Quercus Ilicifolia Blog

February in the upstate South Carolina area was a wintry one, indeed. The university was either closed or delayed multiple times, due to the ice and snow. After one of these winter storms, with the temperature going up and the sun coming out, I took a brief trip back to Station Cove Falls. This time, rather than starting out from the Oconee Station State Historical Site parking area, I went directly to the alternate trailhead, just down from the entrance. 

Recently, I was looking through some of my photos, and I found some images from a trip I took in the late fall of 2014 along the Sourwood Trail in north Georgia, around Lake Russell. I had almost forgotten that I had taken this hike, not because it wasn't enjoyable, but just because things had been very busy on my weekends, and it just got lost.I went along the trail the opposite direction from last time, but overall, the trip went very much like the last one.

I've been to Hidden Falls before, but I decided to give it another try, this time in the winter. The last time I took this 5.5 mile hike, the waterfall was a bit so-so, due to lack of water, so I was hoping to get a better view.

I've been on the Sulphur Springs Trail in both the summer and winter, so why not fall? It is my favorite season of the year, after all. So, on a Saturday in October, I headed up to Paris Mountain for another hike. I decided to do the entire trail, not just up to the fire tower and back; this trail is a 3.5-mile loop, and by Paris Mountain standards, it's one of the most strenuous ones. 

The first time I went on the Tamassee Knob trail is was a rather icy morning, not long after a winter storm. The 2.1 mile trail to the peak was inundated with mud, ice, and a chill wind. I still enjoyed it, though, with the bare trees offering a grand view as the trail wound upwards.

During the later part of the summer, as summer was starting to move into fall, I returned to the Raven Rock Trail, part of the trail system around Jocassee Gorge. Oddly enough, the trail seemed very different in many ways. It may very well have been that I took a different part of the trail last time. 

Because my weekends have been fuller than normal of late, during the late summer, I was trying to find a way to still do some hiking. I figured, if I could get to a place nearby after work, that might be doable. Then, I was reminded about the Clemson Experimental Forest.

Part of what I like about hiking is the quasi-adventurous nature of it. Sure, there is a clearly marked trail (usually) with a beginning and end. But, you never know exactly what will happen on the trail that day. Could be the weather's unpredictability, a chance meeting with a fellow hiker that may or may not be welcome, or you might see some wildlife that you didn't expect. Even if you take the same hike multiple times, it can be different each time.

I often like that quality. But sometimes, that uncertainty can just be frustrating. Case in point: Big Bend Falls.

The Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve has a 1.7-mile one-way hiking trail down to the creek with a small water waterfall. It's not very difficult, although there is a good bit of elevation change during the last third of the trip (down on the way to the creek, and back up on the way back). It's a pretty trip, and I tried this trail out just at the tail end of spring as summer was starting to kick in.

Mid-May rolled around and I had been jonesin' for a hike. This Spring continued to be highly busy with weekends chock full of activities. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, I love hanging out with friends and family. But I needed at least a brief trip outdoors among the trees. So, one Saturday, my scheduled activity was to attend a meeting of the Northeast Georgia Scottish Gaelic Society. It's a fun group of folks learning Scottish Gaelic and discussing comparative linguistics down in Athens, Georgia. But it didn't start until the afternoon.

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