April 2nd, 2019
On Tuesday, Pam and I met in Walhalla, then drove to Pickens to do a couple of short hikes. Our first hike was along the Eastatoe Gorge Trail. The Eastatoe Gorge Trail is a spur of the Foothills Trail. It’s 2.7 miles one way and dead ends at the overlook for the Narrows. It’s mostly downhill on the hike in, which means of course, that it’s mostly uphill for the hike out. Overall, it’s 5.4 miles long for the round trip and is rated as moderate. Pam and I ended up with a bit more mileage because in addition to the main trail, we also followed a beaten path below the Narrows, and later checked out the primitive campsites.
Since it’s Spring, we encountered an abundance of wildflowers in bloom. There were other flowers, namely the Trillium and Mayapples, that appear to be ready to bloom any day now.
I think that the pretty yellow flowers in this first image may be Golden Ragwort.
There were lots and lots of Asters growing all along the trail.
This cluster of Iris were beyond their peak and had begun to wither. They were still very pretty, nonetheless.
We saw tons of Trillium. Though most were budding, none had yet bloomed. This one appears to be a Yellow Trillium.
There were also plenty of Mayapples. Like the Trillium, the Mayapples had buds but no blooms as yet.
While Pam and I were hiking, she happened to ask me if I was familiar with Jack in the Pulpit. I told her that I wasn’t. Moments later, I spotted this flower and asked Pam what kind it was. Yep, it’s a Jack in the Pulpit. Coincidence? I think not! LOL!
Okay, looks like somebody may have lost a pair of brown shorts. Men’s XXXXXXXXXLarge.
The Narrows at Eastatoe Gorge. I thought that they were spectacular and well worth our time and effort! Pictures, though, simply don’t do it justice.
This panoramic view was captured from the small lookout platform.
After we left the overlook, we climbed down a steep slope not far from the Narrows, then followed an unofficial path. From along the path, we were able to get a close up view of this nice little cascade.
Here, Pam is climbing back up the steep slope. If it weren’t for her blue jacket, she’d be hard to see in the tangle of Rhododendrons.
Later, we checked out the three primitive campsites that are on Eastatoe Creek, upstream from the Narrows. At this spot, there was a huge fallen tree in the midst of some rapids. We sat and ate our lunches on the water’s edge not far from here.
After lunch, we finally began the hike out. By the time that we arrived back at Pam’s vehicle we had hiked a total of 6.9 miles. For our second hike, we decided that we would head to the Nine Times Heritage Preserve and climb to the summit of Cedar Rock Mountain.
This gnarly, twisted tree was growing along the trail to the summit. According to the Nature Conservancy website, the Nine Times Preserve is 560 acres in size and is home to black bear, peregrine falcons, freshwater trout, seven distinct forest types, and 134 species of native wildflowers.
The trail climbed steadily for maybe about a mile & a half. The reward for all of that climbing was this view of rural Pickens County from a large outcropping near the the top of Cedar Rock Mountain.
For the hike out, we followed the Rocky Bald Loop Trail.
Bluets were growing along the road as we approached the end of this 3.4 mile hike. In all, between the two hikes, we did 10.3 miles. Our total vertical elevation gain/loss was close to 4200 feet, including 2100 feet of climbing. Thanks for reading.