The Trail

Here I will post trip reports (TR) whether it’s from the AT or any other trail.

One Response to The Trail

  1. John Giesemann says:

    Chad,
    Just watched your video on the Savage Gulf trip. Excellent video.

    My name is John Giesemann. I work for the Miss. State University Extension Service with your cousin (I think) Patrick Poindexter. The Savage Gulf Park is only about 35 miles from where grew up in East Tennessee. It is a great, if underutilized, park. The trails are easy to challenging and are very well marked. The choices of loops from about 4 miles to 60 miles is great. I think you found a jewel of a park to hike. I have hiked all of the trails in the park from 2 to 5 times each.

    In my opinion, you need to visit the park again because you missed the best trail in the park, again, IMHO. Park at the Collins Trailhead and take the Collins Gulf Trail with 2 waterfalls and 2 sinks. It is one of the most challenging and rewarding hikes in the park over its 4.2 mile length. It goes down to Sawmill Campsite. From there you can follow the Connector Trail to the Stone Door (like this last trip) and camp the first night. The next morning, see Laurel Falls, jut below the Stone Door Ranger site. Then follow Laurel Trail to Alum Campground and from here go down to Greeter Falls, a delightful little falls. Then back up to Alum Campground and down to the Big Creek Gulf trail. This goes over to the Connector Trail and on the way you will see Ranger Falls on a 1/4 mile connector trail. Ranger Falls is about 60 feet wide and 30 feet tall and goes directly into a sink in front of you. Fascinating how that much water just disappears into the ground. Back to the Sawmill Campsite for night 2. From Sawmill, back over to the Historic Stage Coach trail and this time back to the Collins Trailhead via the Collins Gulf Rim Trail. Be very careful going over the Boulder Patch just before you get back to the Collins Gulf Trailhead. The Boulder Patch has lots of moisture from a nearby waterfall and is very slippery. I have never successfully negotiated the Boulder Patch without busting my butt at least once. In my opinion, this is a another great series of trails in the park. Similar to the one you went on with more water falls and sinks. After you get off the trail, be sure to visit the Dutch Maid Bakery in Tracy City, especially for buffet lunch Sunday afternoon. I promise you won’t be sorry.

    Closely related in the South Cumberland State Recreation Area is the Fiery Gizzard Trail starting in Tracy City, TN. This is, IMHO, one of the best trails in the southeast. It has everything from easy trails to challenging, from big trees to waterfalls (at least 5, 2 being 80 ft.), coal mines, to old stills, to rock climbing. It is a 13 mile end-to-end trail with a campsite 1/4 mile from each end, and one about 8 miles from the upper end and 5 miles from the lower. A great trail. This trail can be easily hiked in one day or the Raven Point Campground is a nice place to spend the night with an easy hike out the next morning. I like to get there Friday evening and spend the night at the CCC campground 1/4 mile in from the upper terminus of the trail in Tracy City. Then down to the Raven point campground for Saturday night. Hike out Sunday morning and take your second car back up to Tracy City and the Dutch Maid Bakery for Sunday buffet lunch. A great weekend.

    Also, not too far from there is the Walls of Jericho. This management area straddles the AL/TN line with trailheads in TN and AL about 5 miles apart. The total trail system is about 15 miles and about 1,000 ft total elevation. Park at the AL trailhead and hike the short 4.3 mile trail on the east side of the road and then the 2 1/2 mile trail down to the campground. Spend the night there. Follow the short trail to the Walls of Jericho in the morning. The Walls is an almost circular enclosure at the end of a 1/2 mile trail that follows the creek, somewhat slippery in places. Be sure to spend a few minutes in this beautiful area. If there has been rain recently, there will be water cascading from the walls all around. From the Walls, retrace your steps back to the campground and take the trail to the upper rim of the Walls. This is also an interesting site from the top side. Spend the second night at the campground or follow the trail back to the river and then turn north to the TN trailhead. Camp near the top of the trail the second night. The next morning, take an easy 5 mile hike along the road back to the truck. Or hike back down the TN trail and back up the AL trail to the truck, probably about 7 miles. This trail can also be hiked easily in one day if you go down and back to the same trailhead (either trailhead). Or it makes a nice 2 day hike.

    It actually would be quite possible to do both the Fiery Gizzard and Walls of Jericho trails in one weekend, especially from your home area.

    Just some thoughts for your future hikes. Both of these trails are close enough to make them easily accessible for a short or full weekend. Hope you enjoy these trails in the future.

    If you want recommendations on other relatively close trails (5-6 hours or less from your home) let me know.

    If you would like a trail partner for any of these hikes, I would be glad to go if I can work it out with my schedule. I think we would be compatible partners based on what I have seen of your blog and videos. Also, talk to Patrick if you want to know anything about me. He and I are good friends.

    Thanks for the gear reviews, videos, and the blog. They are really a service to the ultralight hiking community.
    John Giesemann, Semi-Ultralight, Semi-serious Hiker

    Like

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