Shady Valley, TN – Appalachian Trail (Osborne Farm)

Decided to head over to Shady Valley today and walk across Osborne Farm. It’s a short / easy / 1/2 mile walk across the farm. You walk across nice treeless hills and pastures with cows. You also have good views of the valley and mountains. When you get to the back of the farm, there is a step-over fence for those that want to continue on the Appalachian Trail.

We’ve walked this trail a few times. You will most likely always experience cows on the trail. Normally they are off to the side of the trail, but were very close to the trail today. I’ve never felt uncomfortable around the cows, but today was different. Maybe it was because some of them were right on the trail. They seemed a little perturbed. We got by the first group of cows and came upon a 2nd group of cows on the trail. We decided to walk out into the field / around, and give them their space. Of course when you’re walking through a cow field, you’ve really got to watch your step.

We noticed today that there was some fencing additions and changes. After you pass the barn and cross the next hill, you used to have to climb over one of those step-over fences to get to the next section of the farm. At this point, or at least today, they had the fence open so you didn’t have to do any climbing. As we were walking the back end of the trail, we came across some serious Appalachian Trail hikers that were heading the other way.

Here are some photos from the farm, cows, valleys, and mountains. Also, the twins were up this past week, so a few of them at the end.

Directions to Osborne Farm: From Elizabethton, TN, take Hwy 91 through Stoney Creek approximately 18 1/2 miles to a gravel parking area on the right hand side of the road.

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A sign at the trailhead that provides some information about Osborne Farm trail

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Then a signed tacked to a tree that provides mileage to other destinations

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Cows close to the trail

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There was this one lone cow on the other side of the fence

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That first group of cows was now walking along with us, but along the fence line

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The next group of cows on the trail. These, we decided we’d walk around and give them their space.

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Mama and baby

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As we’re walking across the field (not on the trail through the cows), a view of the pastureland and barn

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One of the mountain views. You barely see the roof of a barn in the center of the screen.

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Another mountain / pasture view

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Some little barn-type structure

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Another mountain view with a slight view of Shady Valley

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Zooming in on the mountains in the background. It’s hard to tell, but that is Whitetop all the way in the background.

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Fence line, pasture, and mountains

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You can sure see me today in my orange

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Zooming in on some pastureland on another hill-side

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Steve coming across the hill

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Here’s where you can now just cut through and not have to climb over the fence

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The 4 serious hikers just entered Osborne Farm and are headed our way

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View of another little farm and mountain view

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Now we’re back at the parking area

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Sawyer taking a stroll outside

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We’re down the hill from the house. Eli is “driving” the tractor

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Sawyer and Eli playing on the bed

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And then they decided to get our clothes baskets and play choo choo train

 

Hot Springs, NC – Laurel River Trail

Well, as I’m actually posting this, it’s January, and we’ve just had our first snow. May not get off this hill today, so what better to do than get caught up on our walks / hikes. I was doing a pretty good job working towards getting caught up a while back, but what happened? The holidays.

Today we headed over to Laurel River Trail outside of Hot Springs. We’d had drought conditions lately, but I was still shocked at how low this river was. Never have seen it anywhere near this low. Take a look at the difference in a prior post. In this prior post, there were people kayaking down the river. I just don’t see that there would have been any way that people could have kayaked today. https://rangerannette.wordpress.com/2015/03/07/hot-springs-nc-laurel-river-trail-2/

This is an easy 3.6 mile walk (7.2 miles round trip). The trail along this river used to be a rail bed. Actually, as you start out on the trail, and right before you get to the river, if you look up on your left, you can barely see a couple of old train cars through the trees. Once you get to the river, this first spot on the river is a great area to get out on the rocks and get some photos. You continue on the trail and as you are coming around the first bend, there is a nice little rental cottage on your left. This cottage is on VRBO and it looks cute. Continuing along the trail, there are spots all along the trail where you can either get right down to the river, or walk out on rocks above the river. When you get to the end of the trail, you actually arrive at an active railroad. We didn’t walk that far today though. We just walked until we felt like turning around.

Here are a few photos from today. Also, took some deer photos from my window this past week, so included a few of those photos. Had a mama, a couple of young ones, and a young buck grazing in our front yard.

Getting there: This trailhead is in the middle of nowhere, at the intersection of Hwys 208 and 25/70. Click on this link for a map that could help. http://www.ncrailtrails.org/pdfs/LaurelMap.pdf

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The parking area is on the road to Marshall

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I’m ready for today’s walk

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Right after you start out on the trail, you can either take that little trail to the right (that you barely see), or go straight. We normally just go straight. 

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We’ve just arrived by the river. Shot down-river.

