By MARION MINER
For The Vista
It is time to start stretching those muscles again and get in condition because the Fairfield Glade Hiking Group is beginning its fall 2012 season on Friday, September 7, with the first of 12 interesting hikes throughout eastern Tennessee.
This informal group of people hikes every Friday until the last Friday in November. If you are new to the area and are thinking of trying some hikes you are welcome to join them.
The following is the schedule of hikes. There will be a sign up sheet posted on the bulletin board across from the FFG post office the week of the hike.
Participants in the hikes should be in good physical condition. Safety is of the utmost importance to all of us. Trails have rocks and roots. Walking on paved and level surfaces does not compare with hiking on uneven trails with elevation gains and losses.
Please check out our web site FFG HIKING for more information.
• Sept. 7 – Thornhill Trail and Overlook Trail. These hikes are in The Glade and are a total of 4 miles rated easy. Check out these hikes to see if you are ready for the rest of the season.
• Sept. 14 – O & W Railroad Bridge. This hike is in Big South Fork. It is 4.6 miles and rated easy. It goes along the river to an old wooden railroad bridge.
• Sept. 21 – Devil’s Breakfast Table. This hike is nearby in the Catoosa Wildlife Area. It is called the trail of 1000 steps due to all the natural rock stairs. It is 5 miles long and is rated moderate.
• Sept. 27 and 28 – This will be our overnight trip and hikes in the Mount Mitchell, NC area, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. The hikes will be about 5 miles long and beautiful.
• Oct. 5 – Big Laurel Falls and Virgin Falls. The first hike to big Laurel Falls is 6 miles and rated moderate plus. The hike to Virgin Falls is rated strenuous, but Virgin Falls is a Tennessee classic if you can do it.
• Oct. 12 – Greeter Falls to Stone Door. This hike is located in the Savage Gulf area and is 7 miles.
• Oct. 19 – Chattanooga River Walk. This is a new hike for the group along the Tennessee River in Chattanooga that is 6 miles in length and rated moderate.
• Oct. 26 – Lower Possum Creek Gorge – This is one of the most beautiful hikes, especially in the fall. It is near Soddy Daisy and is 5 miles long and is rated moderate.
• Nov. 2 – Leatherwood Ford Loop. This is another new hike for the group. It is located in the Big South Fork are and is 3.2 miles and is rated easy.
• Nov. 9 – Foster Falls. We have done Foster Falls before, but this is a new route. Foster Falls is Northwest of Chattanooga and is a 4.7 hike that is rated moderate.
• Nov. 16 – Brady Bluffs. This hike is part of the Cumberland Trail. This hike is 5 miles straight up and straight down with a great view into Grassy Cove from the top of Brady Mountain. This hike is rated moderate.
• Nov. 23 – NO HIKE. This is the day after Thanksgiving.
• Nov. 30 – New FFG Local hike and Chili Cook-off. This is a new hike in The Glade. They will make it up as they go, but rest assured it will be fun and easy. At the end of the hike will be the Group’s annual chili cook-off.
As a general rule, hikes up to 5 miles in length and elevation gains less than 1,000 feet are rated easy.
Hikes of 5 – 8 miles in length with elevation gains less than 1,500 feet are usually considered moderate.
Hikes over 8 miles or those with substantial elevation gains or rough terrain may be rated strenuous.
These ratings are subjective and will depend on the physical conditioning and mental readiness of the participant. A participant will sometimes find their own assessment of the difficulty of the hike to differ from the posted rating.