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#89584 - 02/10/08 02:10 PM Bear Waller Gap Trail, Carthage, TN
Bearpaw Offline

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
February 9 & 10, 2008

My fiancee, Sleeps With Skunks, and I stepped off from the Defeated Creek Trailhead onto the BearWaller Gap Trail around 10:45.

Along with us came Dew E. Bear. Dewey comes on most of our short trips. He's our inspiration to enjoy each experience.

We immediately started up a rocky grade.

This led to an overlook trail. Sleeps With Skunks decided to rest while I hiked up to the disappointing view. I could see the huge "S"-turn of Cordell Hull Lake, but only through the trees which had lost their foliage. In summer this would be a NO-verlook.

Continuing on, we then hit the series of steep, mucky, slippery, rocky,narrow, downhill switchbacks that carried us back down to the lake. Sleeps With Skunks was challenged since she does NOT like heights.

At the bottom, we rounded an inlet of the lake and cruised through a nice open stretch for about 200 yards of lake view.

Then we began another uphill, this one much wider, straighter, and more benign than the previous cliimb and arrived at a stunning lake view.

Another mile of easy walking brought us to Two Prong Campsite. This is one of the nicest campsites I have seen in the Middle Tennessee area, complete with a small shelter for 3-4 people

A HUGE privy that is among the cleanest I have seen

A covered spring that is positively pristine

and a solid picnic table with trashcan

The site also offers 3 excellent tentsites with space for multiple tents, 3 heavy grated firepits with roll-down grills, and multiple thick metal posts for hanging foodbags, packs, and so forth. I was happily impressed with home for the night.

At this point, Sleeps With Skunks and Dewey settled in to nap, read, and relax, while I transferred my essentials to my REI Flash Pack.

I then set off up the gravelled roadbed to the trail's end at Tater Knob, 2 1/2 miles away. It was a much easier walk than the narrow, steep, rooty, rocky path of the first three miles. I made great time, passing the old stone fences and cairns that marked old property lines.

One hour and 2 minutes after stepping off from Two Prong Campsite, I hiked up the final steep 1/4-mile of trail and entered the parking lot at Tater Knob. The walk up to the overlook platform yielded great views down to Cordell Hull Dam.

The hike back to Two Prong took less than an hour, and Sleeps With Skunks and I enjoyed dinner and relaxed and read at the picnic table. Around 7:30, she retired to the shelter and Dewey and I slipped into my quilt beneath my Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape.

All of us partook of a wonderful night's sleep.

The next morning, I arose, cooked breakfast and packed. I treated Sleeps With Skunks to breakfast in bed. Just as I shouldered my pack to head back to the truck at Defeated Creek, Sleeps With Skunks finished her packing and prepared to head the other direction to Tater Knob and the overlook.

I headed out noting the the hills seemed easier today than the previous one. I arrived back at the trailhead and headed to Tater Knob. Sleeps With Skunks was wating for me at the Overlook, having arrived about 10 minutes before me. We sat long enough for a photo at the summit.

A mellow hike with enough difficulty to keep things interesting and still allow an early afternoon return to Nashville, we greatly enjoyed the views and luxuries of the Bearwaller Gap Trail.

#89585 - 02/10/08 03:15 PM Re: Bear Waller Gap Trail, Carthage, TN [Re: Bearpaw]
phat Offline

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

I'm envious. your winter hikes look pretty good <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures

#89586 - 02/10/08 03:36 PM Re: Bear Waller Gap Trail, Carthage, TN [Re: phat]
Bearpaw Offline

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Winter is sort of prime season in middle Tennessee. Average high is about 10 C (50 F) with lows around 3 C (38 F). We got very lucky on this trip. Saturday's high was around 16 C (62 F) and the night-time low was about 4 C (40 F). It was just plain pleasant.

Now eastern Tennessee, up in the mountains? Snow. Quite a bit of snow at times, up until April. Of course, I suspect that still sounds pretty good to you in your neck of the woods. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

#89587 - 02/10/08 07:32 PM Re: Bear Waller Gap Trail, Carthage, TN [Re: Bearpaw]
brownwetdog Offline

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 116
Loc: Sawtooths, Idaho
I'm with Phat... your winter hiking conditions are great. Thanks for continuing to share your trip photos. And what's not to love about a trailhead named "Defeated Creek". <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Carol


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