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Hiketoberfest 2011

Please join us Sunday, October 9, 2011 for the inaugural “Hiketoberfest” on scenic Signal Mountain.  This event is a celebration of the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail, the Tennessee River Gorge and the natural, historical and musical traditions of the place.

The event is being held at the sparkling Shackleford Ridge County Park facility (Lat: 35.16187578314468, Long: -85.37312507629395) which serves as a terrific meeting place of the Rainbow Lake, Mushroom Rock and Edwards Point hiding trails. There are over 12 miles of trails with scenic outlooks and the marvelous geology that abounds on the Cumberland Trail.

We are inviting friends, family and corporate teams to hike the Cumberland Trail and support the Friends of the Cumberland Trail, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that supports the Cumberland Trail.  The cost to register is $15 for a full day of hiking, history, education and music.  You can use the Paypal “Buy Now” button below to pay for your registration or you can mail a check in advance to Hiketoberfest 2011, Friends of the Cumberland Trail, P O Box 337, Caryville, TN 37714.

For an informational flyer, go here.  For an Event Schedule, go to this page.  To register, go to this site.  To download a Hiketoberfest Hike-a-thon pledge form, go here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Hiketoberfest?

Hiketoberfest is a fundraiser produced by the Friends of the Cumberland Trail, a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to share and preserve the ecology, history, and folklore of Tennessee’s Cumberland Trail.

What is the Cumberland Trail?

Basically, it is a historic, 300 mile hiking trail that threads its way through 11 counties in Tennessee, including state parks, natural areas, national parks, federal wildlife management areas and private land.  The Cumberland Trail extends from the Cumberland Gap in Northeast Tennessee to Signal Point in Signal Mountain.

By the Numbers:
– 2,300,000 residents live within 35 miles of a CT trailhead.
– 330,000 acres of public lands are connected by the CT corridor.
– 28,000 acres are currently under direct CT management (75% complete).
– 300 miles of hiking trails are planned.
– 170 miles of hiking trails are open.
– 35 trailhead parking areas are open.
– 6 State Natural Areas are within the CT corridor.
– 1 weekly radio program is broadcast/webcast of CT music – the only one of its kind in America

The Friend’s challenge is: Connect it, care for if, keep it open.  Hiketoberfest is the first event in the Cumberland Challenge.  The Challenge is a larger fundraising program that will endeavor to raise funds for expanding and improving the Cumberland Trail.

Hiketoberfest celebrates hiking but also the Cumberland Trail’s immense diversity of fauna and flora, its rich musical and cultural heritage, and the breathtaking geology of Signal Mountain, the Cumberland Plateau and the Tennessee River Gorge.

To register, go to this site.


Head of Sequatchie Bird Survey 12/23/2010

Thanks again for making it possible for Barbara H. Stedman and Brenda K. Curtis to
access the Head of Sequatchie property as part of the Crossville Christmas Bird Count.
Stephen J. Stedman
Professor Emeritus
Tenn. Tech. Univ.

Here is a list of what they recorded on the property from 0900-1039 CST on 23 December 2010:

Red-tailed Hawk  2
Eastern Screech-Owl  1
Barred Owl  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  7
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  8
American Crow  20
Carolina Chickadee  4
Tufted Titmouse  5
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Brown Creeper  1
Carolina Wren  3
Winter Wren  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  4
Eastern Bluebird  8
Hermit Thrush  4
Brown Thrasher  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  9
Eastern Towhee  2
Chipping Sparrow  2
Field Sparrow  25
Song Sparrow  10
White-throated Sparrow  15
Northern Cardinal  6
House Finch  2
American Goldfinch  5
These 29 species observed

2010 River Rescue

Tennessee River Rescue, October 2, 2010

The 22nd Annual Tennessee River Rescue will occur between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 2nd throughout Hamilton County. The Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail will be particpating in the Tennessee River Rescue Event with a planned cleanup at the new Roaring Creek area of the Cumberland Trail SST. This site will be the first site that the River Rescue will host in Rhea County. For more information:

Directions to Roaring Creek /Graysville Mountian Cleanup Site:

The Roaring Creek Site is located about 1.6 miles up Pikeville Avenue/Brayton Mountain Road from the Highway 303 turn off  just a few miles south of Dayton.

River Rescue Roaring Creek Event Map

Tennessee River Rescue Roaring Creek Cleanup.

