This day was a milestone in the history of the East Lakeshore Trail. Fourteen (14) volunteers answered the call to build 108 yards of trail to make the final connection of the Morganton Branch to the existing trail (which we reworked several weeks ago) at the top of Wildcat Pointe ridge making Wildcat Pointe Trailhead the southern terminus of the East Lakeshore Trail. Participating in this special occasion, which culminated with a group photo after driving a symbolic “golden spike” at the connection, were: Mel Fisher, Nils Johannesen, Steve West, John Winn, Jim Blaker, Terry Nyenhuis, Tom Schemberger, Dave Noble, Don DiTullio, George Southworth, Jake Thornton, Gene Brownell, Larry Smartt and Bob Martin.
Wouldn’t you know it. On Monday a snag about 14 to 16 inches in diamiter fell across the trail just a few yards from our connection point. No saw was available, nor was there an axe, but that wasn’t about to deter this group. Grabbing a mattock Jim Blaker began chopping and led the way in what turned out to be a team chop with mattocks cutting that beuty into three large logs that could be rolled out of the way.
There was some time to spare so the crew prepped the area along East Coast Tellico Parkway for surfacing with pug next week. Yes, if folks are willing, we plan to do this work next Wednesday December 19. Wheelbarrows and shovels will be needed.
Here are some stats: The Morganton Branch is three (3) miles in length from Wildcat Pointe Trailhead to the soon to be built Peterson Road Trailhead. It is a 11.9 mile hike from Sinking Creek Trailhead to Wildcat Pointe Trailhead using the Lotterdale Branch, Jackson Bend Branch and Morganton Branch. The elevation on the trail at the top of the ridge is about 1,080 which means that one is about 267 feet above the summer lake level at that point. Counting connectors and shortcuts the entire East Lakeshore Trail involves slightly more than 24 miles of completed trail. This accomplishment was made possible by many people working many hours over a period of nearly ten years. Thank you, everyone!