Join us as we explore largely undisturbed, largely unknown virgin timber at the under-utilized Franklin-Marion State Forest.
CARPOOL#1: Depart time is 7 am (CT), Antioch Target at Bell Rd Exit 59 off I-24;
CARPOOL#2: Depart time is 7:35 am (CT), Murfreesboro Cracker Barrel at Exit 81-B off I-24;
DRIVE TIME: ~Approx 1.5 hrs from Antioch
COST: $1 donation**. The US dollar goes to help pay for the monthly cost of the website charge.
DIFFICULTY RATING: Moderate periods, with potentially strenuous Exploration, for hiking distance and rugged terrain
HIKING DISTANCE: 8-10 miles.
HIKE TIME: ~ 6 hours
Directions from Steak 'n' Shake Antioch
AGENDA: We should arrive at the north trailhead (Point A on the trail map) between 8:45-9:00 am (CT). We will convene here, then drive down about 4 miles to Hwy 156 to the southern trailhead pull-off. This highway bisects the state forest.
A winter hike will almost certainly mean wetter conditions. Any rain that falls within a couple of days leading to the trip could make certain segments soggy, slick, and hazardous. Under those conditions, there is the likelihood of a stream crossing or two and rock-hopping.
More about the Agenda: I do not expect to bushwhack exclusively, I would call at least half of this trip off-trail. And there's always the chance, time permitting, that I find a gorge or rock garden climb that we simply cannot resist. As always, bring your sense of adventure...and your headlamp, just in case.
Directions from Antioch Steak N Shake
Directions: From Antioch, take Interstate-24 East toward Chattanooga. Take Exit 134 and turn left to head toward Sewanee on Highway 41A. After 3 miles, turn left on Midway Road/Highway 156 and follow 156 for about 7.5 miles. Look for the Forestry sign and buildings on your right. The north trailhead entrance to the state forest will be on your right. Park anywhere along the gravel driveway.
History: In 2011, I was introduced to Franklin-Marion State Forest by walking mostly the ridge lines for 8 miles. In the exploratory trips since, I have found great rocky gorges, scenic streams, primitive campsites, and each time, found at least one cave opening; sometimes multiple caves.
Why is this trip listed as Scouting/Exploratory?
There is an almost 100% chance we will go off-trail for short or long stretches of time (and occasionally with little warning or apparent purpose )
You must be an experienced hiker who is comfortable with strenuous-to-difficult hikes; I do tend to keep a fairly quick pace
• Bring plenty of water, snacks. Optional post-hike meal on the way back off Interstate I-24 or in Monteagle, TN (think Crust Pizza or Papa Ron's).
• My aim is to return to the trailhead before sunset. I recommend you always pack a headlamp with fresh batteries as a precaution.
• RSVP with integrity. If you sign up, but learn you cannot attend, be sure to promptly change your RSVP to "Can't Go"
• Be courteous and offer your carpool driver money for gas and vehicle use. With the price of gas averaging $3.25 (as of December 2012), considering the mileage alone, $15 per person should be the minimum offer.
• No dogs, no kids under 13 allowed.
**The $1 is always optional and appreciated, and goes to help defray the monthly fee for our Meetup.
Trail Map link