I saw online that the Foothills Trail Conservancy cleared trees at the bottom of the Virginia Hawkins Falls. I was in the area and figured I would go check it out. I parked at Laurel Fork Gap and walked the 1.5 miles to the falls (map of area can be found here). The last time I visited Virginia Hawkins was when Daniel and I kayaked across Jocassee. The hike along the gravel road was a bit easier, but not quite as exciting as the paddle trip.
Avery and I met Friday a few weeks back at at the Big Fat Gap trailhead in the Joyce Kilmer Wilderness area. It was pretty dark when we started hiking, but the trail wasn’t too bad with headlamps. We hiked about a mile or two along the Big Fat Gap trail to Slickrock Creek which is almost all downhill. Avery had wanted to stop at the campsites we passed near the start of the trail, but I knew the next day would be a long day and wanted to get a bit more mileage under our belts Friday. We setup camp once we reached the creek.
Saturday morning we cooked breakfast… which was interesting. I had a read a book earlier in the week about making pancakes while hiking. All you had to do was bring pancake mix, mix with water, and coat the pan with olive oil or butter. I wish I could say it was that simple… it ended up being a giant mess. Edible mess. But a mess. I don’t think we will be trying that again.
Once we managed to clean up breakfast and break down camp, we hid our bags in the bushes and hiked downstream to Wildcat Falls. We had to cross SlickRock creek once or twice to get there – it was definitely a bit slick!
We returned back to camp around 11ish, had a quick snack, and headed up the trail towards Naked Ground. The first mile or two was fairly easy. We reached the point where the trail diverted from the creek and started its ascent. We knew we had a lot of work ahead of us and decided to go ahead and have lunch and top off our water.
The trail from Slickrock Creek up to Naked Ground was hard. Not only did we have to gain over 2,000 feet in elevation, we had to climb over a hundred trees. I wish I could I say I was exaggerating, but I really think it was a hundred. You would climb over one tree and could see at least 2-3 more trees ahead of you. Hurricane Irma came through a few weeks before and I guess that caused so many trees to fall? I would not recommend the trail to anyone until some serious trail maintenance has taken place. It was brutal.
Finally we reached Naked Ground. There was a nice campsite which was very appealing, but we decided to push on to Hangover. It was around dusk when we finally reached Hangover – just in time for the sunset!
The sunrise the next morning wasn’t so bad either!
We packed up camp Sunday morning and headed back to the car. It was a quick couple miles of downhill – thank goodness! If we had to go up more uphill, I probably would not have made it!
Bella and I decided to check out Max Patch a few weekends back. We picked up some BBQ, beer, and a book and headed out on our adventure. The weather was simply amazing. We found an awesome spot and setup camp late in the afternoon, and then hung out/napped.
The view from the top of Max Patch is simply breath taking. You have a full 360 degree view.
Bella and I watched the sunset. I think she may have enjoyed it more than me!
Bella and I spent an afternoon hiking around Gorges State Park. As always, it was very crowded, but we managed to grab a couple of photos without people.