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Sampson Mountain Wilderness March 7, 2011

Posted by Jenny in Cherokee National Forest, hiking.
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Stream crossings were the day's challenge

This was an outing of the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club into an area I’d never been before. We ventured into the far eastern end of Greene County, TN, and visited parts of two adjoining sections of Cherokee National Forest: the Sampson Mountain Wilderness and the recently acquired Rocky Fork Tract. Our leaders were Mark Shipley and Steve Miller. Mark is originally from Greeneville and Steve is from Morristown, and they teamed up to expand our horizons beyond the Smokies.  (The same duo will lead another hike in that general area on September 10, going up to Meadow Creek Mountain on the border of Greene and Cocke Counties.)

Starting at the Horse Creek Recreation Area, we made some stream crossings and followed the Middle Spring Ridge trail up to the main crest and the Appalachian Trail. Along the way we had a view of very extensive hardwood forest.

Hardwood forests as far as the eye could see

Our group admires the view

We had lunch at a rock outcrop on a summit with a very undignified name, Big Butt.

Poor mountain---it deserves a better name!

We followed the A.T. to a pleasant grassy bald.

Along the Appalachian Trail

We then descended back to the north along the Sarvis Cove trail, which is not maintained and fairly difficult to follow in its upper section. The stream was running high.

Waterfall along Sarvis Cove

We were still trying to keep our feet dry when the trail started going back and forth across the stream. It turned into a cooperative effort (see photo at top). But by the time we got down to the major crossings of Horse Creek, it was obvious that dryness was out of the question. As Mark put it, “Resistance is futile.” We waded across with our boots on. But despite the wet feet, I consider the outing to have been a very successful journey into a little-known area.

This crossing was early in the hike

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Comments»

1. Thomas Stazyk - March 7, 2011

The views look great but the stream crossings look a little daunting! I think I would have gotten more that just wet boots.

Jenny - March 7, 2011

It was really quite amazing that we kept our feet dry as long as we did!

2. brian - March 8, 2011
Jenny - March 8, 2011

Hmmm—the pole vaulting theme again! I’ll expect to see you with a special X-treme sport pole on the Eagle Rocks outing. Imagine in your head the same kind of dumb music they use for snowboarding videos.

3. brian - March 8, 2011

Yes, bushwhacking will be the next big “extreme sport”. I’ve already got my gear marketing plans worked out. I’ll keep a stable of sponsored athletes who will make videos of themselves leaping across impossible gaps between boulders and bulling through blackberry thickets covered in blood with death metal music playing.


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