On Friday, Tennessee State Senator Ken Yager (R-Harriman) made his annual hiking trip to the Big South Fork. Each year, Sen. Yager asks me to guide him and a few others — usually a mix of local movers-and-shakers (so to speak) and folks Yager brings with him from Nashville or Harriman — on a hike in the Big South Fork NRRA. It started soon after he was first elected in 2008 as a way for him to see out-of-the-way places in the BSF that he hasn’t seen before.

This year, the destination was Charit Creek Lodge, the backcountry farmstead that is similar to Mt. LeConte Lodge in the Smokies but is at the bottom of the gorge rather than the top of the mountain. There are several ways to get to the remotely-located lodge — none of them easy, and none of them permitting the use of motorized vehicles — but hikers usually choose one of a couple of ways: the short, one-mile trail that was built as a way from the top of the plateau to the lodge at the bottom of the gorge, or the 5.5-mile Twin Arches Loop Trail. We chose the scenic route.

Been there? If not, why not?

Posted by Ben Garrett on Sunday, October 25, 2015