Sunday, April 20, 2008
It seems to be set in stone now that the Cumberland Trail (a 250 mile proposed trail from Cumberland Gap to the Chattanooga Area) will be completed. This is good news for hikers who are tired of the crowds in the GSM national park. There is already several miles of this trail open and I can't wait to find time to hike the 17.3 mile smoky mountain section that is already complete. I am sure the vistas of the Powell valley will be breathtaking and the human footprints of settlement and mining will still be evident and interesting. I think the combination of the Appalacian trail and the Cumberland trail will make Tennessee a hikers destination.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
While I had the time of my life on the sprawling 2,600 acre Ode mills spring lease, I was out smarted by the wiley turkey. On this trip Ron, Billy, Stacy, and I slept under the stars (sans tent) rode four-wheelers on miles of trails up and down Powell mountain. We laughed and talked around a roaring campfire, called to turkeys and got responses, took long hikes searching for our two legged quarry, but bagged no gobbler. It was a perfect 3 days of outdoor enjoyment with my best friends. Now that I have made it abundantly clear how much I enjoyed being back country with my pals I can tell you the shameful part. Around 1 pm everyday it was reaching 80 degrees (F) and we would all meet up at camp which layed just south from the small creek that cut its way through the property. We were eating some campfire fryed grouse that Stacy had brought and drinking a few cold ones when Billy started showing us all his turkey calls. It was an impressive collection and Billy was adept at using all of them. Now you must understand that all of my friends are accomplished outdoorsmen, the type of guys you could blind fold, drive out to the middle of the woods and leave them. They would make it back by dinner. I mean Ron's house looks like a wildlife museum, Stacy has killed animals from here to Canada, and Billy has recently been on a big buck killing spree. However we all sat at camp with no guns in reach when Billy said in a low tone " you all won't believe me but there are two jakes right there." Everyone just sat still, even Ron who had been falling in and out of a not very restful sleep sat still while Billy made his move for his 12-gauge shot gun. He made his way silently to his gun and then tried to circle around for a clear shot when the turkeys started to walk away from camp (probably sensing the danger). Finally Stacy called out "Shoot!, they're heading away"............"BAM" Billy let a 4 shot shell go even though he was still shooting through heavy brush. The turkey obviously took some shot but not in anything vital and it started running straight up slope with Billy in hot pursuit. I jumped up and grabbed my scatter gun and joined the chase but I skinned off at an angle in hopes that the turkeys would turn and go side hill, I would be there to cut them off. Sadly enough the turkeys continued up hill until they disappeared over the crest out running Billy and out smarting me. It was a sad day when four experience hunters could get caught with their pants down by a couple of jakes. I bet you'll never catch me sitting around camp without a gun in my lap again.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
I got a call last week that may have just changed my turkey hunting fortunes for this spring. It was "Wild" Bill Pickett one of the original Heiskell Boys with an invitation to join him along with Stacy and Ron for a few days of tent camping and chasing turkeys over a couple of thousand acres of private hunting lands. We will leave sunday and return on tuesday which will give us alot of time in the woods as compared to my recent half day adventures. Sometimes it is nice to have good friends but other times it is great