Sunday, April 11, 2010

Palmetto Trail to Foothills Trail & Back Again

I took a 3-day weekend to meet up with dad so we could explore possible connector loops between the Jocassee Gorges section of the Palmetto Trail and the Foothills Trail. We've done these trail sections before but the first time around we chose to hike out all the way to highway 178 then up to the FHT. That loop requires 4 miles or so of asphalt which can ruin the experience so we dedicated this trip to finding a more suitable connector. The plan:

1. Hike the Palmetto Trail to the 9 mile marker and camp there.
2. Scout an off trail route to the FHT or decide to test a few sections of double track that seem to head in the right direction.
3. Camp overnight on the FHT.
4. Come home.

Plans change - that's the beautiful thing about hiking. The point is to enjoy yourself so you adjust your schedule to suit. My last several trip posts have been gear focused and bordering on geeky. This one will focus on adventure and the beauty of being out there.

Here's our route on the map.

Day 1 is highlighted in yellow and is just a little over 9 miles (I forgot to start the track on my GPS at the very beginning of the walk).

Here's day 2 highlighted in yellow. We walked a little over 10 miles with the first mile or so being in very rough off-trail conditions. It was technically impassable with very dense laurel but we're tough (read stubborn) so we pushed our way through. I wouldn't recommend this route to anyone.

The woods were full of spring green and fresh blooms:

We started bright and early on Saturday morning with the choice of bush-whacking our way to the FHT or walking jeep trail. That's a no brainer, right? Adventure!

This is not a trail...

If there's no trail only a moron would go the steep way, right? What did you call me?

Getting better... now where's that trail?

There's that white blaze. I knew where I was the whole time. You doubted me?

We got to camp around 10:30 am which was much earlier than expected. We had a choice to make - hang out around camp for several hours or explore another connector back to the Palmetto Trail and head home. Explore, of course!

The new track took us down a solid rock ridge line for about a mile. Its a great hike down but it would be a steady and steep walk up.

There are beautiful vistas off of both sides of the ridge line.

Sometimes you forget the fun in the simple things.

Like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches burritos.

And the things you almost step on...

And waterfalls...

And good company...


  1. Very nice photos, Don. Sounds like you had a good time outside, and no problems with gear ;)

  2. Great photos...

    Makes ME want to go hiking....