This event was held on Saturday October 2, 2010 with over 60 people attending. The people from Graysville and the surrounding area were there to
make this a very successful cleanup effort. Over two hundred pounds of litter and other refuge, including tires, was collected. The Boy Scouts of America were
well represented by Troops 210 and 213 along with Cub Scout Troops 3213 and 3020. A best piece of trash contest was held with the winners being
Bobby and James Cannon with a set of old style bottles. The Cumberland Trail would like to thank all those who attended and made this event a big success.
A special thanks going out the Graysville Fire Department and the people of Graysville for there generous participation in this cleanup effort.

Triple Crown 2009

The highly anticipated finale to Triple Crown 2009 came off in style despite a reschedule to Sunday due to snow.  The white stuff began falling after midnight on Friday evening and continued until 9:30 on Saturday morning.   A slushy, wet 2 inches fell on the plateau, and even a dusting/soaking covered the Chattanooga Valley.

Volunteers rallied on Saturday in force to sweep snow and melt from the boulders, and to also build a much needed flagstone stairway in to the boulderfield, a site of many slips and falls over the past seven years.  Jim Horton (Triple Crown Co-Organizer) threw in his expertise (National Trail Building Medal was awarded to him in 2009) and with the help of perennial Triple Crown volunteers, a long stairway was completed in less than three hours.  With the clearing of the snow, the boulders were on their way to being completely dry by late afternoon, and perfect climbing conditions awaited competitors on Sunday-

Saturday Evening events were held as if there had been no delay.

Climbers arrived at Urban Rocks Gym by 6pm to BBQ, chips, and a tasty high gravity beer thanks to SoIll and First Avenue Rocks.  Each ‘plate’ was $10 with proceeds supporting Adam Henry’s new organization, the Alabama Bouldering Fund.

Dyno and Pad Stacking (think crate stack with crashpads) competitions held all attention through a large part of the evening.  As usual, Triple Crown also supported both the Southeastern Climbers Coalition and Carolina Climbers Coalition with prizes for a raffle with proceeds going back to the respective organizations.  The Triple Crown also ran competitor raffles with several big prizes going out to folks for simply being present.  A good time was had by all!

Triple Crown also made an official donation to the Friends of the Cumberland Trail. This organization is dedicated to the sharing and preserving of the ecology, history and folklore of the Tennessee’s Cumberland Trail.  This trail system holds some of the best crags and boulders in the southeast including (BUT NOT LIMITED TO):  Buzzard Point, Laurel/Snow Bouldering and Crags, Suck Creek Crags, the Obed, Black Mountain, Devil’s Racetrack and many more!  Thanks to special support from Rock/Creek, Marmot, and Five Ten, the Triple Crown delivered a check totaling over $5,500!  In addition, Triple Crown competitors rallied with donations and memberships to the Friends of the Cumberland Trail to bring the total dollars raised to over $6,000!  This money will support the completion of the footbridge that will cross the beautiful Deep Creek Gorge in Northern Hamilton County, Tennessee.

Triple Crown also made the official donation to spearhead the purchase of a large portion of the Rumbling Bald Boulders in NC.  The extremely active Carolina Climbers’ Coalition recently inked a deal that will purchase many of the classic boulder problems at RB that actually lie on private property.  On Saturday evening, Triple Crown delivered a $5,000 check to Anthony Love, President of the CCC to support this purchase.

On to the Competition!

Sunday dawned just as expected, cold and very crisp conditions. Perfect for rock climbing.

Competitors arrived at Urban Rocks early, grabbed a quick breakfast bump from Five Ten, dropped off crashpads to volunteers, gathered climbing shoe demos from Evolv, Sportiva, and Five Ten and hopped on to buses by 8:30am for the short ride to Montlake.  With announcements already made, competitors filed off the buses, gathered pads and launched directly in to the boulder field for the session.

With perfect temps and conditions, competitor scorecards swelled with huge scores.

There were showdowns set in most categories:  See below for where the battles were taking place for Overall in each category.

Juniors-Ashley Donihee and Clarissa Sheltraw; Beginner Women-Rachel Gilson and Cody Roney; Beginner Men-Lee Brewington and Dustin Pohlman; Intermediate Women-Amelia Metcalf, Sarah Grainger, and Julia German; Intermediate Men-Conan Blakemore and Tanner Ayers;  Advanced Women-Natalie Hawley and Melanie Meinhart; Advanced Men-Shane Messer and Nick Hall; Stone Master-Hilary Cohen and Dan Hague; Ancient Hardperson-Brandt Sykes and Mike Bacon; Open Women-Kasia Pietras and Francesca Metcalf; Open Men-Jimmy Webb, Brion Voges, and Brad Weaver

In the Star Chaser Category (goal here is to climb as many classic problems as possible) Zak Roper stomped through the competition, and gathered an all time record 316 stars.  Congrats to him for climbing a bunch of SE classics!

