Friday, August 30, 2013

Harned Chapel Natural Bridge

We had planned on going to the last Greeneville Astros regular season game of the 2013 season, but Sierra fell asleep at 5 pm. I had really wanted to get out and do something and so I decided to check out the Harned Chapel Natural Bridge which is in Cocke County, Tennessee, not too far from the Greene County line.

I told Noelle of my plans and hit the road. I took US 321 out of Greeneville and headed to the small town of Parrotsville. Once in Parrotsville I headed north on TN highway 340. Surprisingly there was a sign at the junction of the two highways indicating that the natural bridge was 3.2 miles ahead. I wasn't expecting much information to be posted about this bridge. The sign proved to be correct and the bridge was even labeled with a small sign.
TN 340 Over Natural Bridge
Highway 340 passes right over the bridge. I parked in a parking lot for the church the bridge is named after, Harned Chapel, and then headed down a drainage/path that led to Oven Creek.

The creek was just a trickle.
Natural Bridge and Oven Creek
Not much water. The bridge was more impressive than I had envisioned it.
Harned Chapel Natural Bridge
It was a long limestone tunnel; really a short section of cave. I went a short ways inside and looked around a bit, but it was too dark inside to see much.
Looking Out
There is supposedly another natural bridge a little ways downstream and so I headed that way. I walked a hundred yards or so but did not see the bridge and so I turned around and headed back to the car.

The natural bridge happens to not be too far from the Bible Covered Bridge which Noelle, Sierra and I visited back in April. If I had known about the natural bridge the two would have made for an interesting "bridge adventure".    

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Cherokee National Forest: Pine Ridge Falls

Today Noelle and I wanted to take a break from getting our house painted and in order, but we didn't want to go too far. We decided to go for a hike somewhere relatively close by. A hike that isn't too long we decided would be even better so we could take Parker along. We decided a short hike of .6 mile to Pine Ridge Falls fit the bill perfectly.

We drove the Erwin Highway towards Erwin and turned off at Clark's Creek Road. We followed the road into the Cherokee National Forest and parked at a pull-off on the left side and the trailhead for the Longarm Branch Trail. The hike started off on an easy, well-graded old road.
walking to Pine Ridge
We gently ascended and eventually crossed a small stream. Shortly after crossing the stream we came to a trail junction. The Longarm Branch Trail continued to the right but our trail, a spur, led to the left. We followed this trail for just a short distance and could soon hear the sound of cascading water. Soon enough Pine Ridge Falls came into view.
Pine Ridge Falls
We admired the falls for a few minutes
Sierra and Daddy at Falls
before retracing our steps back to the car. It was a short but enjoyable adventure.