Foothills Trail: Lower Whitewater Falls and Upper Whitewater Falls via Bad Creek Access, Salem, South Carolina
I have hiked a bit on the Foothills Trail, but in general I have underestimated it. This primer on the Foothills Trail in extreme upstate South Carolina is about as good as it can get while hiking - in fact, this is one of my favorite hikes not only this year, but in the past few years. The Whitewater River starts in the mountains near Cashiers, and grows on its way to Lake Jocassee. There are six waterfalls on the Whitewater River, but two waterfalls are the biggest ones, and more importantly, will take your breath. First, Upper Whitewater Falls is a gigantic double-tiered waterfall, claimed to be the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Following this, the Whitewater River plunges with whitewater through the Whitewater River Gorge, exiting the gorge with another dramatic drop at Lower Whitewater Falls, into Lake Jocassee. This hike occurred on Saturday, October 11th, 2014. My plan was to take the Bad Creek Access Trail to the Foothills Trail, and first take the Foothills Trail east to the Lower Whitewater Falls Trail, and follow it to the Lower Whitewater Falls Overlook. Following this, I would backtrack to the Bad Creek Access Trail, and take the Foothills Trail northwest to Upper Whitewater Falls. After this, I would return the same way to the trailhead.
Nantahala National Forest: Bristol Trail and Fires Creek Rim Trail (Carvers Gap to Fires Creek Picnic Area), Hayesville, North Carolina
The Tusquitee Mountains of Southwest North Carolina are a beautiful mountain sub-range located near Hayesville. The highest mountain, Tusquitee Bald, tops out higher than 5000 feet. In a deep valley shaded by the mountains' crests flows Fires Creek. This clear, mountain stream houses a population of trout, rarely found in some of the mountains. The Fires Creek Rim Trail is the main trail that goes around the Tusquitee Mountains. However, there are also access trails, and the Chunky Gal Trail, which comes from the southeast. This hike occurred on October 4th, 2014. My original plan was to hike to Tusquitee Bald, but some roads were closed (possibly for hunting season), so I had to change my plan to starting at the Bristol Horse Camp, and doing the Bristol Trail to Fires Creek Rim Trail. Then, I would take the Fires Creek Rim Trail to the right (south-southwest) and follow it to Fires Creek Picnic Area. I wanted to return by the Cover Trail, but after quickly realizing that it has 18 fords, certainly not inviting in 40-degree weather, I bailed out and decided to return by the Fires Creek Road.
The Caney Fork River starts off in the Cumberland Mountains of Northern Tennessee. On its way to the Cumberland River and eventually Tennessee River, it passes through Scotts Gulf, as you might know, if you have followed this blog for a bit. I have hiked in Scotts Gulf before. Leaving Scotts Gulf, the Caney Fork widens on its way to Nashville. Rock Island State Park protects a rugged gorge in an otherwise mostly flat area. Here, the Rocky River flows into the Collins River, right before the Collins River flows into the lake-like Caney Fork River. Further downstream, you'll find a powerhouse and Great Falls Dam - the source of the lake. However, perhaps the biggest beauty of the park is a unique, one of a kind waterfall. Twin Falls flows out of a cave system, and drops into the Caney Fork. This hike occurred on Saturday, September 25th, 2014. My plan was to hike a few trails across the park, encompassing the best features. Each trail is listed below with a small description.
The Appalachian Trail's southern terminus is located on Springer Mountain, Georgia. As the AT leaves the mountain, it traverses a watery valley, known as Three Forks, and then proceeds to follow long, dry ridgelines for the better of the next 30 miles. This hike is a prime example of the Georgia Appalachian Trail. Expect some views and some people - and a relatively easy hike. This hike occurred on Saturday, September 20th, 2014. My plan was to follow the Appalachian Trail, from Gooch Gap, north over Ramrock Mountain, through Woody Gap, and to Preaching Rock Overlook on the slopes of Big Cedar Mountain.
Year 1: 540.0 Miles
Year 2: 552.3 Miles
Year 3: 518.4 Miles
Year 4: 424.6 Miles