Quercus Ilicifolia Blog

For my last hike of 2012, I took a relatively short hike just outside of Pickens, SC. The hike was the Glassy Mountain Hike, which is part of the Department of Natural Resources Heritage Trust program. Apparently, this trail had been closed for the fall of 2012, as it was cleaned up and new erosion controls were put down. 

In mid-December, I took the Sulfur Springs trail, a 4-mile hike that is part of the Paris Mountain State Park network of trails. I had tried to take this hike a week earlier, but got too late a start and had to return too soon. This time, I made it the whole way through. 

One weekend towards the end of fall, I was rushing to get my hiking fix, and almost didn't make it before the sun went down. I returned to a favorite hike in Caesar's Head State Park, the Frank Coggins Trail. This trail is part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, situated near the end of the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, Highway 11, north of Greenville.  The trail is a moderate, hour-long trail, and it is a beginning to many of the other trails in the area.

The Bear Hair Gap Trail is part of the network of trails in Vogel State Park, nestled in the North Georgia mountains, part of the Blood Mountain region. This is a trail of moderate difficulty, winding up and around the hills. This trip along the trail was in late fall, and most of the leaves had left the trees, but you could still see splashes of color across the hills, especially when seen from the overlook spur trail that provides a gorgeous view of the park, centered by Lake Trahlyta.

I took a rather challenging hike, this time around, up in the foothills of upstate South Carolina. I had been to Table Rock State Park before, to go on the Carrick Creek Loop Trail. However, this time, I decided to go for the summit of Table Rock itself. Climbing to the top of Table Rock was worth the work, but it was a more strenuous hike than I had done in while. The hike is just a bit over 3 miles to the actual summit, with another half-mile or so to a fantastic view that is worth it, if you still have the energy.

Sometimes it's great to have the entire trail to oneself, to enjoy the silence (or at least the non-human sounds). But, sometimes, it's kind of interesting to meet people along the trail. That's what happened as I took the Slaughter Creek Trail, in north Georgia.

In mid-September, my wife and I took a trip out to Portland, Oregon for a week, for a vacation. Besides getting the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with family up there, we took the opportunity to do a little hiking around the Portland area. The three hikes we took during that week are the Lower Maple Trail Loop in Forest Park, the Oak Island Trail on Sauvie Island, and Horsetail Falls along the Columbia River Gorge.

In early September, I took this trip to view Hidden Falls, in Oconee State Park in upstate SC. The trail starts from the Foothills trailhead. Round trip, this hike is about 5.5 miles, but it's a relatively easy hike. It's only as one approaches the falls that the elevation changes significantly. Approaching the falls, the trail dips downward into a small valley, and of course, that means one has to climb back up later. 

I admit it, I'm a sucker for autumn. It's my favorite season of the year, the little extra chill in the air, the color of the leaves, everything. A couple of weeks ago, I went looking for one trail, but ended up on another, enjoying a day that seemed to presage the oncoming fall season. This was part of the Appalachian Trail, one of the most well-known trails in the country, and it was beautiful.

This past week, my wife and I joined two very good friends for a walk up to Anna Ruby Falls, a two-cascade waterfall in Unicoi State Park, which is in the Chattahoochee National Forest. I've been to Anna Ruby Falls a few times in my life, as Unicoi State Park is just outside of Helen, which is only a half-hour or so from where I grew up. But, it's a good walk, and the scenery is fantastic, so I don't mind going again and again. It also happens to be the trail to the Smith Creek Trail trailhead, and I hope to take that trail again, as I haven't been on it in over ten years or so.

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