2015 Ocoee & More
Finally, after 2 years of Ocoee plans being foiled by shoots, I made it. Eastern Tennessee in the Appalachian Mountains is a beautiful area of the country and I’ve only seen like 1% of it. I was only able to be down there for a little less than a week. Let me tell you though, it was packed with adventure just like all my trips, have to get the most out of my time. Usually its most out of your money, but time is more valuable than that to me. In all reality I actually spent less in Tennessee than I do when I am just at home. Though that would not have been possible without my friend Anthony who secured the cabin for a couple weeks and Lyle for riding down with me to share the cost of gas, food and keep me company in the car for the drive.
00 | The Caverns & Entering Tennessee
Lyle and I didn’t head straight to the Ocoee. On Saturday night we stopped off in Indianapolis and had an pretty fun night out in Broad Ripple. Sunday morning was rough waking up but we made our way to Louisville to ride the Mega Cavern trails. I had reserved us a couple 26in DJ bikes to hit the dirt jumps with. Of course I fell in love with the place and riding a DJ. Since it was middle of the summer it was very wet down there and the largest jumps were not even rideable because it was basically raining down from the ceiling onto the section. It was quite a muddy mess! However we had a ton of fun getting dirty on the medium sized line. At the end of the day I even went hard over the bars, Lyle snapped a good picture of that, unfortunately. We will be back in the winter when its too cold outside and dry in the caverns.
After the Caverns we drove to Nashville to see our friend Brian. Huge thank you to Brian for fixing us dinner and providing a place for us to rest after we beat ourselves up all day!
01 | Made it to Benton, TN
Once waking up in Nashville we had brunch and were on the road. Once we hit Chattanooga, TN we stopped to stock up on some supplies at a Target. As we exited the store though, it looked as though we were in the middle of a Tornado! So we drove the rest of the way to Benton, TN in the rain. Of course it rained and was cloudy the rest of the evening as we went on a short 4 mile hike to Benton Falls. It was overall good evening and I got a few shots in but I was ready for some sunshine and more Tennessee over the next few days.
02 | Hike up to Cliffs over Hiwassee River
First full day in Tennessee. We hike up a trail that Anthony had known for the last few years. It’s not a far climb up but was really fun. After looking at the terrain map it was probably just over 500′ vertical climb through the woods. We coordinated with the other parties in our group that weren’t doing the hike to photograph us from the bottom. Got just a few alright photos from below, but there was so much atmosphere in the way with it being a huge distance from across the river all the way up to the top of the cliffs, as well as the humidity that was just terrible that day.
After coming down from the cliffs and posing for some photos we went for a swim to cool off in the Upper Ocoee. The water was not being let loose yet so we swam through some awesome little caverns that the white water created in the Olympic section of the Ocoee. I don’t have many photos of this as the GoPro was dead and the underwater camera photos are still not developed yet, Anthony should get on that.
03 | Rope Swings & Water Falls
The 3rd day in Tennessee and 5th day of Lyle and I’s trip, we went out to Parksville Lake and hit up some rope swings. I didn’t take to many photos but there is quite a bit of video (View the video at the bottom of this post). After our rope swing session we picked up the site a little bit since it was trashed from people partying down there quite often. Glass, cans, floatation devices and some other really disgusting stuff was littered throughout the banks, it was awful. If you party at Parksville Lake please pick up after yourself!
We drove about an hour north after the lake to some waterfalls. I can’t remember the name of the falls but I’ll get with Anthony and make some edits to this section once I find out more about the falls.
03.1 | 5,300 Feet in North Carolina
After the Falls we drove even further north east into North Carolina to get up to the Hooper Bald Trailhead and hike up to see the sunset. It was not the most perfect place to get photos but we had a pretty epic view of the sunset.
03.3 | Shooting Stars
We drove all the way back from North Carolina to Benton, TN. Drove up the nearest ridge to try and shoot the shooting stars. I have A LOT more trial and error to make some star photos and time-lapses. I will post a few photos here that I don’t particularly like but you can see a few shooting stars. The time-lapse didn’t work at all so that won’t be viewed by anyone ever. I wish I had more time but everyone was pretty exhausted from the extremely long day that we already had.
04 | Rivers, Rivers & White Water
The last 2 days I didn’t get my camera out, but we have some GoPro footage that I got before I dropped it in an inch of water in the bottom of the raft and it completely died. Ocoee River 1, GoPro 0. So I only have a couple photos from phones and one that the White Water Company took when we went down the Upper Ocoee.
05 | The Video
We did get some decent video! I cut it down to a little over 7 mins of raw footage. Just put on some music from Spotify and pretend I spent more time on it..
06 | Pine Mountain
On our way home we found some abandoned dirt roads in North East Tennessee. We took a little break and blasted down a few in the Passat 4Motion.