expected which made crossing the creek a few times very interesting ! I was wearing my muck boots (which are knee high on me)  yet, the water was actually higher than they were in some places ! It was a cold day and there was some light ice forming on the laurel leaves around the falls from the heavy spray. It is just under 2 miles to these very well hidden falls and we made good time in getting there. It was a cloudy day but, was forecast to clear early so I wanted to get there as soon as I could for the best lighting as I did not possess any decent pics of these falls. The light was still good when we found them but, the attempt was futile due to the high amount of water that was flowing as there was just too much white water to get any quality pics. Since hardly no one visits these falls there is no trail whatsoever to them and nowhere to easily setup around them. I did what I could and just spent the rest of the time enjoying the pristine beauty and wildness of the area. We will come back another day when the water level is not so high.


Tyler and I at an unnamed waterfall on Unaka Mountain.


Posted on 8 April '18 by , under RATtreks. No Comments.

Great Channels of Va. and Airplane Rock – 12-28-2017

Ever since my first trip to the Great Channels of Virginia a few years ago and upon seeing the huge rock formation perched high on a nearby ridge from there, that I started calling that day the ‘airplane rock’ , I have wanted to go there. Despite a few more trips to the area without accomplishing that goal, it was on my last trip there on 11-10-2016 as we were showing Larry Jarret the area, that my friend John Forbes and I vowed that we would stand upon the airplane rock before the next year (2017) was over ! That being said and with 2017 being almost over, the opportunity was presented for a return trip to the great channels in late December 2017 when another friend of ours, Scott ‘The Professor’ Burns was to be passing through our area and had asked if we could assist with marking something off his ‘bucket list’ which was a visit to see the great channels. Of course we all jumped at the chance and had high hopes of leaving early enough to have enough time for a full tour of the channels and still be able to get out to explore the airplane rock on our way out. A plan was formulated and finally the day came when my son Tyler and I would be leaving right after I clocked out of work at 4 am to pick John up at his house and hopefully arrive to meet Scott at the trail head before the first light.


Group shot in the ‘geometry room’


Posted on 5 April '18 by , under RATtreks. No Comments.