Wednesday, December 11, 2013

54,000 Acre Virgin Falls Natural Area Dedicated

 Governor Haslam, TDEC Commisioner Bob Martineau, Brock Hill, a host of other dignitaries gathered on this brisk December morning to dedicate the 54,000 acre natural area, now protected in perpetuity. Roane County's Mary Lynn Dobson spoke for the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation , which led the fight to protect Virgin Falls, one of the world's scenic and geologic wonders. These shots are from the lookout point looking over the Caney Fork River in Scott's Gulf. With this addition our state now has an unbroken wilderness corridor that stretches from Scott's Gulf to Fall Creek Falls Natural area.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More Photos From My Hike

I think lots of folks see Walden Ridge from the TN Valley and realize it is the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau and think the plateau is flat across until it falls off the western side down to Nashville. It would be called Walden "Cliff" if that were so. It is very cliff like on the eastern side but is eroded off into a series of valleys on the western side. Some of these shots are taken at the very top so you can see the drop off on either side. It's the closest I can come, short of hiring a helicopter and pilot, which I am thinking about doing...Seriously! The creek is Laurel Creek which is the last big tributary to Whites Creek on the Rhea County (southern) side before it flows into Watts Bar Lake. All of these were taken on the western slope of Walden Ridge up to the top.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Whites Creek Global Headquarters As Seen From Yonder Mountain

Took a bit of a hike today up to the top of the mountain in yesterday's photo. My fancy Nikon lens was sent back to the factory under warranty so I took these with my wife's little outdoor Pentax.

View From the Top 11-18-2013

This is one of those panorama shots with the new Pentax outdoor camera. Roane County is on the near side of Whites Creek and Rhea is the far side of the gorge. The view goes from due East to Southwest. Due South is directly across the peak of the dead tree and the mountain just right of center. There is a bald eagle flying around in the deep gorge but you'll have to trust me that it's there. I can't find it either.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I So Want This For Whites Creek

If you want to protect rare species, first you have to find them. In the past few years, biologists have developed a powerful new tool to do that. They've discovered that they can often find traces of animal DNA in streams, ponds — even oceans.
What's Swimming in the River?

Monday, July 08, 2013

Diana's In The Yard

This is that time of year when the relatively rare Diana Fritillary butterflies get together and make sure there are Diana Fritillaries next year. The males arise in late spring and survive until the girls come out, about now, actually. These shots were taken on opposite sides of the house today. Males on the butterfly bush and female on the monarda. Interesting lives they have, albeit short ones. The males will die soon after mating. The girls will survive until frost. They deposit their eggs near violets but not on them. The babies hatch and don't eat but crawl into safe cracks and crevices in the earth to winter over until spring. Those that survive, a small percentage, find the violets and start eating. Then everything starts all over again. Amazing! And yes, there is a lot of activity for the sharp eyed to observe...

Sunday, July 07, 2013

What's Making All That Noise Out There in the Puddles?

With all this rain we have a renewal of toads calling all over the county. Here is a resource that will let you play the call and see what's making all that racket out in the yard. Right now the eastern spadefoot toads are the main songs we are hearing. We also hear the occasional narrow-mouthed toad. Both tend to call after heavy rains. I would be interested in everyone posting what they can identify...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Whites Creek Palooza...It's Time

2 PM til 9 PM Sat. June 29

 In benefit for the good folks at Conservation Fisheries we will gather for a fun time in Whites Creek Gorge, a 164 acre conservation easement along the creek in Roane County, Tn. We swim in the pristine waters of Whites Creek, hang out in the sun, eat, drink, and listen to some fine music from Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle, and maybe some other special musical guests. There'll be things to buy and an auction of at least two works of art, including this years edition of the Palooza fish mosaic by Joe Matlock and Rita Senko. The Palooza is family friendly but no pets, please.

We will be in a pristine and primitive area. Dress accordingly. We will be several hundred yards from the house. Most folks enjoy the beautiful walk but we have transportation for those who need it.  A camp chair is nice to have if you want to bring one.

