Sunday, December 27, 2015

Cherokee National Forest: Bullen Hollow, Reynolds Ridge Loop

Another day for a hike close to home. My car is not in the best of shape right now and I cannot afford to have it in the shop and so I made the short drive out to the Cherokee National Forest and the trailhead for Margarette Falls. This day would not see me on the Margarette Falls Trail though. Instead I was headed up the Bullen Hollow Trail. I had done some research about this trail and found a loop hike on the Greeneville Hiking Club website
printout
that follows an unofficial trail along Reynolds Ridge, along with Bullen Hollow.

I arrived to an empty parking lot and hit the trail in short sleeves on this incredibly warm December 27th. It was a quick walk on the gravel access road to the the Bullen Hollow Trail where I started my ascent. I huffed and puffed and sweated my way up the trail before it finally leveled off in some open oak woods.
hiking on ridge
At an interesting little shallow pond
small pond
I found a road and turned right. Soon I found myself at the signed forest road 358A
358A
and turned right yet again. After a short walk I was at the junction with the Greene Mountain Trail which I had hiked just a few weeks ago. At a four-way intersection I went straight before quickly veering to the right and descending to the infamous Kennedy Cabin. I had looked for during my hike of the Greene Mountain Trail, but had no luck in finding it. There's not much left of it, just a few pieces of metal roofing.
Kennedy cabin
There is, however, a piped spring that spills into a set of two barrel halves.
spring
I rested on a rock at the cabin site, ate a snack and found an old Budweiser can.
can of Bud

After my short break I started moving again. After a short but steep ascent, I turned left onto an old woods road and descended through a rhododendron tunnel.
hiking in rhodo tunnel
Soon I left the tunnel and followed Reynolds Ridge for a good deal of the rest of the hike. There were a few views out onto the lowlands of Greene County.
view from Reynolds Ridge
There were also some teaberry or wintergreen
wintergreen
growing here and there on the dry ridge. After a steep descent I was back on the Bullen Hollow Trail for the short walk back to the car. Upon returning I found lots of cars parked in the lot. Obviously there are a lot of folks out enjoying this wonderful summer-like weather.  

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