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  1. #1
    Registered User TrailSweeper's Avatar
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    01-01-2004
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    Default SC Lowcountry Hikers

    Looking for people interested in hiking from the lowcountry of SC or upstate area.
    "If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space."

  2. #2
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    08-11-2005
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    Spartanburg,SC
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    I'm in the upstate, Spartanburg to be exact. Mostly I hike alone because everyone else is busy. Let me know if you're planning anything up this way or around us. Personally I'm considering the Foothills Trail about the second week of December if you're interested. I think it would be nice to get away for a week during the busy shopping season but still come home in time to be with the family. Also that's when school gets out and I have more than a weekend to do anything.

    Jason

  3. #3
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    12-16-2002
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    Easley, SC
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    Default Foothills Trail hike

    I'm doing the section beginning at the Laurel Valley access at Hwy
    178 to the Bad Creek access. Three days and two nights during the
    Thanksgiving holiday (11/23-11/25). Total mileage a little over 30 miles. I was looking at the Rock Creek designated campsite for the first night and for the second night hoping that there may be a site around the Horsepasture River.

    If anyone in the area would like to join me, feel free to come along. I plan
    to have my wife drop me off and pick me up; but if others are
    interested, maybe a shuttle ride back to Hwy 178 or dropping off a
    vehicle could be arranged. Just PM me and we can work out the details.

  4. #4
    Registered User Nightwalker's Avatar
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    11-04-2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchi Veloce
    I'm doing the section beginning at the Laurel Valley access at Hwy
    178 to the Bad Creek access. Three days and two nights during the
    Thanksgiving holiday (11/23-11/25). Total mileage a little over 30 miles. I was looking at the Rock Creek designated campsite for the first night and for the second night hoping that there may be a site around the Horsepasture River.

    If anyone in the area would like to join me, feel free to come along. I plan
    to have my wife drop me off and pick me up; but if others are
    interested, maybe a shuttle ride back to Hwy 178 or dropping off a
    vehicle could be arranged. Just PM me and we can work out the details.
    You'll love that section. I've probably done it 20+ times.
    Just hike.

  5. #5
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    12-16-2002
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    Default A short trip report

    It was an awesome hike! The family dropped me off at the Laurel Fork access lot off Hwy 178 around 9:30 AM. The late fall colors on a few trees were exploding with reds, oranges, and yellows. My peripheral vision was exploding with bombastic colors reminding me of fireworks shows of times past. I thought most of the leaves would have been gone, but a few trees were actually stunning!

    I got in 12 miles the first day (Wed) and camped on the backside of Lake Jocassee at Rock Creek. Man, that water I dipped out of Rick Creek was ice cold! I didn't see a soul on the trail the whole day. But, I didn't really figure to run into anybody as most normal and sane people I knew would be getting ready for Thanksgiving. Lots of nice graded old logging roads to walk on with a few ups and downs thrown in to just remind you that you were in the mountains after all.

    I got to Rock Creek around 4:30 and was beginning to lose daylight in a hurry. I changed into dry, warm, cotton long johns before setting up camp and then drew my water from the very cold creek. By the time I fired up my little stove it was just about dark so time to put on the headlamp. For dinner, I had Stove Top stuffing with Sweet Sue chicken added and Southwestern style mashed potatoes being washed down with some Earl Gray hot tea. For desert, a Milky Way candy bar hit the spot. As I sat there in the soft glow of my headlamp, eating my dinner and listening to the peaceful and quite night sounds, I thought to myself - it doesn't get any better than this.

    Day two (Thanksgiving) had a lot more ups and downs as I hiked around the back side of Lake Jocassee and entered the State of North Carolina. I seemed to be hiking on a treadmill as the farther I hiked on, the more I seemed to be not making miles. There were some very steep stair climbing in some sections that really worked the leg muscles. The highlight of the day had to be crossing that huge 225 foot suspension bridge over the Toxaway River. That thing was swinging back and forth as I bounced across the mighty rushing white water. What a hoot! I felt like a kid who just had his first thrill ride at his local county fair. And, like that kid, I went back across again to relive my thrill! Man, what a hoot!

    But, as I was saying, the deep leaf cover on some of them steep steps up and down the mountain sides was really slowing me down. I just couldn't risk a serious tumble in the backcountry. When I got to Bear Creek at 2 PM, I still had 5.2 miles to my planned campsite at Bearcamp Creek. I saw a sign that reported that the Horsepasture River was 2.5 miles down the trail and Bearcamp Creek was 2.7 miles beyond that. Oh, the doom and gloom I felt when I realized how much farther I had to go. So, now it was time to re-evaluate my planned campsite for the night.

    I figured if I could make the Horsepasture River before 3:30 PM, I might have a snow balls chance in Hell of making my planned campsite at Bearcamp Creek. ;~) So up and down, and, up and down the mountains I went. But, alas, it was not meant to be. I made it to the Horsepasture River about 3:45 PM and knew there was no way I was going to make camp before my self imposed shutdown time of 5 PM. So, the Horsepasture River was to be my domicile for the evening. Which wasn't such a bad consolation prize for not winning the race against sundown.

