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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.