The transition from South Carolina to Tennessee is proceeding apace, but I figured I'd toss in this last South Carolina "hike". It was really just a brief stroll through Town Creek Park's series of trails. According to SCTrails, part of this series of trails follows the route of a train system used by the Appalachian Lumber Company, in the '20s. Town Creek Park is in Pickens, SC, not far from the main part of the city itself, but it still provides a "walk in the woods" type feel.
For the next hike with Clemson librarians, we decided to head to Rainbow Falls, in Jones Gap State Park. This is a repeat hike for me and was for at least one of the other hikers in the group. But, Rainbow Falls is such a gorgeous spot, it is worth repeated visits. This hike, about 5 miles round trip, is relatively strenuous, but the view at the end takes one's breath away.
While building staff profiles for the Clemson Libraries staff web resources, I noted that many bios involved hiking as a particular interest. Since that's also an interest of mine, I've been building a hiking group of library faculty and staff. I had gone with a couple of colleagues to Blood Mountain in Georgia last fall, but we're starting to attract a larger group of core hikers. This time, we went to the Winding Stairs Trail, north of Walhalla. I had been here before, but the rest of the group had never been.
On the first weekend of April, I decided to head up to the Table Rock summit again. Last time, it was in the middle of autumn, but this time, spring was just starting to make itself felt. So, the foliage wasn't as lush as before, and the weather still had a little bit of a chill in it. This 3.5 mile hike up the mountain is relatively challenging, although the downward trip is a bit more taxing on my aging knees.
February in the upstate South Carolina area was a wintry one, indeed. The university was either closed or delayed multiple times, due to the ice and snow. After one of these winter storms, with the temperature going up and the sun coming out, I took a brief trip back to Station Cove Falls. This time, rather than starting out from the Oconee Station State Historical Site parking area, I went directly to the alternate trailhead, just down from the entrance.
I've been to Hidden Falls before, but I decided to give it another try, this time in the winter. The last time I took this 5.5 mile hike, the waterfall was a bit so-so, due to lack of water, so I was hoping to get a better view.
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.