Friday, April 8, 2011

Formerly Friday: King Creek Falls Spur, Chattooga Trail

It's been a while: understatement of the year! Last weekend, my husband and I finally got to some adventurin'! We took a drive to the lovely Chattooga River area in Oconee County last Sunday, and scouted out road markers and signs for future daytrips along the way!

For a scenic drive from Greenville, SC, follow Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway 11 east through Pickens County into Oconee County. Follow signs to Walhalla (Highway 183), then turn right into Walhalla's downtown on Highway 28. You'll pass Oconee State Park entrances, including the stop for Issaqueena Falls and Stumphouse Tunnel (an incomplete railroad tunnel through the mountain that was abandoned at the outbreak of 'the War Between the States,' as the historical marker said), which make for a fun stop off! It's a bit of a scramble down to the base of Issaqueena, but totally worth it!

You'll follow 28 further into the mountains, winding along gorgeous scenery; it was a perfect 65-70 degrees, with not a cloud in sight, so we enjoyed our drive! From 28, take 107 into the Chattooga River Valley and Ellicott Wilderness Area. The turning is a ways down the road: Burrells Ford Road is the left hand turn you'll need! It's a gravel road that you'll follow for about a mile and a half until the parking area for the Burrells Ford campsite.

Burrells Ford has a porta-potty and well marked trailhead, so you can use the facilities... after an hour and a half in the car with my morning coffee, I was desperate. We made our way down the trail behind the trailhead; white blazes lead you down to the water and along for about .4 miles, where you cross the Foothills Trail! Follow the white blazed spur trail along a tributary of the Chattooga, and enjoy the dramatic shoals as you approach the glorious King Creek Falls!

It's an amazing spot! We stopped for about an hour, taking in the beautiful sunny day with the fresh spray of the falls! Pictures do not do this giant justice.

Roundtrip, the hike felt like less than a mile, but signs have it posted as exactly a mile each way. I have no idea, but Steven said he believes the signs... this may be due to the fact that I always tell him hikes will be easier than the turn out to be. I guess I'm just ambitious! It's well worth the drive for my Greenville fellows, and less than thirty miles from Cashiers and Highlands, NC.

Trail Recap:
King Creek Falls Spur off of Chattooga Trail (white blazes)

As always, thanks to the South Carolina Trails Program for their fantastic maps and information! Please please please check out the site for great outdoor adventures to be had in our fantastic state! South Carolina is such a great place to experience!

I dedicate this post to my darling Steven, whom I've had the privilege of being married to this past year... as we near our first wedding anniversary, I thank God for our past adventures, and companionship in future ventures! What other man could so aptly handle life with a bear, however micro?!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Brissy Ridge Trail, Paris Mountain

Phew, it's been too long! Thanks to an unending stream of bad news and rainy days, Dad and I have been house bound... a lot this winter! Thank goodness for my husband, even with Daddy out of the country with Mom for a family emergency (and yes, this means our March camp trip has been scrapped).

Steven and I have been dedicating our sunny Sundays off together to spring cleaning, reorganizing, and yard work! It was much needed, but we were neglecting the wilderness! So this Microbear took her pack o' crazies out to Paris Mountain State Park for a brand new hike!

The Brissy Ridge Trail is accessible from the topmost parking area on the mountain. It's a yellow blazed trail that starts at the Trailhead that marks the Sulphur Springs Loop's higher leg. The trail can be quite narrow as it follows the ridge around. There were a fair amount of downed trees along that first stretch, and the thin vegetation this early in the season made for some crazy views of the Piedmont!

We did the whole 2.6 mile loop, following the ride first around, then down into the rhododendrons and mountain laurel! The grade going down was fair, and the hike along the creek was meandering and gorgeous! Even without the colors of the summer, the woods and the weather were absolutely beautiful!

When it came time to climb back up, there were some convenient stairs planked into the ground; but watch out, as the narrow climb makes hiking with dogs a little interesting, especially when there are a lot of families out on the trail, like this particular perfect Sunday! Also keep in mind that half of the yellow blazed trail is foot traffic only! Mountain biking is welcome on certain trails only at Paris Mountain, and never on Saturday due to heightened traffic!

As always, take plenty of water. We took a bottle each, and it was all gone after our walk in the sun! We also took a couple snack bars, but only split the one due to our having a wholesome breakfast. Don't forget about your pooches' hydration, either! We have a collapsible bowl that easily wedges into my pack!

Brissy Ridge Trail at Paris Mountain
Brissy Ridge Trail (yellow blazes)

For more information on Paris Mountain State Park, check out my post on the Sulphur Springs Loop, and also SC Trails Network!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Multitasking Microbear!

Seeming as cold weather and missing a hiking buddy paired makes for a long hibernating Microbear, be sure to follow me over to the book blog, Reading Loves! Rain or shine, I read like a woman obsessed!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Waking up from hibernation...

I feel the need to apologize for the extended sojourn Microbear has taken; I just don't feel like it's worth posting without having gone on an adventure to report on, and winter weather paired with drama has made it slightly dangerous and uncomfortable! I refuse to be the sort of blogger that posts about any ol' thing that happens on a day to day basis. I respect that this particular blog I have started had a goal, and I intend to keep the focus. Thank you so much for all of your patience!

My Dad and I are finally going on an overnight backpacking adventure! We don't know quite where to, but this month is scheduled! The sun is nearing our gentle earth again, and as it warms our beautiful southern trees into bloom, I am gearing up for a season spent outdoors in my garden and the mountains! I can't wait to share it all!