In the Big Gun Categories, both Jimmy Webb and Kasia Pietras separated themselves from series competitors in dramatic fashion.  Jimmy posted the highest score on record in the series!! Kasia was able to pull away from Francesca Metcalf, and finished at the top of Women’s category.

Both Jimmy and Kasia are reigning King and Queen of Triple Crown 2009.  This is year two on top for Mr. Webb. Special thanks to both of them for digging in to their climbing reserves and putting on a show for everyone at the Dyno Comp on Saturday evening.

Click the link below to see the comprehensive scores to see how everything shook out in all categories at both Stone Fort and Triple Crown Overall.

In closing:

Each year, at every event, there is always an experience that perfectly expresses the spirit of this long-standing event (this was year 16 of Hound Ears and year number 7 of the Triple Crown)-

This year at the Stone Fort/LRC comp, that experience came from Jeff Drumm. Jeff is a Chattanoogan, but had moved away for several years to New Mexico.  He and his wife made a decision last year to move back with their child.

Jeff competed and won the Men’s Advanced Category at Stone Fort/LRC.  As is custom with Triple Crown events, a large prize package awaited Jeff on Sunday at the awards ceremony; a Marmot/Triple Crown Super Hero Jacket, a Mammut Skyline Courier Bag, and Five Ten Climbing Shoes.  When Jeff arrived to accept his prize, he immediately said to the organizers, “Thank you very much for the prizes but is there any way that I could get a copy of my scorecard.  I had the best bouldering day of my life, and I’d love to have that scorecard to remember this day by.” Simply perfect.  Special thanks to Jeff, and the many competitors (and volunteers!) at this event that carry such a positive outlook!

Click the link below for a full interview with Jeff at Rock/Creek’s Chronicle:

Thanks again to all of our sponsors.  Without their support this event would be impossible.  Each is an important and invaluable component to gaining and maintaining access to our many climbing resources in the Southeast.

Marmot, Rock/Creek, Chaco, Rock&Ice, Dead Point Magazine, Urban Climber, Climbing Magazine, First Avenue Rocks, Mammut, La Sportiva, Organic Climbing, Five Ten, Black Palm, Andrew Kornylak, The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Metolius, Sterling Rope, Bluewater, Clif Bar, Goodhew, Urban Rocks, Evolv, Scarpa, Princeton Tec, VooDoo, Nemo Tents, Joshua Tree Products, Friksn, Prana, Dolomite Bags, Footsloggers, Moon and Black Diamond

Annual North Chick Family Reunion and Greenway Farm Fall Festival, October 11, 2009

The Friends of the Cumberland Trail will join the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy family for a day of music and family events at Greenway Farm between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 11th.  FCT president Joseph Decosimo and Cumberland Trail Park Manager Bob Fulcher will deliver some white-hot old time Cumberland Plateau music, along with several other string bands.

Any FCT volunteers willing to staff the Friends desk?  Contact the Cumberland Trail headquarters at 423-566-2229.

Directions from Chattanooga: Take Hwy. 153 North. At the second traffic light past the Chickamauga Dam, turn right onto Hamill Road and go past the hospital.  Follow Hamill Road to just over the North Chickamauga Creek bridge and turn to the right across from the entrance to Bethel Bible Village.

For Google map click here:

Tennessee River Rescue, October 3, 2009

The 21st Annual River Rescue will occur between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 3rd throughout Hamilton County.  The North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area, managed by the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail,  has received a sparkling, annual cleanup by volunteers for this great event.   We appreciate all those contributors from past years and those who will join us in the gorge in 2009.  For more information:

Grassy Cove Clean Up, Sept 12, 2009

The East Tennessee Grotto of the National Speleological Society is holding a clean up along a 1 mile section of Highway 68 on Saturday September 12 beginning at 10am CST. Volunteers should meet at the Roadside Picnic area. For more information contact Teri Stephens 865-385-5149. We’ll send our thanks in advance to all who help maintain the beauty of this community and NATIONAL NATURAL LANDMARK.

