Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Back For Day Two In The CNF On The Phillips Hollow Trail

For my hike on Day Two, I planned to finally do what I call the CNF (Cherokee National Forest) Hollow Loop. This hike consists of the Phillips Hollow, Artis Hollow, and Davis Creek Trails with a road walk back to the starting point at Margarette Falls Trailhead. I had done the road walk and Davis Creek Trails and Artis Hollow to Mary Falls back in September of 2019. 

However, today I decided to go the other way and head up the Phillips Hollow Trail. There are three reasons first I came up the other way the first time, second Artis Hollow that direction is mostly uphill and not great trail condition. Finally, I had not hiked any of Phillips Hollow Trail, so I wanted to go up it (also if I hit blowdowns or rough trail I could come back the way I cam....remember that). 
Anyway, it was an early morning drive to a trailhead I know well. Besides the above-mentioned hike to the Davis Creek Trail, I started here for my Bullen Hollow hike in January and many hikes to Margarette Falls.

So, I have written verbatim about the half-mile relatively easy hike to the old trailhead where the information kiosk sets. While the Margarette Falls and Bullen Hollow Trails go right the signpost for Phillips Hollow is left. However, the Phillips Hollow Trail actually begins on the other side of Dry Creek. I read in the Cherokee National Forest book  Even when the water is down there are many places to rock hope and on this day it was a normal level and that means getting my feet wet. Luckily, I brought water shoes. While they helped me cross they could do nothing for how cold the water turned out to be. 

Once across, I got my boots back on then headed to the sign on this side of the bank One thing you will notice on the signs that the mileage is different. The first one says 2.7 and the one on the trail sign 1.6 miles. This discrepancy is because the trail now terminates at the Artie Hollow Trail it uses to head on to the Appalachian Trail at Fox Cabin Gap. 

As the Phillips Hollow Trail headed up, but it turned out not too steep. What it lacked in a slope it made up in rockiness. It was rough and there were some blowdowns I had to clear, so it was slow going, slower than I expected. Of the many wonders of this trail, three stood out. The first was an abudence of wildflowers that lined the trail (more on that at the first of May). The other was the nice waterfalls that dot Phillips Hollow. As far as I know,, these falls don't have names and since the creek they are on is the East Branch of Dry Creek I will just call them the Falls of Phillips Hollow. The third, it was actually well blazed.

There are a good number of difficult creek crossings on the East Fork before the trail heads steadily uphill through open forest and coming to an old homestead or logging camp. The old chimney here is now just a pile of debris, but this is a great campsite. It gave me the idea that I can camp to finish the Artie Hollow Trail. The reason I had lunch here and decided that Artie Hollow is far harder than the trail I came up, it is 1.7 miles, plus another 1.6 on Davis Creek Trail and finally the one-mile road walk. It was already 1 pm and I didn't know how long it might take plus I am just tired, so I decided to head back. 

But, first I decided to hike the final 0.3 miles up to the junction with the Artie Hollow Trail. It crosses the creek one more time before going through some rhododendron before coming to where the Artie Hollow Trail. There is no sign, but you will know because it goes left with the same blue blaze. I did go up the Artie Hollow a short distance but the CNF book says it gets really steep so I turned around at a stream. Going back was faster I must say, but the rocky sections were still slow going. Once back I had noticed that the where the trail goes left to cross there looks like and old bed going straight. It even had an old sign post and a spot where it has a path down to Dry Creek (maybe this is where the steps where. I will say it was easier to wade across here. 

Overall, with the waterfalls and wildflowers I really liked the Phillips Hollow Trail. It will be on my choice of trails for the future.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Time For COVID Shot Number Two...Just Remember Get Vaccinated Too!

I am interrupting Day 2 of the hiking blog in the Cherokee National Forest from last week for a post on getting my second COVID-19 Vaccine shot in Greeneville today.
I am using my 15-minute wait to write this blog. It is hard to believe but it has been three weeks since my Pfizer Vaccine. Not much has changed except I realized even more so it is of the greatest imperative that everyone gets vaccinated. This is just the hard truth, but this pandemic isn't going to be brought under control unless we do. The new variants are causing a surge in cases not just here but all over the world. People are still dying in far too great of numbers and this crisis is far from over. When cases get out of control we get new variants, which means this can make the vaccines less effective. It's science people!
So, let me just finish by saying there are no trackers in the vaccines and it's not the "Mark of the Beast." Once vaccinated you still need to social distance and wear a mask. The vaccine can save your life, but your mask can save someone else's!

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Good & The Bad From Day One In The CNF


My outing at the start of last Monday was the tale of two days. This blog is day one which featured finishing a trail, in the Cherokee National Forest (CNF), that I have been flirting with for a couple of months the Doctor's Ridge Trail, and then camping at Old Forge. One went well (the hike) and the other not so much. 

Let's talk about the good first and that was the hike on the Doctor's Ridge Trail. I had thought of doing this 1.1-mile trail a couple of times with the closest coming back in February but wasn't sure where to part. So, since the upper trailhead was on the way to Old Forge Campground I decided I would do it first. I figured it would be downhill because this trailhead is higher than the one on Greystone Road. But, when one thinks this they are sometimes wrong. This trail is actually easier from starting on Old Forge Road. Anyway, the trail heads down a quarter-mile before a turn left and flattens out. 

At the halfway make it reaches a small branch before it heads up at a steep clip. You will notice it is steeper than the final hill on the return. Once topping it will flatten out before coming to a junction, to the right is the actual Doctor's Ridge Trail which goes down to Greystone Road. The other trail to the parking area at the corner of Walter's Road. Then is back the way you came. There is a winter view on the return. I think it was easier from Old Forge Road but it's not bad from either direction.

Well, that brings us to the aborted camping trip at Old Forge. After finishing the hike I drove on to Old Forge Campground. I need to say that I don't know if it was fully open because the bathroom was still locked. However, I paid my money for site number eight and set up my tent. Then this guy showed up and was just strange and gave off a weird vibe. I am not going to get into the whole story here, but since I was the only person camping it just didn't feel right. So, I packed up and headed home. While my camping excursion was canceled I still was coming back to hike on Tuesday for day two...