Sunday, August 26, 2007

Table Rock State Park and the Foothills Trail, South Carolina

A few weeks ago, Jeremy and Amanda asked if I would be interested in going on a backpacking trip with them and Ryan and Nicole. I jumped at the chance, of course, and have been waiting anxiously ever since. Finally the time arrived last Thursday.

For those who don’t know, Jeremy and Amanda are experienced backpackers and good friends, so I really looked forward to both the education and the companionship, a rare opportunity for me. And, of course, they planned and organized a great trip to Table Rock State Park and the Foothills trail in South Carolina, on the southern edge of the Blue Ridge.

We started near the lake in Table Rock State Park and headed up the trail lined with waterfalls dropping to the lake.

After a strenuous hike that gained about 1200 feet elevation, we arrived at Bald Overlook. You can just see the lake at the starting point in the first picture below. There are some great views from several directions, so I tried to capture several. I can’t do it justice of course.

From there it was another 400 feet up to the base of Mount Pinnacle before declining to the Rocky Point overlook and then our campsite at about 3000 feet. After a great evening around the campfire at a great campsite, here is the crew packed up and ready to head back down the next morning.

Sometimes the trip back can be a bit anti-climatic on an out-and-back trail. That was not to be on this one, because Jeremy led us in nearly continuous songs of praise to the Lord during our 4 hour descent. It is amazing how inspiring this can be, even when some of us were only able to get out half the words between gasps for air. And, of course, this trip was really about the people. Jeremy and Amanda, below, and Ryan, myself and Nicole. Oops, I can't forget beagles Chaucier and Winston with Ryan at the top of old Baldy.

And, what a great tuneup for the 2007 version of Max’s Retirement Adventures tour of the great American Northwest. I’ll be leaving later this week for South Dakota, Montana, Washington and Oregon. Eventually I plan to circle back to Texas by some time in October. Some of my favorite times last fall were in places recommended by friends, so if you have special experiences in that area, I’d like to hear about them.