Adventures in the Southern Appalachians & Beyond!  






January 25th, 2009 - My good friend and TEHCC Steering Committee Chair Jake Mitchell, has joined Shannon and I for our maintenance section of the Appalachian Trail this year.  Since we now have extra help, we also expanded our section to the entirety of Pond Mountain... from the Hampton Blue-blaze to the Shook Branch area at Watauga Lake.


On our first maintenance outing of 2009, Jake brought another friend, Tyler Kilgore, to help.  We decided that we needed to cut a large blowdown on the Hampton blue-blaze trail so we hiked in with the crosscut saw, but when we arrived the blowdown had already been removed by the Forest Service.  Nevertheless, we hiked the entire blue-blaze clearing smaller limbs and cutting brush.  We also picked up trash at the parking area.             


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Jake and Tyler Clearing Some Limbs

  Jake With the Ax

Following our maintenance we decided to drive over to Dennis Cove and hike in to Laurel Falls from that route.  With the wet weather lately the falls were a treat.  With it also being half frozen, it made for some unique photos.


We ended our day by stopping off at the Kincora hostel to say hello to Bob  Peoples.                     

Tyler and Jake Taking a Break on the Koonford Bridge   Beautiful Laurel Falls
Posssum Bill   Tyler and Jake at the Falls
Jake's Classic Pose   Laurel Falls Up-Close

Total Miles Hiked:  4.4 (2.0 on the blue-blaze + 2.4 to Laurel Falls)  


Getting There (to Laurel Falls from Dennis Cove):  


Driving - From Elizabethton, take 19E toward Hampton.  Once in Hampton turn left onto highway 321 toward Mountain City.  Proceed 0.8 miles and turn right onto Dennis Cove Road.  Follow this winding road for 4.0 miles and you'll see small parking area on your left.  If you wish to hike in from the Hampton Blue-blaze route see these directions instead.    


Trails - The trailhead will be off to your left from the parking area.  This is the Appalachian Trail (heading north) so just follow the white blazes.  After approximately 1.1 miles you make a sharp turn to the left and proceed down into the ravine for another 0.1 miles (again following the white blazes).  If you wish to hike in from the Hampton Blue-blaze route see these directions instead (it's about 5 miles round trip instead of 2.4).   



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