December 18th, 2009: This weekend Solstice camp at Frog Level!

WHAT: Join Tennessee Mountain Justice, Appalachian Earth First!ers, and United Mountain Defense for a PRIMITIVE Winter Solstice Camp Out at Frog Level in Tennessee on December 18th, 2009. If you love mountains, camping, hiking, the forest and all that is completely effing awesome, come spend a rejuvenating, spa-like atmosphere among friends in the woods for the weekend. The camping is a breezy stroll from the parking area and is easily accessible*.


WHY: To reinvigorate, enthuse, and inspire the mountain activist and city-bound weekend warrior through exposure to the Appalachians; to bring passion, humor, joy, and fervency of purpose back into the cause; to forge friendships, cooperation, and alliances throughout Appalachia; gorge of the plentiful spiritual bounty, howl at the moon. Primitive style.

WHERE: Frog Level is in Cherokee National Forest located in Eastern Tennessee and is accessible by road and the Appalachian Trail . It is located in the Watauga River area right next to the Lacy Trap Trail (#36), a moderate 3 mile biking and hiking trail. The area also features other back country trails and abundant water.

WHAT TO BRING: Winter camping takes some preparation so please come prepared to be self sufficient (think: post-apocalyptic) and bring all the gear you will need to stay warm. The following are ideas for gear you will need to be happy while camping in the chilly season.

  • Warm clothes layers, layers, layers
  • Rain Gear
  • Boots and extra warm socks
  • Basic camping gear (tent, warm sleeping bag, tarps, etc)
  • Musical Instruments
  • Recreation Equipment and toys for entertainment
  • Toilet Paper & digging apparatus
  • Eating utensils (plate, bowl, fork, spoon, cup)
  • Water (You will need to bring your own water! At least 2 liters/day/person.) or a water filter.

Bring enough food for yourself (incl’d food for snacks and hiking), as well as a way to cook it.
Come prepared for rain and cold. BUTT COLD.


  • Stuff to go on oatmeal – fruit, raisins, nuts, honey,
    brown sugar, etc
  • Breads
  • Coffee
  • Lots of vegetables and fruits
  • Any other food you can bring
  • Water!!!! Please make sure you bring your own water!!!!

Get a map of TN and find Johnson City. The mountains east
of Johnson City is the camp location (south of Watauga
Resevoir). Folks coming from the North, West and
South(except the extreme southeast) will want to figure out
how to get on Interstate 81 and take that to upper east
Tennessee. When you see the signs for Johnson City, get on
I-181 and travel about 14 miles to Johnson City. Get off at
Exit 31 (Hwy 321, Elizabethton) and take Hwy 321 (also Hwy
67) east for approx 9 miles to Elizabethton. Go thru
Elizabethton and follow 321 as it joins 19E south
(you’ll be turning right onto 19E) towards Hampton
(approx 5 miles). Note; if you blunder into old downtown
Elizabethton, continue straight thru all the lights, over a
bridge and around a monument, and you’ll come to 19E and
turn right.

Look for signs to the USFS Dennis Cove campground and
follow them. They are brown signs on the right side of road.
At Hampton, 321 will split from 19E so turn left at the
Texaco and follow Hwy 321 (also Hwy 67) east a little over a
half mile. You’re in a residential area… Look for the
“Citizen’s Bank” at the fork and turn right
onto what is now Dennis Cove Rd. Travel up this steep and
VERY WINDING paved road, with several hairpin turns (careful
at night!) and enter the Cherokee Nat’l Forest in about
5 miles.

Follow Dennis Cove Rd. past the Laurel Creek Lodge, (A.T.
hostel and last chance for gas, firewood & ice), and
pass the Appalachian Trail crossing and Dennis Cove

In about another mile, the pavement ends at the top of
Dennis Cove. The gravel road can be very rough, though it
was well maintained as of early this year. Go slow &
follow this road, known as Forest Service Road #50 for
3/4ths of a mile to a 3-way split in the road. Take the
FAR-RIGHT split (onto FS#50F) and travel along this gravel
road for another 2+ miles and you will arrive at “Frog
Level”. There is a sort of cul-de-sac here and it can
be very muddy. Park so that you don’t block the road. If
you arrive at night, it would be wise to inspect your
parking spot wth a flashlight to avoid HUGE mud holes and
drop-offs along the perimeter.

Now you’ll enjoy 3 invigorating, SHALLOW rock-bottomed stream
crossings that (barring heavy rain) are less than knee-deep. Items left
at the first crossing are usually awaiting a helpful hand to
camp so if you’ve got empty hands, please grab what you
can handle for a ~1/4 mile hike to camp. After the 3rd
crossing bear left and follow the tree line trail around the
meadow and you’ll come to the camp.

Note: Shooting range is available and will be utilized. Come prepared to share and shoot!

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