Chattooga – Part 5

19 10 2006

…continued from Tuesday, October 17…

Another car turned onto the road and parked across the way. An athletic man hopped out and opened the back door of his blue station wagon. Out came a diminutive, tan dog, hyperactive and ready for a jog. The man clicked a leash on the dog and they bounded off into the woods just behind the car. A swift pace stated that they would not be long on their outing.

The weather was pleasant for most anything but hiking. Temperatures in the mid-eighties with clear skies make for a hot day on the trail. The air stood thick with humidity, but not so thick that breathing becomes labored. In those conditions it takes about five and a half minutes for perspiration to soak through two layers of clothes, leaving the form of a backpack in sweat lines.

The entry point of the Foothills Trail into the woods is marked by an old, wooden sign just large enough to read within fifty feet. The hike from Table Rock State Park to Fish Hatchery Road is littered with grand vistas and steep mountainsides. Foothills takes you up Pinnacle Mountain, over to Sassafras Mountain (the highest in South Carolina), up and down the Jocassee Gorges, over the Toxaway River and then drops out of the forest on Fish Hatchery Road. The quiet nature of the spot can mislead the novice hiker into believing that Foothills is no challenge, but difficult travels are on either side of the road. A four foot wide gap in the trees points in the direction of the river and to another awe-inspiring expedition.

Check back soon for the next installment…

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