AUCTION ITEMS The photos never do these works of art justice, but this is the third year for the Whites Creek Palooza Mosaic by Joe and Rita.The previous mosaics have been going for $250 plus.

You have to be here to bid. Well unless you want to send me an email bid ( ), in which case I will bid it off for you. Be forewarned that these have been going for several hundred bucks in past years. They are one of a kind each year in a series. This one might be the coolest one yet! Here are the other items that we be at auction.
The above is a green sided darter, below is a tangerine darter, which gets our vote for official fish of the great state of Tennessee. Retail value $75 each.
This is a Dick Biggins sculpture of a brown trout. Retail value $250.
This wood carved fish is a Boulder Darter and goes for $150 retail. Created by Rick Jacob, it is stunning and would look really good on anyone's wall.

So, Paloozers, Are you ready to party for the fishies? First off check out Conservation Fisheries and see what good work they do for the environs of Tennessee and the natural diversity of our streams. Then put on your party hat and get out your wallet. Now unlike many fundraisers we think we have an event that's worth way more than the $25 per person, with guided snorkel trips at 3:00, and 4:00. Unguided snorkel trips are continuous. We're seeing a few big gar this year and there's never a shortage of drum, red horse, and small mouth bass, but it's the small and beautiful darters and shiners that really show off Tennessee diversity in the nearly crystal clear Whites Creek. We'll swim with the fish, eat some good food, and listen to some great music and raise a little money for a group on the forefront of saving Tennessee's fish diversity.

 Home base will be Whites Creek Global Headquarters. We'll spend the day at the creek and return to the house for supper and music. Please bring your own adult beverages. We will have water and soft drinks. We don't provide lunch so take care of that and bring snacks if you want them.

 Supper will be somewhere around 6:30 with the auction and music getting underway at 7 with Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle. The Whites Creek Irregular Jug Band conducted by Denis Kiely will play us into the night. The evening will officially end at nine. We have primitive camping available by reservation.

 The Palooza is family friendly but NO PETS, please.


 We have a limited number of tickets and encourage everyone to buy them as soon as you can so we can keep track of the crowd size. To reserve your ticket go to Conservation Fisheries and click the DONATE button and follow directions. Enter an amount equal to $25 per ticket. Put "Whites Creek" in the comment box. Don't want to use a credit card? Email me and we'll take your cash at the door. Can't make it this time but still want to show your love for the work these people do?. Go to the Conservation Fisheries web site and donate what you can. We'll forgive your absence and keep you on the mail list for next time and you'll get that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with doing good a good thing.

 Legal stuff: This is a primitive natural area with all its beauty and danger and you assume all risk, holding everyone else harmless.

 This is going to be a good one, folks.

 Steve and Annie
 680 Black Creek Rd Rockwood, TN 37854

 Directions to Steve’s and Annie’s House

 680 Black Creek Rd Rockwood, tn 37854

Black Creek Road turns right (West) off of Hwy 27 Three miles south of Rockwood (junkyard)which is 12.2 miles south of I 40. (or 8 miles north of Spring City and left). From I 40 take Hwy 27 Exit 347 Harriman Rockwood, and go south to Rockwood. That's left no matter which way you're coming from.

Stay straight through Rockwood on Hwy 27 as just South of Rockwood you'll pass the “Junkyard”, a noted landmark in Roane County. Black Creek Road is off Hwy 27 about 3 miles past the Junkyard/Hwy 70 junction on the right. It has railroad crossing arms and lights at the train track which you cross immediately. If you get to the Whites Creek Bridge you have gone a half mile too far.

Black Creek road winds around by farms and woods for about 1.8 miles to our driveway. Look for the big old barn on your left about a half mile before our drive. After passing the barn you’ll go back into woods for a short distance until you see a kudzu patch trying to eat two mailboxes on your left, the first of which says 680. Our drive is just past on the right going up the hill. You can’t see the house from the road but it’s up there about 2 tenths of a mile.

 If you miss the first driveway and wind up at the barricade at the end of the pavement, turn right up the hill. That's the other end of the loop.

 You won’t have reliable cell service after the first mile on Black Creek Road, but our home number is 354-4363.