    I set up camp on the high bank of the river behind a rock as big as a mini van. For dinner, I didn't want to wait on my little stove to heat up the water, I pulled out some tortillas, a good size hunk of Summer Sausage, and some mozzarella string cheese to make some wraps. As they used to say on Hee Haw after Grandpa told the vittles menu, "Yummmmm, Yummmmm!"

    Around 2:30 AM, a small critter was scratching at the head of my little one man tent with what seemed at the time during my sleep haze to be ferocious, flesh tearing claws. That bugger was trying to get in! I quickly swatted over and at the top of my head and yelled, "Hey!" I heard the wild beast skitter away in the damp leaves. I'm still not sure what it was though. It wasn't what I imagined to be the heavy sounds of a bear or the quick jumps of a startled deer. Most likely I think it was the Beatles' "Rocky Racoon" coming to pay his respects to my domicile.

    Day three, was an awesome hike on mostly old abandoned logging roads that held the ghost sounds of men and machine of a simpler time. I fantasized as I walked along these old road beds of what would have been new trucks hauling out timber to support families of good down home folk. I strained to hear the sounds of the big engines whining up the hills and the low throttle of gearing down for the descents. My feet and toes were aching and stinging as if I were walking in a bumble bees' nest rather than hiking boots, but those hills were alive with ghost sounds!

    I made great time on day three despite my hurting feet as I traversed from North Carolina to my native South Carolina. Quickly, crossing Bearcamp Creek several times on wooden bridges, descending down the switchbacks to say hello to the Thompson River, and finally paying my respects to the mighty Whitewater River who lives up to it's name.

    As the miles begin to reel off the final day, I started to pass people and now felt strange and odd with emotions. For almost three whole days, I had very little contact with the human race. What a disorienting feeling now coming in contact with people.

    My family picked me up at the Bad Creek access lot off of Hwy 130. They brought gifts of Gatorade and smiles to me. They helped load my pack and sweaty clothes in the Jeep as I changed into some warm, dry, cotton sweats using the porta john as my fitting closet. I was asked if I had fun. And, as this story begins, I replied, "It was an awesome hike!"

  6. #6
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    Sounds like you had a great hike. I did it in the Spring and it was beautiful...I really like the water all over the place - springs, underground streams popping up right beside (or ON) the trail, waterfalls, etc. I liked to fill my water bottles from the water dripping right out of the rocks when I could.

    I'd love to go back and do it in the fall like you did - Can you post pics of the colors? I hear the views are better in winter, too...I had a bit of the green tunnel effect.

    Glad you had a good hike!

  7. #7
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    growing up, the foothills was literally in my back yard and i enjoyed going to the chattooga to fish on sunday afternoons and hiking the trail. ive "thru-hiked" the trail 3.5 times, as well as many other weekend, overnight, or dayhikes. your story made me nostalgic for good times in wonderful places. thanks for sharing.
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

    amongnature.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Registered User Nightwalker's Avatar
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    Yeah, the first ten miles will fool you. Seems very easy. Then you start going in and out and in and out of those creek and river gorges. Between Toxaway and Horsepasture, there aren't many flat places, and your MPH and hours per day in the middle ten miles is way less than you'd expect. After the Horsepasture, however, it eases a good bit, and you're on a lot of very gentle logging roads.

    For me, it's a moderately strenous 3-day or a really easy 4-day section. It's also the best 30 miles of hiking trail that I go on regularly.

    Try the other direction from 178. You'll go over the two tallest mountains in SC. Lots of vertical change in those 17 miles. Count on 1.5 to 2 days for that stretch, which ends at Table Rock State Park.

    If anyone is looking for a much easier section, go to the Walhalla Fish Hatchery road and walk the 20 miles to Oconnee State Park. It's only moderately hilly, and has some great river views and camping. Add to that the section from Upper Whitewater Falls to the hatchery, and it's about 28-30 miles of pretty neat hiking, mixed hills and not, with some great views of Lake Jocassee thrown in. Some of the views are so nice that they put park benches by the trail as a strong hint to "take a break and enjoy this".

    I could go on about it more. A lot more. I really think that the Foothills Trail is the best sub-100-mile trail in the South. Of course, I haven't walked them all! I'm willing to try, though...

    Just hike.

  9. #9
    Registered User rainmaker's Avatar
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    10-24-2002
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    You guys have done a great job describing some of the best wilderness trails in the South. Madame and I and our then four children first hiked the Foothills Trail from Table Rock to Whitewater Falls in 1980. Haven't been back in years, hell decades, and the children are all grown . The last time I was protesting a jackleg's proposal to use long legged Peruvian goats to carry people's gear, but I digress. I'd love to get togather get back up there before it gets warm.

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