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.
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.
It's kind of amazing how the spring, although it's one of the best times to go hiking, can leave one with so little time to do so. Between the weather, social obligations, and illness, it's been a struggle to find time to get myself out into the wild. As a result, my posts have been few and far between.
Not long after one of our southern snowfalls this winter, I set out upon the Falls Creek Falls trail, a challenging 1.5 mile hike up to an amazing waterfall. This hike is in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area of South Carolina. The recent snowfall was still in evidence on the waterfall itself, providing a unique view of the cascade.
Early in 2014, I paid a return visit to the Mountain Creek Trail in Paris Mountain State Park. Last time I was there, it was summer and the place was very green. This time, it was deep winter, and definitely not as lush. However, just as I've noted elsewhere, winter treks can be just as beautiful.
In the middle of December, as things were winding down for the holidays, I took a quick hike over at Table Rock State Park. I had taken the Carrick Creek Loop Trail a few times before, because it is a good overall hike, especially if time is limited. It is about 2 miles (1.8 miles according to guide books) and for the most part it is easy to moderate, with a few stretches of elevation change that ensure that one gets a workout. The recent rains allowed the many cascades and rapids to shine and I decided to render the images in black and white, to emphasize the textures of the subjects.
In late fall of 2013, I opted to try the Winding Stairs Trail, a 3.5-mile one-way trail in upstate SC. The trailhead I started from is just north of Walhalla, near the Cherry Hill Recreation Area. There is a small parking area there, and it appeared that I was the first to embark on the trail from that end when I got started. I was in search of two falls, Miuka Falls, and the lesser-known Secret Falls. I found at least one of these two.