Monday, November 22, 2010

In Search of Hemlock Bluffs TVA Small Wild Area

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. You know the type, sunny and warm in the middle of November. How did that happen? This is East Tennessee, it supposed to be cold, wet and miserably dreary out until at least April.

Anyway, it was indeed a beautiful Saturday afternoon and we (Tim, Robin, Kiddo, and the Beene) were itching to get out of the house as usual. I know what you're thinking, Saturday, November, East Tennessee, shouldn't we be somewhere watching the UT game? We say "Game Hell". Of course we had some tasks that needed to be accomplished, but they were taken care of in no time flat.

We finally headed out some time in the early afternoon in search of Hemlock Bluffs TVA Small Wild Area.You see, Tim came across this area earlier in the week while searching for someplace to hike. Considering it was close to home and we hadn't heard of it before, we figured why the heck not.

In our search, we ended up in Loyston Point Recreation Area. We thought we would stop by the lake and let the photog snap a few pictures. No sooner than we stopped Big Billy Bob Mr. Manager of the area comes driving up like he owns the place or something. Wants to know if we are planning on camping or something and proceeds to tell us to make sure we keep our dog on a leash. Needless to say, we didn't stick around and found it hard not to stop at his trailer and throw eggs at it. Of course we had no eggs so on we went with the sneaking suspicion that we would never grace the recreation area with our presence again.

We still hadn't found the Hemlock Bluffs and though for sure we are on the right track before we ended up at the recreation area. So back out to the end of the road we were on we went. We came back out to the road we turned off of to get to the bluffs and decided to go in another direction. This time we found ourselves at a dead end with a gate that lead to some Outdoors Club of Fountain City of some such other. So we turned it around and headed back towards Loyston Point Rd.

Instead of turning back onto Loyston Point Rd. we went straight and stop in front of a little church with a light house to gain our bearings. We saw a road that went back to a Boy Scout camp and that struck Robin's fancy so we decided to check it out. We found a troop back there spending the weekend camping and all the things boy scout troops do. We talked with a couple of the parents to see if they knew how to get to the area we were looking for. After consulting our map, their map and a GPS, they determined that we had been on the right track but didn't know for certain where it was.

It was then we had a suspicion that one of the gated roads had to be the way to the Small Wild. Back up Loyston Point Road we traveled and came to the gated road and looking on Tim's crackberry, we knew then that was the road. So we parked the car and started walking down the jeep road. Within a few hundred feet, we were certain we were in the right direction as we came upon a trail sign reading, well something like Hemlock Bl*ff Tr__l. You see the signs had holes in them. The are is a designated safe area, but a quarter mile back on Loyston Point Road there is a sign saying as much. Past that it is free range to hunters.

Needless to say, we weren't certain how safe it was to be back there but we didn't see anyone parked at the gate and only heard the sound of hunting rifle way off in the distance towards the hunting areas. We probably hiked the jeep road a good mile or more before we stopped and decided it was getting to late to venture any further and turned around and headed back out.

We never did make it to the designated wild area, however we have a pretty good idea, for the most part, how to get back to it. You know in Tim's researching, he didn't find much of anything on the place. On our way out we come to the conclusion, like we have so many times before that Robin has the better relationship with her boyfriend Google than does Tim. We also decided that we would come back some other time better equipped and much earlier so we could really explore the place. So stay tuned as there will be more on the Hemlock Bluffs TVA Small Wild Area.

Oh and one more thing, Robin consulted her boyfriend Google that evening and found that the trail is the Hemlock Bluff Recreational Trail and it's a 7 mile loop that starts in the Loyston Point Recreation Area, D'oh. I guess we might be back there after all.

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin