Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hospital Rock

I think this may be one of the hardest hikes I have ever done. It should be, because it is rated as the most strenuous hike in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness.

The trail is so steep in areas, cables were stretched along the trail to assist the hikers pull themselves up, but hikers depended too heavily on these cables and they become a safety issue. The cables were recently removed so now the hikers have to depend on their own climbing and rock scrambling abilities in the most difficult areas of this trail.

If you survive the climbing on this trail, you will be rewarded with many beautiful views. There is a lot of history surrounding Hospital Rock. During the Civil War, wounded and deserting soldiers hid out under the rock overhang being held up by Leah in the picture.
Another beautiful site is Falls Creek Falls seen here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rain was forecast the day the Foothills Outdoor Group hiked along the Jones Gap Trail. Most of the people that said they were coming didn't take a chance with the forecast, but for the four of us that showed up, we had a wonderful hike.

There were many flowers blooming and the overcast shies were perfect for photography. Oh, the rain held off until we got back to the parking lot so we didn't get wet at all on the hike.

Spring tour of the Clemson Botanical Gardens

No need for any explaination here.

If you haven't visited the Clemson Botanical Gardens, you are missing one of the Upstate's treasures.

Raven Cliff Falls Loop

Early this spring, I lead a hike on the Raven Cliff Falls Loop for the Foothills Outdoors Group. We started out on the Raven Cliff Falls Trail. We went to the overlook and viewed the 400' waterfall from there, then backtracked a short distance and began our desent into the bottom of the valley on the Dismal Trail.

When The Dismal Trail intersected with the Natraland Trust Trail, we turned right where in a short distance we had to cross Mathews Creek by way of this Cable Crossing. Making our way up the trail, we were greeted by the Cathedral. A shear rock wall that towers over 100' above the trail.

A little further up the trail we finally come to the cable Suspinsion bridge that spans over Raven Cliff Falls.

From there we hiked on until we come to the Gum Gap trail where we turned right again. When we intersected back with the Raven Cliff Falls Trail, we turned left and headed back to the parking lot.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Table Rock in the Clouds

Saturday, January 23, 2010 was a cold, cloudy,and just plain raw. The kind of day most people would be content staying in the house with a cup of hot chocolate.

I, on the other hand, decided to go hiking. I chose to go back to Table Rock as it is one of my favorite places. (I seem to have a lot of those)

Anyway, at the bottom I could look up and see that the clouds had descended below the top of the mountain. As I ascended the nearly 2,000' of elevation gain, I entered into the low cloud cover. The higher I climbed, the more dense the cover.
I met some people coming back down complaining that they couldn't see anything from the top, but I thought is was still pretty, as the clouds give the mountain a mystical look.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An icy Rainbow Falls

This is the same Rainbow Falls where I had my Thanksgiving Day lunch. There is a posting of it a little further down. It was fun to comare the trail and the waterfall from Thanksgiving to today in the one of the coldest Januarys we have had in nearly 28 years. The temperatures here have been into the single digits and have not gotten above freezing in nearly three weeks.

It is amazing, but beautiful, to see the water freeze on the rocks like this.

Winter Wonderland at Flat Laurel Creek

I was just here the Saturday before this hike, but I loved hiking in the snow so much and it was so pretty here I wanted to come back.

This time the temperature was around zero or maybe just a little below zero. The wind was blowing pretty hard so I would hate to think what the windchill was.

Last week when I was here there was ice in this stream, I still had to cross stepping from stone to stone. This time the stream was frozen so solid you could tell it was a stream anymore except you could still hear the water flowing underneath it. The same with the waterfalls I come across on this trail too.

Ice Climbing

On January 9th, I was going back to hike in the snow on Flat Laurel Creek Trail again. The trailhead is located just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway on Highway 215. The actuall temperature this day was right around zero degrees and it had been below freezing for serveral weeks.

The water that seeps out of the rock rock wall on the left side of the road near the Parkway was frozen over into a solid wall of ice.

This provided the rock climbers an opportunity to have some fun scaling this wall of ice.


I stopped to watch for a while and enjoyed talking to Leslie with Fox Mountain Guides. Their website is located at http://www.foxmountainguides.com/ if you would like to check them out.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Walk in the Snow

On the second day of the New Year I wanted to not only do another walk in the woods, but also do a walk in the snow.

We found plenty of it by going up Highway 215 from Rosman, NC up to just past the Blue Ridge Parkway. We stopped and walked up the Flat Laurel Creek about 2 1/2 miles or so trying to walk in the snow that other hikers that gone in before us had packed down. If we stepped out of that rut the snow was often over knee deep.

Here is one waterfall that was frozen completely over. You could still see the water flowing under the ice.
When we started hiking the temperature was 24 degrees, but as it got later into the day, the temperature started going down and it was 11 degrees when we got back to the car.

What a way to start 2010

I always like to start the New Year off doing something fun like scuba diving, kayaking, or hiking a nice trail somewhere. This New Years Day I revisited Moonshine Falls. The last time I was there, the Upstate of South Carolina was in a drought and the water flow over the fall was down to a trickle. This past year we had plenty of rain so I wanted to see the waterfall in full flow.
To get to Moonshine Falls you have to enter into the Asbury Camp on 276 just North of where 276 and Highway 8 come together. Asbury Camp is on private property so please look it up and call for permission to enter before you go up.
The trail in not particularly difficult, but there is a cable crossing on the trail that small children and people with a fear of heights may have a problem with although the foot cable is only about 4~5 above Mathews Creek. There is a picture of it on an earlier post on this site. Also, be aware that stepping from stone to stone to cross the creek here is not an option so dogs will have to swim across and the current can be pretty strong.
You can usually pick up a map in an info tube near the trail head. The trail is not hard to follow, but there is one point where the trail looks like it goes off to the right after you are on the Natureland Trust Trail for a bit. Someone has marked this trail with a pile of rocks. This would not be a problem except the trail map you pick up and all trail descriptions tell you to turn right at the pile of rocks on the side of the trail. If you turned at this pile of rocks you would follow a trail that dead ends in about a quarter mile. So just in case, to avoid confusion, look for the pile of rocks that you will find after you have walked up a long grade in what almost looks like a ditch or gully of sorts. There will be a kiosk on the right about 50 yards telling you this where people get into trouble getting off the trail. if you see that, you will know you are on the right trail.

When you come to the next pile of rocks the bigger trail you have been walking on keeps going straight and there will be a smaller trail to the right on top of a ridge that you will take to the fall. In about two hundred feet you will see signs where people have gone done the bank to the falls that you can hear and barely see through the trees at this point. Please use caution going down this steep bank as the leaves can be quite slippery.

From one of the pictures above you will see there are remnants of the old moonshine still that used to be there under the waterfall.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I really wanted to go up to WNC and hike in the snow that fell this weekend in December of 2009, but I was a little afraid of the ice on the roads so I headed over to another favorite trail of mine and hiked from the Fish Hatchery on the East Fork Trail down to the Chattooga River Trail.

While it didn't snow here, it was still very cold as you can see by the way I was dressed. Thank God for Under Armor as well.

I'll let these pictures speak for themselves as to how pretty this trail is. The Walhalla Fish Hatchery is located off Highway 107 north of Walhalla just before you cross the North Carolina line.