Quercus Ilicifolia Blog

So, my wife and I, still on our hiking vacation, decided to take some time in the Great Smoky Mountains along the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. After looking through some hiking choices, we opted to go for the Andrews Bald Trail. This trail is about 3.5 miles round trip to a peak that tops out at around 6300 feet. It is a moderate trail, with an elevation gain of about 900 feet, but it's a nice day hike.

This is a relatively brief post about more of the wanderings in Kentucky that my wife and I did in August of this year. After finishing the Natural Bridge Trail, we decided to do more hiking in the area, and chose the Whittleton Trail. This trail is a 2-mile in-and-out trail that purported to be relatively easy to moderate, and it was just up from Hemlock Lodge, the center of activity in the Natural Bridge State Resort.

A few weeks ago, in late August, my wife and I took some time off. Our wanderings led us to some hiking trails in Kentucky, around the Red River Gorge area. We took an interest in the Natural Bridge State Resort (not sure what the difference is between a State Resort and a State Park, but that's neither here nor there), and decided to wander around and see the sights.

As I've done a lot of hiking in and around north Georgia and upstate South Carolina, it has become increasingly difficult to find new day hikes that fit within my schedule and conditioning. So, I picked up a new book, Hiking Georgia, by Donald Pfitzer, to see if I could find some new hikes to try. After a quick sifting through the book, I found the Angel Falls Trail, just over the South Carolina border in northeast Georgia, not far from Clayton, in Rabun County.

I've been to Paris Mountain State Park many times now (Mountain Creek Trail, Brissy Ridge, Sulfur Springs Trail), and each time I've been to the park, I've been impressed at how fortunate Greenville is to have such a great resource just north of the city. I had been on the Sulfur Springs Trail last winter, but it seemed like a good time to try it again, this time during the summer.

Yes, it's summer in Georgia, which means stifling heat, high humidity, and the strange propensity of the weather to be unpredictable. I went off to the North Georgia mountains to try the Andrews Cove Trail, which is a 2-mile in-and-out trail north of Helen, GA. I knew that there was a chance that rain would be on the playlist for this jaunt, but if I didn't try to go even with the threat of rain, I might never get my chance to get on the trail. That is especially true of this summer.

It has been much harder than I might have expected to go hiking during the summer. My weekends have been filled up with other activities and distractions, but I started jonesing for the outdoors, so I made some time for a quick trip into the mountains. Due to time constraints, I decided to go to a place I've been before, Glassy Mountain, a short hike just north of Pickens, SC.

In late May, I took what turned out to be a 7 or 8 mile hike in upstate South Carolina, just north of Walhalla. The Blue Ridge Railroad Historical Trail is a 2.5-mile in-and-out trail that begins at Stumphouse Tunnel Park and follows an incomplete railbed for the Blue Ridge Railroad. This railroad was begun in 1852, with the intent of connecting Knoxville, TN with Charleston, SC. The railroad itself was to involve a line to be built from Anderson, SC to Knoxville, through 13 tunnels that were to be dug as part of the project.

The Parson's Mountain Recreation Area is just outside of Abbeville, SC, which is about an hour and a half south of the Clemson area. I got to be rather familiar with this route, as I had tried multiple times to take this trail. I had been looking for a different place to hike, and I had found the loop trail around the lake at Parson's Mountain on the internet. This was my third time trying to hike this trail, and I finally found the park to be open for the spring.

The day after I hiked up to Rainbow Falls, I decided to take another quick trip in the morning, to Blue Hole Falls. This is a short, half-mile hike to the waterfall, which flows out between cliffs into a pool of water. It is this pool of water that gives the falls its name. I figured a swift in-and-out hike, but it ended up a bit longer than expected.