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These rapids are are really pitiful today after the drought

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I was shocked how low the water was, up-river

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The river going around the bend

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The sign in front of the little cottage

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After you pass the cottage, you have the river on your right and the cliffs on your left

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A shot up-river

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Steve taking some shots out on the rocks in the river

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Another shot up-river

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With the drought, was surprised we had to wade through a little water on the trail. Must be coming from a spring.

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A little further up-river, found another spot where we could walk down and enjoy the river

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A little rapid

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Another shot up-river

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We’re heading out. You can see on the left that there were some people camping along the river

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A young couple in our yard

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Beautiful young buck

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Mama and baby

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Twins

Asheville, NC – North Carolina Arboretum

For many other posts from the arboretum, search internet by “ranger annette north carolina arboretum”.

Today’s was our monthly visit to the arboretum to check out what was blooming. No hike today. Just a walk around the gardens. Not alot of new blooms today. But, the items blooming are really starting to decrease because it’s just a few days away from the official Fall season.

Here are a few photos of some new items that were blooming today.

Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC

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Flag Pond, TN – Rocky Fork State Park

For additional photos (and definitely higher water flow), search internet by “ranger annette rocky fork state park”.

Rocky Fork is a 2,036 acre park in Unicoi County, TN. I had read that there had been some improvements made since we last visited. A new parking area, and a new bridge across Rocky Fork Creek. In the future there will be a new visitors center. Our walk today was easy and probably close to 2.5 miles round trip.

Today when we arrived, I didn’t immediately see the new parking area. It wasn’t where I thought it was going to be. So, we just parked in the normal small gravel parking area at the trailhead. The first thing that we noticed was how low the water flow was in the creek. Have never seen it anywhere near that low. We hit the trail and of course noticed that the gate was open like you could drive on up the road. At this point still couldn’t tell that there was a parking area ahead, so we walked on. We then came upon a 5 MPH sign and then up ahead was able to tell that there was a parking area to the right. It’s pretty good sized.

We continued on and the next thing that I was looking forward to was the new bridge that was to cross Rocky Fork. Due to the water that is normally pretty high, we’ve never been any further than where the gravel road crosses the creek. I was shocked when we arrived at the creek and there was no bridge. I just knew that  there was supposed to be a bridge. We had turned around to start heading back towards the car when I saw a very small trail to our left. Took off on this little trail and quickly came to the bridge that was a little up-river. It was pretty cool. It was constructed from a fallen tree.

We crossed the bridge and then there were steps built up the bank. We continued on the trail and quickly noticed a pond to the right. A little further up the trail, there was a clearing. I belive that is the old Flint Creek Battle Site. We started to continue on the trail, but it was starting to get pretty humid and we were starting to get sweaty. Decided at this point that we took a nice walk and headed back to the car.

On our way out, we came upon a Ranger that was heading through the park. He was telling us that the following weekend I believe, that they were going to have people out actually putting up trail signs. The color of the signs were going to coincide with the colors from the online trail map. I also had quite a few questions about the different trails. He also told us as he was heading into the park from the parking area that he saw a bear. I guess it was long gone by the time that we arrived back at the car.

You can go to this link to get to the Rocky Fork trail map. I tried to put the link to the actual map in here, but it was placing the whole map in my blog. http://tnstateparks.com/about/park-trail-maps#rockyfork

Here are several photos from today.

Park address: 501 Rocky Fork Road, Flag Pond, TN

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Right off the bat at the parking area, we were shocked at how low the water was

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Where we parked, we noticed that the gate was open, but we were leary of driving up through there

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And now here’s a Speed Limit 5 MPH sign. I can now see up ahead that there is probably an entrance to a parking area.

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The new parking area. Seems to be a pretty good size.

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The little 3 tiered falls not far from the trailhead. Looked pretty pitiful today.

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Another view of the creek showing the low water flow. On this section of the creek, there are normally so many cool little rapids.

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Another photo of low water flow in another area that normally has some cool rapids

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Looking up, we were able to tell that a few leaves were starting to turn

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Another photo depicting the low water. There are normally small falls on the left (there’s still some water on the left), and on the right hand side of that large boulder.

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A few little fish in the calm water

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For our walk toay, we took the split to the left

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When there is good / normal water flow, it’s a little tricky crossing this little creek coming out of the mountain into Rocky Fork. Surprised to find this new little bridge.

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This is the creek crossing where it’s normally pretty impossible to cross the creek due to the rushing water. We could have almost rock-hopped across this creek today. Looked a little too tricky to do so. But, this is where we thought the new bridge was.

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But, we turned around to head back to the car and saw this little trail going into the woods

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And shortly, the new bridge across Rocky Fork

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After crossing the bridge, you then have to climb these steep / narrow steps that have been placed on the bank

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Go a little further and you have this pond on your right

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We’ve never been on this section of the trail before. Looks like when the water is normal, this could be a slightly tricky crossing. New footbridge here too.

