Hidden Away

Shelf mushrooms on a fallen log

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. 

Top of a round white mushroom
Two spiky-headed mushrooms, one large, one small
A orange-colored maple leaf surrounded by green ones
Gnarled tree trunk
Shiny red shelf fungi
Trail heading off into green foliage
Trail heading off into the forest
Small orange and yellow mushroom with an inverted cup
White coral-like fungus
Shelf mushrooms along a fallen log
Small water cascade
Small violet flower with red berries

Between Gaps on the Appalachian Trail

Photo of purple flower

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.

Photo of tree
Photo of tree
Photo of tree
Photo of tree
Photo of mountains
Photo of purple flower
Photo of mountains
Photo of orange fungus
Photo of tree that has been eaten away
Photo of white mushroom
Photo of rocky area

Quick Jaunt to Anna Ruby Falls

Photo of waterfall

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.

Photo of small cascade
Photo of cascade
Photo of mushroom
Photo of tiny mushrooms
Photo of cascade
Photo of tiny orange and red mushrooms along log
Photo of caterpillar
Photo of waterfall and bridge
Photo of millipede
Photo of right cascade
Photo of left cascade
Photo of orange flower
Photo of cascade against the flowers

A Leap of Faith and a Beautiful Waterfall

Long Creek Falls

I had tried to find the Long Creek Falls trail some weeks before, and failed. I ended up on the Oconee Trail, instead. But, I decided to try again to locate this trail. The directions say to take Hwy. 76 up towards Clayton from Westminster, SC. You turn left at Damascus Church Road and then turn right on Battle Creek Road. So far so good. This is where it gets difficult. According to the directions I'd found on the web and in my waterfall hikes manual, the next step is to turn right on Turkey Ridge Road, also known as FS755.

Photos of trees
Photo of dirt road through trees
Photo of cluster of flowers
Photo of waterfall
Photo of Chattooga River
Photo of Chattooga River
Photo of butterfly
Photo of waterfall
Photo of waterfall
Photo of smaller cascade
Photo of hill
Photo of yellow flower

Turn of the Wheel...Kinda

So, this past weekend, I went back to Oconee State Park, in South Carolina. This time, I went for the Old Waterwheel Trail, named for the spot where there used to be an old waterwheel that pumped water. The wheel is no longer there, having been moved elsewhere, but the remnants of the stone structure still remain.

Photo of trail
Photo of mushroom
Photo of steps on trail
Photo of mushroom
Photo of stone columns
Photo of stone structure
Photo of small tree
Photo of fallen logs
Photo of ferns on trail
Photo of trail
Photo of spider web
Photo of mushroom

Return to Paris Mountain

After last week's enjoyable jaunt in Paris Mountain State Park, I decided to try out one of the other hikes there. The Brissy Ridge trail is part of the network of trails throughout the park, listed as 2.3 miles round trip and on their ranking of 1-10 in terms of difficulty (10 being most strenuous), it rates as 7 and 9. It's a fairly well-traveled and well-kept trail, and there were hikers and runners along the trail.

Photo of hiking trail
Photo of tree moss
Photo of hiking trail
Photo of tree growing around boulder
Photo of moss covered rock
Photo of steps on the trail
Photo of fungi growing out of log
Photo of tree trunk
Photo of forest
Photo of fungi
Photo of bent tree

Mountain Creek Trail in Paris Mountain State Park

photo of creek

This time, I took a trip along the Mountain Creek Trail, which is part of a series of trails in the Paris Mountain State Park, just north of Greenville, SC. I had not even been aware of this state park, but I found the trails on the web and figured I'd give it a chance. It wasn't a very long trail, only 2.6 miles, but considering the heat wave we've been dealing with, that was about all I was prepared to do. As it was, there was much sweat involved in this hike, and very little of it was due to hiking difficulty.

Photo of creek
Photo of small leafy branch
Photo of leaves
Photo of hiking trail
Photo of leaves
Photo of tulip poplar
Photo of rocky area
Photo of dead tree root
Photo of mossy stump
Photo of tree growing out of a rock
Photo of bent tree
photo of mushroom growing on trunk of tree

Hiking in the Heat along the Oconee Trail

photo of path through hardwoods and rhododendrons

Honestly, this was not the trail I had intended to take on the first day of July. I had intended, the day before, to hike the trail to Opossum Creek Falls in upstate South Carolina. However, apparently, either my handy waterfall guide needs updating, or I just flat out couldn't find the appropriate roads to the trailhead. So, I then decided, no worries, there are other falls in the area, so I tried for another one, and once again, I had no luck.

photo of hiking trail
photo of hiking trail through hardwoods and rhododendrons
photo of tree with bent trunk
photo of woven rhododendron branches
photo of creek
photo of fallen tree trunk
photo of trail sign with "OT"
photo of trail sign
photo of young tree
photo of tulip poplars

Short and Sweet Trail

Photo of mountain scenery

Been a pretty busy June, but I found an afternoon that I was able to get out to hike. I felt compelled to back to the Blood Mountain area of North Georgia. I've hiked up Blood Mountain before, and it's one of my favorite areas to go. There was no time to go up the mountain, but I figured I had time to take a quick excursion up the Byron Herbert Reece Trail, which is only about .7 miles, but it's one of the entry trails to the Appalachian Trail.

Photo of tree roots in dry creek bed
Photo of creek bed
Photo of ferns along trail
Photo of stone "steps" on the trail
Photo of mountain landscape
Photo of boulders
Photo of boulders
Photo of lichen
Photo of mushroom
Photo of intertwined trees

Falls and Fungi

The Lower Whitewater Falls Trail starts just short of the North Carolina - South Carolina border on Hwy. 130 from a parking lot of Duke Power's Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station. This 2-mile hike in to an overlook for the falls is moderately strenuous, and provides a series of great views through extremely varied terrain.

photo of trail
photo of rhododendron forest
photo of small fungi
photo of mushroom with water in upturned cup
photo of fern frond
photo of bridge
photo of yellow fungus
photo of waterfall
photo of waterfall
photo of mushrooms
photo of white blooms
photo of waterfall


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