The Cumberland Trail. It's a beautiful trail, and the more I hike it, the more I like it. The Cumberland Plateau is the southern section of the Appalachian Plateau, and it covers Eastern Kentucky, Central Tennessee, portions of Northeast/Central Alabama, and a small portion of Northwest Georgia. The Plateau is littered with many sandstone outcroppings and bluffs, which in my opinion, give the Cumberland Plateau its characteristics. The Cumberland Trail, when it will be finished, will follow the eastern rim of the plateau known as Walden Ridge throughout Tennessee. The trail begins at Signal Point near Signal Mountain, Tennessee and ends at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park near Cumberland Gap, Kentucky. While many of its sections are under construction or even not planned out, it still provides great section hiking opportunities, and remains one of my personally more favorite long distance hiking trails. While the AT (Appalachian Trail) is much more grand from most hikers' point of view, the lesser traveled CT is in no way less attractive, and in some cases, rivals the AT. This hike occurred on Saturday, June 21st, 2014. My plan was to start at the Cumberland Trail parking pullout on Heiss Mountain Road near TN State Route 111, and to follow the CT through the Blanchard Creek Gorge. Following that, I would ascend to Bare Point, and then descend into the Big Possum Creek Gorge, only to ascend to Perkins Point. From Perkins Point, I would descend into the Little Possum Creek Gorge before reaching Imodium Falls. I would return the same way.
Pigeon-Crockford Mountain Wlidlife Management Area: Hood Overlook and Allen Creek Falls, LaFayette, Georgia
The Pigeon-Crockford Mountain Wildlife Management Area lies on some of the southernmost extents of the Cumberland Plateau in Georgia. Even though the elevations are generally at or lower than 2000 feet across this area, it is still quite beautiful. The WMA has numerous hiking trails, and while many are not particularly interesting, they are not excessively hard, relaxing, with some rewards. In terms of wildlife, deer and turkeys are abundant, although there are a few bears as well. This hike occurred on Saturday, June 14th, 2014. My plan was to start my hike at the Hood Overlook, and follow the Atwood trail to the Hood Trail. From there, I would follow the Hood Trail to the southern end of the Atwood Trail, and follow the Atwood Trail back to the Hood Overlook. Along the way, I would stop at Allen Creek Falls.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee/West North Carolina is an incredible diversity of wildlife, not to speak of the incredible hiking opportunities. I've been to the Smokies a handful of times, and one of my favorite experiences was Chimney Tops on Newfound Gap Road. However, this is only the second time I've been to the Smokies before I started the blog where I am writing at. Gregory Bald is most famous for the flame azalea that blooms in early to mid June on its summit. In addition, Gregory Bald has a 2 acre grassy area at the top (hence the name "bald"), and the views are pretty much 360 degrees. My main problem on this hike was summer haze limiting the views somewhat, but it was still beautiful. This hike occurred on Saturday, June 7th, 2014. My plan was to hike the Gregory Ridge Trail from the end of Forge Creek Road to Rich Gap. Rich Gap is where the Appalachian Trail used to pass through before it was rerouted. From Rich Gap, my plan was to turn right onto the Gregory Bald Trail and follow it to the summit of Gregory Bald. I would return the same way to the trailhead.
The highest mountain in Georgia is Brasstown Bald, just shy of 4800 feet. The mountain is surrounded by the Brasstown Wilderness, which has some animal and plant species not found anywhere further south. Brasstown Bald is accessible by several trails, and a road. The views from the top are 360 degrees, and you can see miles... but not on days like this day. This hike occurred on Saturday, May 31st, 2014. My plan was to take the Jack's Knob Trail from the parking at the beginning of GA State Route 180-Spur, and follow the trail all the way to the Brasstown Bald parking lot. From there, I would follow the Summit Trail to the tower at the top, and then, retrace my steps. However, I didn't quite mean for a heavy thunderstorm to be included in this plan.
Year 1: 540.0 Miles
Year 2: 552.3 Miles
Year 3: 518.4 Miles
Year 4: 293.7 Miles