THE DONLEY CABIN: A TROUT BUM SAFEHOUSE

by Greg Grime

There are oodles of methods to choose from when making the attempt to dodge a “honey do” list or any to do list for that matter but what better way to do so than hiding out in a cabin, built by a man, simply referred to as “Hughes” as local legend has it, in an attempt to avoid conscription into the Confederate Army? Furthermore, his alleged success in avoiding military service during the Civil War should be a testament to just how off the beaten path we are talking about.1 After making the trek myself on foot, up a gated, four-wheel drive, U.S. Forest Service jeep trail that also serves as the only wide and well trodden path to the cabin, I quickly arrived at the conclusion that no one of sound mind would choose this location with convenience to town in mind. With the path’s increasing grade, switchbacks, and water crossings beginning at the North River foot-bridge, followed by crossings at Big Cove and Donley branches, I wholly understand why someone would choose the location for a hideaway. With three water crossings, a moderate trail grade, and an almost guaranteed chance at meeting up with a local copperhead or rattlesnake during the warmer months, it is understandable why the cabin was constructed where it stands today and has so for well over a century in the historic Tellico Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest (CNF).

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