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.
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.
After a few deeply challenging weeks, a trip up to Rainbow Falls in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area of South Carolina was just what I needed. The hike is not an easy one, but the view of the waterfall at the end makes the cost in sore muscles worth paying. The Rainbow Falls Trail itself is 2.2 miles, but in order to get to the trail, one has to walk along the Jones Gap Trail for a mile or so.
The day before Easter, I wanted to go for another hike, but I also had plans to hang out with my nephew in the early afternoon, so I needed to make it a short one, and one near to my brother's house. This led me to Dukes Creek Falls, in North Georgia, just north of Helen.
I had seen the entrance to this trailhead many times before, on my way to other hikes off of the Richard B. Russell scenic highway, such as Raven Cliff Falls. However, I had never seen fit to try it out. In the end, I'm very glad I took the chance, on a chilly morning.
Back to the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area in upstate SC, this time for the Coldspring Branch Trail. Originally, I had intended to take the Coldspring Branch Trail, a 2.6-mile trail and then come back along the Bill KImball trail. When I conferred with the ranger at the Caesar's Head Visitor's Center, however, she advised that I come back along the Jones Gap Trail, which would be another 2.5 miles or so, to complete the loop.
On the last weekend in January, I headed out to Oconee State Park to try out the Tamassee Knob trail, a moderate 2.1-mile hike (one-way) to the top of a 1,620-foot peak in upstate South Carolina. A beautiful hike, made a little more interesting by lingering ice from the previous cold night and some fantastic low-lying clouds.
Later in January, my brother and I decided to hike a loop of trails in Amicalola State Park. We got to the park, and he rather ingeniously took a picture of the map at the visitor's center, since I wasn't able to get enough signal to download one. Looking at the map, we decided to start off on the Spring trail, which leads down to the Mountain Laurel Trail (called the Green Mountain trail in my hiking guides). The trail ends at the Creek trail, which continues the loop over to the Appalachian Approach Trail, which goes up to the falls.
So, in mid-January, I headed over to Caesar's Head State Park, to do some more hiking in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, north of Greenville, SC. This is the same area as the Frank Coggins Trail, which I have done a few times. On this occasion, I decided upon the Raven Cliff Falls Trail, a moderate 2.2-mile trail.
To start off my hiking in 2013, I returned to the place I started this blog with, the Keowee-Toxaway State Natural Area. In my first blog post, I described my hike along the Raven Rock Trail. The trailheads for the Raven Rock Trail are off of the Natural Bridge Trail, a moderate trail that takes just under an hour to travel. The main feature of the Natural Bridge Trail is, as one would expect, a rock bridge that traverses one of the creeks that can be seen along the trail. Overall, the trail is pretty moderate, although there is a rather strenuous segment near the end to be aware of.