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You then soon come upon this little meadow. I believe this is the Flint Creek Battle Site.

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We then quickly came to this sign that stated “No Horses”. This is where the trail becomes a little narrower. It was getting really hot and humid, so we turned around at this point.

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A nice woods shot on our way back to the car

Boone, NC – Boone Greenway Trail

It had been such a hot summer. The weather was supposed to be very decent over in Boone today, so headed over that way to take a walk on the greenway trail. We took an easy 2 mile walk today.

We parked at Clawson Burnley Park. There is a short connector trail to the greenway. You can take the connector trail, or you can take the gravel trail that loops around the wetlands area at this park. That’s what we did. On the back end of the wetlands, we walked through the grass to the paved trail and quickly came to the greenway trail. We turned right and crossed the covered bridge. After crossing the bridge, we turned right. We like walking through the nice pine area on this section of the greenway. After walking this section of the trail, as we were arriving back at the covered bridge, instead of staying on the paved trail and walking around the ball field (where girls were playing soccer), we took the mulch-type shortcut on our right which brought us back out to the paved trail. We turned right and eventually crossed one of the 3 bridges. After you cross that bridge, there is a sign for Kennedy Trails. We keep on saying one of these days that we’re going to check out the Kennedy Trails. Not today though. We continued on the paved trail and walked another 3/10 of a mile or so which brought us to the  stone ruins that are the remains of a hydroelectric generation station that produced the first electricity in Boone. We took some photos here, walked down to the river, and then turned around and backtracked to the car.

Here is a map of the greenway trail. http://www.townofboone.net/images/Documents/departments/public_works/pdfs/GREENWAY_TRAIL/Greenway%20Trail%20Property%20Distinction%20Map.pdf

Address for Clawson Burnley Park parking: 355 Hunting Hills Ln, Boone, NC

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Photo of Clawson Burnley Park from parking area

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Once you pass the picnic shelter, you can either go right or left around the wetlands area. We’re heading right.

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One of the ponds in the wetlands area

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Some yellow blooms by the wetlands

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Captured this butterfly hanging out on ragweed

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Looking back towards the parking area from the back end of the wetlands

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Coming upon the greenway. We’re going to head to the right.

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As you are crossing the covered bridge, there is this map of the Don Kennedy Trails. It also includes the greenway.

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Walking through the pines after turning right after coming through the covered bridge

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This squirrel stopped long enough for me to snap a photo

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After you cross one of the bridges on the greenway, there is an entrance to Don Kennedy Trails

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The old stone ruins of the hydroelectric generation station

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Heading back towards the car. A huge field of yellow ragweed and a mountain peak in the background

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Back by the wetlands in Clawson Burnley Park. Walking back to the car on the other side of the wetlands area.

 

Bristol, TN – Weir Dam / Osceola Island

For other posts of this walk, search internet by “ranger annette weir dam osceola island”.

This is our go to spot that is close to home when we need to take a quick walk. The twins were coming up later so we headed over to this area to get some steps in.

This area sits below South Holston Dam. Along with walking, there are usually lots of people fishing and enjoying picnics.

After enjoying the weir dam area off the parking lot, we crossed the footbridge to walk the easy / little over a mile trail around Osceola Island.  There is an identical weir dam on the other side of the island. When you arrive at the upper end of the island, you’ve got a pretty good view of South Holston Dam.

Here are a few photos from today. Since the twins were up  today, of course I included a photo of them.

Address for GPS: 918 Holston View Dam Road, Bristol, TN. When you are almost at this address, you’ll cross the river. There will immediately be a parking area on your left. You can either park here, or go a little further and park in the next parking area on your left. This is where the weir dam and picnic area is at.

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Looking up-river from Weir Dam parking area

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I have been here so many times and have never seen this sign before. Must be some feral cats hanging around. But, I’ve never seen any.

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Right before you cross the bridge to head to the island, there is this trail off to the left. This is where you will come out if you park in the 1st parking area.

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Weir Dam from the bridge

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After you cross the bridge, it’s time to start you walk around the island. Mile Marker 0.

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The river on the back end of the island

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Interesting bent tree on trail on back end of island

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Part of Weir Dam on the other side of the island

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Coming upon a little bridge on our walk through the woods

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A duck in the pond in the middle of the island

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When the water is generating, the water flows into this little cove. Some geese chillin’.

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A slight view of Holston Dam from the upper end of the island

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Weir Dam at the parking lot, taken from the island side

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Sawyer enjoying his ice cream cone

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Eli seems to be deep in thought

 

 

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