Monday, October 6, 2008

Backpackin' the Foothills Trail

Last weekend I went backpacking with my pals Paul and Kyle on a little over 30 miles of the Foothills Trail. The Foothills Trail is the only long distance trail in SC (even though it goes into NC) and is like 80 miles in total. We opted for a subset and set out from Upper Whitewater Falls, in NC, and hiked down to Oconee State Park. In retrospect, it was an overly ambitious schedule and we were racing the sun each day.
Day One: We got off a bit later than we had hoped and had to camp about 3 miles short of where we had planned to be. Also, when we stopped to filter water, I dropped my filter and broke an important part. We could make it work with a LOT of effort, but it turned a 10 minute chore into a 45 minute nightmare. However, we eventually found a great camp site along a ridge. We ate freezer bag spaghetti for dinner and enjoyed some libations.
Day Two: We ate hot oatmeal for breakfast and then packed up and hiked the previously missed 3 miles to Burell's Ford where we would then started our official hike for the day. We we're hoping to make up some ground with an additional 8ish miles, but the terrain proved to be more strenuous that the guide book indicated and we cut it back to 5.1 miles for a total of 8.1 miles for the day. We had an even better campsite on a sandy beach at a bend in the river. We had salami, cheese, and crackers for lunch, and tuna wraps for dinner. And, of course, more libations and then early to bed.
Day Three: We broke camp and hit the trail about 9:15am. Trudging along until we finally hit a parking lot, just not OUR parking lot. Paul had been struggling with his feet (due to inadequate footwear) so we thought that we might try to get to the highway crossing, about 5.5 miles from the car) where we'd drop our packs and I'd go alone to get the car and come back for the guys and our gear. However, Paul agreed to press on. Eventually I gave him my boots and I hiked in my hiking sandals that I had brought along as camp shoes. It was tough, but we all made it to the finish line by 3:30pm. That day was over 11 miles long and it was really difficult, but we finished.. After driving back to the start to get Paul's truck, we drove to Clemson and ordered the Family Meal special which feeds six people.

Here's a slide show of the trip:


The Nicholsons said...

Wow. Looks beautiful!

Martha said...

Those are some great pics! Beautiful places - and I'm impressed with the hiking.

Alan said...

I am sooooo jealous!

You know how much I like spaghetti!

Anonymous said...

Awesome Trip! I love the pictures on the slide show. You didn't take those with your phone cam. You guys still have it. I don't care what anybody says.


Kyle said...

That was fun. I'm almost ready to do the rest of the hike, my foot doctor tells me.