Look Over the Overlook, August 2, 2009

“Look over the Overlook” Hike

Sunday August 2nd at 10:30 am Eastern time

Join Seasonal Interpretive Ranger Nathan Helton in a strenuous 5 mile hike to one of the great overlooks located on the Cumberland Trail. Pass through some rich history along the way and hear about the history of Montlake coal mining. View open mine shafts, beautiful flowing mountain streams, and eat your lunch on the cliff overlooking North Chickamauga gorge.  Bring 3 liters of water at a minimum and also whatever you want to eat on the trail.  Meet at the North Chickamauga Gorge parking lot located on Montlake road in Soddy Daisy.  RSVP to or just show up. Cal 423 566 2229 for directions or go

Amazing Places Hike, August 1, 2009

“Amazing Places” Hike

Saturday August 1st at 11 AM eastern time.

Duration: 90 minutes

Join Seasonal Interpretive Ranger Nathan Helton for a leisurely hike into a land of massive boulders and hemlock trees on an unmarked trail off the Cumberland Trail. This hike will be completely unique and give you the opportunity to soak in the great outdoors. Bring a bottle of water and snacks for the trail. Located at the Laurel Snow section of the Cumberland Trail. Meet in the parking lot at the trail head. RSVP to or just show up. Call 423-566-2229 for directions or go

Deep Creek Floral Inventory – June 24, 2009

Deep Creek Floral Inventory

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Led by John Evans, UTC Graduate Student in Botany

The Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail (CTSST) staff and the Chattanooga Climbers Association (CCA, a local chapter of the Southeastern Climbers Coalition, SCC) are in discussions concerning a Temporary Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to permit establishing climbing routes on the bluff above Deep Creek and Big Soddy.  As part of this discussion, impact to the overall site as well as potential impacts to any populations of Scutellaria montana that might be present in the area need to be determined.  Additionally, to be able to self-police activities and impacts to the area, climbers need to become familiar with the skullcap.  On June 24, CTSST staff arranged for CCA members to guide John Evans (Botanist) along the bluffs that they are interested in establishing routes in order to accomplish the following goals:

  • Survey the site for Scutellaria montana
  • Instruct Climbers on identification of Scutellaria montana
  • Take a snapshot floral inventory of the area adjacent to these bluffs
  • Discuss on-scene real impacts of climbing, access trails, boundary issues, and any other topics concerning climbing in Deep Creek.

While surveying the bluffline, the group only located two Scutellaria montana plants.  Unfortunately, they were near the dripline from the bluff and were coated in mud from the splashing.  Several of the non-threatened species of Scutellaria were located along the way too.  We began to wonder if we would be able to discuss identification on a good plant, or if we would be forced to settle for what we had seen so far.  Towards the end of the day, we did locate some plants further downslope along the Cumberland Trail.  From these fruiting plants, Evans and CT rangers were able to better explain how to spot one of these while in the area.

Evans proved invaluable in his botanical skills, as we skirted the bluffline.  Sixty-four plant species were identified on this outing.  A listing of those species is available.  Although the climbers in attendance were familiar with the Cumberland Plateau’s biodiversity, they were impressed by the number of species readily identified on this one particular day.  This has led to discussions concerning the establishment of permanent survey plots in the vicinity.  Probably the highlight of the outing was the American Chestnut tree found growing along the base of the bluff (a portion of the bluff deemed undesirable for climbing).  While admiring the young brave tree, we soon discovered that at his base lay the logs of the original full size tree and several other failed attempts at regrowth, all still extremely solid despite their time on the ground.  The group could have stayed here all day and pondered the scene.

The remainder of the day was used to discuss elements of the MOU, and how climbing in Deep Creek would work.  Access trails, how the bluff relates to the boundary line, self-policing, and in what manner climbers would access this area were hot topics of the day.  The climbers expressed a willingness to be good stewards of this area, and to help protect it and all it contains for future generations.

Participants in the hike included:

John Evans

Andy Wright

Nathan Helton

Chad Wykle

John Dorough

Micah Gentry

Scutellaria montana in fruit stage.

Scutellaria montana in fruit stage.

Andy Wright explains the distinguishing characteristics of Scutellaria montana.

Andy Wright explains the distinguishing characteristics of Scutellaria montana.

John Evans documents one of the 64 plant species identified.

John Evans documents one of the 64 plant species identified.

Andy Wright, Micah Gentry, John Dorough, Nathan Helton and John Evans examining one of the proposed climbing routes.

Andy Wright, Micah Gentry, John Dorough, Nathan Helton and John Evans examining one of the proposed climbing routes.

Andy Wright, John Dorough and John Evans discussing the impacts of climbing

Andy Wright, John Dorough and John Evans discussing the impacts of climbing.