Chattooga – Part 9

16 11 2006

…continued from Tuesday, November 14.

Chattooga runs strewn with boulders along most of its length, creating a system of rapids and eddies. The river’s features create a paradise for kayakers and rafters alike. Deep, placid pools can turn quickly to raging rapids and waterfalls. Novice navigators, along with the advanced, find enjoyable trips on the scenic waters.

Burrell’s Ford Campground is a favorite destination for many hikers and campers. With its many campsites and proximity to the river, Burrell’s Ford is the perfect stop on the long Foothills Trail hike from Table Rock to Oconee State Park. The peaks of tents are a welcome sight to weary travelers. This day’s hike would require more walking before setting up camp. Burrell’s Ford sits over ten miles from Highway 28 – the final destination.

The campground was once accessible by car, which is evidenced by the gravel roadbed that runs right up to the first campsites. The rugged roadbed lies basically useless for any vehicles other than the most heavy-duty four-wheel drives because of steep runoff ditches cut at angles across the road.

Check back soon for the next installment…


Chattooga – Part 8

14 11 2006

…continued from Monday, November 13

The Foothills Trail overlaps the Chattooga Trail a few miles from Fish Hatchery Road. At the intersection, a left turn moves the path farther from the northern end of Chattooga, Ellicott Rock and the North Carolina border. The last section of Foothills before meeting the river trail slowly migrates toward the water until it meets Burrell’s Ford Campground.

It was two hours after setting out before the sound of gurgling water met eager ears. The flat trail slowly started descending to the river basin. The path had been relatively straight, but it began making the first of many twists and turns which would follow.

Chattooga River runs through a deep valley along the Georgia border, creating the jagged state line. Standing high above the water, the trail heads southwest toward Highway 28. Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area boasts a three-state river rock – plaque included. Georgia, North and South Carolina converge on the spot. Hikers often stand on the rock claiming to be in three places at once.

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Chattooga – Part 7

13 11 2006

…continued from Monday, October 23

The walk from Fish Hatchery to Chattooga is less than picturesque. Flat terrain and trees are about the only things in view until midway to the river. Three and a half miles separated the parking area from the river. If any hike can be boring it is this section.

The air stood still; shadows of branches showing no movement. Most vernal days the forest ground seems to be a woodland dance floor with its dark figures fluttering and flittering about like nature’s fanciful ballerinas. Of course music is the dancer’s compliment. Songbirds provide the melody and the wind in the trees is the fluid accompaniment. Summer days are often much more quiet – a subdued tranquility.

A few, stray clouds strafed the beaming sun. The fiery orb floated high over the canopy, sending its rays between boughs. The synthesis of sun and shade created a nice climate. The temperature became more pleasant, if but only slightly hot.

The same muscles that were tight only moments earlier moved much easier and walking became a syncopated cadence. Two pairs of shoes plodded on with distinct footfalls – one heavy and almost labored, the other sure and steady. Final adjustments were made to pack straps, ensuring that the burdens didn’t bounce or sag. A sore back is the last thing a tired hiker needs.

Check back soon for the next installment…