Sun, Feb 3 2019 - Beginners Wilderness Hike: Cohutta Beech Bottom Trail (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Grant Brown, Todd M
Participants:Grant Brown, Mamatha, SusanF, Joy, Allan, Steve T, Ryleigh Reinhard, Laurie F, Todd M

Write Up:

It was worrisome seeing the windshield wipers running for the entirety of the drive up.  When we reached the final dirt road segment of the drive into the wilderness edge, it was even more worrisome.  The mud was slick and the grade steep in places and it was hard for my truck tires to gain traction [see photos for muddy truck example!].  But, the forecast was accurate and the rain never returned after 11 AM.  The trail took us through many sections illustrating the effects of the many natural and yet balancing forces that have impacted the Cohutta Wilderness in recent years:  the drought and fire of 2016, the floods of 2018, and the ongoing devastation of pine trees by the pine beetle.  The fire and the beetle weakened trees that the wind easily felled last year.  The Beech Bottom and bluff above Jacks River Falls are significantly thinned out.  The former campsite [which has been closed for years due to overuse] is completely covered in downed trees from what looks like and most likely was the path of a tornado last year.  The area will now recover even more quickly as it is laden with a natural barrier from humans.  We hiked along the bank of the Jacks River down to the falls.  As we hiked we stepped over many piles of tree limbs left behind in some very high spots by last years flooding as the river takes an abrupt left turn in this area just before tumbling over the falls.  The falls were as tranquil and inspiring as when I first saw them in 1993.  We sat and soaked in the beauty and persistence of this remote and living location.  It was a very beautiful hike that we will hope to do again!