Here are some things to think about when hiking in our woods.
Take a map along. We have provided maps for you to carry with you that will help you find your way in our forest and connect to the Appalachian Trail.
We take a Garmen GPS unit with us, but we ALWAYS compare it to our maps. GPS can get you lost around here and it rarely gives you a good idea about how long a trail might be.
The blazes for the AT are white. When you see 2 blazes, that means to pay attention as there is another trail crossing the AT.
In the summer, the understory gets thick with stinging nettles, poison ivy and blackberry vines. Come prepared for this, or plan to hike on trails that are heavily traveled.
We do have snakes here. Most are not poisonous. Rattle snakes make a pretty loud sound. Copperheads are shy and prefer not to be bothered. These are the only two kinds of snakes that are poisonous here. It is best just to leave them alone. If you should experience a snake bite, just stay calm and get to help. Slow breathing and keeping your heart rate low is the best treatment.
Yellow jackets can be ferocious if disturbed. Please be aware that they live in holes in the ground. It is best not to poke holes in the ground. If they come after you….RUN!!!! Run away from their nest and try to get them off of you. They can sting more than once. Jewel weed takes the sting away.
It is good to carry 50 mg of Benadryl and 150 mg of Zantac with you just in case you experience and allergic reaction.
Here is a link to little video on helpful and harmful plants you may encounter along the way.
One of our favorite places to visit in the winter is Rankin Bottoms.
This unique wildlife area is located where the Nolichucky and French Broad rivers meet and enter Douglas Lake. This is a flood plane area.
The water level is managed by the TVA. The water level is dropped very low in the winter leaving mud flats and watering holes that are perfect areas for birds to gather. This high altitude swamp has unusual features such as Osage orange trees, Cyprus trees, and Honey Locusts.
This is often a warm sunny spot in the winter and a great place to see large birds such as Egrets and Herons. Geese,Sandpipers, Gulls and many other birds find this the perfect spot to feed. Check out what the Tennessee Ornithological Society has to say about this place. It’s incredible!
The landscape has unique plant life that create surreal colors and scenery. We find it a great place to wander.
To reach Rankin Bottoms, you must travel to Newport, Tennessee. We advise going to Hot Springs and following 25/70. The road is not really closed even though the bridge is out. You can take Fugate Road, just go slow as the locals do. When you get to the end of Fugate, turn right on Hwy 107 and cross the bridge. Turn left toward Newport on 25/70. Go through downtown Newport and bare right on Industrial Road. Stay on Industrial Road about 5 miles you will have to turn left to remain on Industrial road, the go another 5 miles until you reach Rankin Hill Road. There will be a Wildlife refuge sign here. The road follows the railroad tracks and is a little rough in places, though you do not have to have 4 wheel drive unless it is muddy.