With a late morning I woke up refreshed, ready to get moving. With hot water boiling I started to break camp and get ready for the day. Having my campsite next to the creek makes the early morning routine a little bit easier than being far away from your water source. Of course following LNT for all necessary needs. I filtered some water while I drank my coffee and boy was it rejuvenating. Listening to the water flow and move on the next area is always meditating/relaxing to no end. It really pulls you in and makes you not want to leave but I had to get this trail done and on to the next areas.
My first five minutes of the walk was an astounding baby snake fight. Its hard to see in the picture but one snake had the other in its jaws and was flaying trying to shake it dead. it didn’t work! I had to walk over them so they stopped and scattered as soon as my shadow hit their backs.
The section I’m doing now is the Graysville Section and it is not finished due to land ownership and has not been finished for about a quarter mile to the next road. The whole time I was walking I was wondering what exactly will I do when I get to the temporary trail end, keep walking or camp out and walk back to town for pick up and drive to the next section. I really didn’t know what to expect from this trail section.
Once I got moving again the trail turned into another rock scramble to the top of the mountain.
The walk to the top was rather cooling with the morning sun not hitting the area yet it was a good 70 to 75 degrees the whole way up. Once I got to the top though it was cooking up to about 85 to 90. I found the first overlook to be rather crappy and didn’t stay long. The next one though did not disappoint. (pictures further down)
About an hour in I made it to a section that was rather pretty, a small corridor or wide section of trail that made it easy to get up the mountain it felt like an old rock bed or creek bed and just went straight up but I had no problem climbing it and getting to the next overlook.
Yup, this is it the best overlook for the past 60 miles, as I walked to the this area I saw a bunch of vultures taking to the sky as I got closer the overlook. Taking a long break I soaked up the sun and ate some snacks while I enjoyed the views. So far so good on trail markings/trail conditions.
The next mile or so was a ridge walk to the other side of the mountain.
Worried that I would end up with no water on this section, I carried out a full pack of water at 2.7 L and I was glad I did for the begining but luckily I found plenty of streams after 5 miles.
Once you get passed the half way point though which was a treacherous walk over a old creek bed with serious tree damage. You are stuck with flagged trees for trail markers. No problem I’ve followed flags for trail before but not in a area I was unfamiliar with. The flags were definitely spread out but seeing them was the hard part. The last four miles was made and constructed but overgrown. I ended up having to crawl/climb/even jump over brush and downed trees for hours to get to the end of the trail that was constructed.
Finding a good luck charm, I powered through. I saw this Eastern Box turtle on my way up the mountain and felt really good. Seeing such things make me smile and get moving a little quicker.
After hours of walking I was close to the end, I could hear the road and decided to risk it and make my way up the private land section. This was my leg after just a few minutes, thorn brush every where, it ripped me up, keeping my composure I just kept trekking through. Doing my best to follow the sounds of the road and be conscious of where the homes and private areas are, I got off the trail and found some power lines going straight to the road and walked those for a rough 10 minutes. If you have ever walked power lines before you know what I’m talking about when I say thorns galore 7 ft high. I ended up getting cut all over, cussing under my breath with thorns in my arms, legs, and neck.
Finally making it the road near Cumberland Springs Bible Camp, I noticed this is where I was planning to come out from my GPS tracking at home previous to the hike. Glad to have been so close to the plans. When I got to the road I decided to turn my phone off airplane mode and see how service was. Man am I glad I did. With hurricane Florence on our tails everyone was worried and getting off trail. So I did as well.
With a 3.5 mile road walk to Dayton, TN. I decided to call my mom and have her pick me due to the weather coming. It sucked hearing the weather news but I know from experience you don’t want to be in bad weather on trail. Its not a fun experience at all even for purists.
Getting roughly 12 miles in today, this is the end of the hike for now. With the weather and more work coming up I’m unable to get anymore sections done at the moment. My work opportunities though may give me a chance to get some more of the CT under my feet. After this section I was planning to head to Knoxville for the Tank Springs to Catoosa WMA sections. Guess what the work I have applied for is doing trail maintenance on the CT this such a blessing to be able to work on this trail and make a difference. The sections we will be maintaining are up in Claiborne and Campbell counties near Knoxville. With the location so close to the section I was planning to hike already I will be taking my three day weekends to hike these portions and hopefully have most of the large sections of the Cumberland Trail finished. So my blogs will not stop, I will be blogging about my trail maintenance and crew work as well as my hikes on the next sections. Until then I will be updating about what sections will be up next/dialing in my gear some more and reviewing my mapped out sections that I have finished!!