Monday, April 20, 2015

Foothills Trail Thru-Hike - Upper Whitewater Falls

Foothills Trail Thru-Hike – Day 2 - 3/24/15 – Chattooga River Campsite to Thompson River Campsite – 19.7 Miles

Cathy and I are simple morning people, no stoves, no cooking, just grab a nutrition bar and hit the trail.  Our tents were just slightly damp.  We packed up and were on the move about 8:00 a.m., a bit chilly in long pants and gloves. 

After two short miles we reached Burrell’s Ford Road. Nearby is a USFS camp- ground.  We couldn’t have made it there last night to camp in comfort, but we were still excited for the composting toilet in the parking lot.  Here we removed clothes down to shorts and short sleeves for our upcoming climb.

On the climb up Medlin Mountain we saw a tree burl as big as Cathy

Watch your head

Our guidebook indicated winter views of Whiteside Mountain but I must not have looked at the right time and missed it.  We did have nice glimpses of Lake Jocassee.  Benches along this section were built by a Girl Scout and several bridges were built by Boy Scouts. 

Emerging yellow trillium

More trillium foliage – what kind will this be?

Today we crossed the state line into North Carolina.  I was especially excited because Upper Whitewater Falls was the star attraction coming up.  We detoured to the restrooms for fresh water and walked through the huge parking lot to the falls overlook.

Upper Whitewater Falls, 411 feet high and pretty impressive even across the gorge

The side trail scrambles steeply down to connect with the Foothills Trail which leads to a massive steel bridge across the Whitewater River.  The signage tells you that you can’t view the falls from the river, but you sorta can glimpse it without the foliage if you know where to look. 

Cathy stretching to get onto the bridge - sometimes being short has its disadvantages

On the bridge over the Whitewater River

Yellow violets at the base of a stump

The miles seemed to pass more easily today, although the elevation map would say otherwise.  Camping is not allowed for several miles in the Whitewater River area, so we had more hiking ahead of us.  We finally called it a day as we crossed Thompson River on a 75-foot wooden bridge to a designated campsite.  Here we pitched tents along with Charles, the fellow who shuttled to the trailhead with us the day before. 

We carried our cooking gear down to big boulders beside the roaring creek and enjoyed a relaxing supper after a high mileage day, comparing notes about hikes completed and trails yet to be traveled.  My feet and legs weren’t quite as tired tonight.  Lights out by 8:30 p.m.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”  ~Rachel Carson

1 comment:

Nancy said...

You guys covered some ground! The stretch between Burrell's Ford and Sloan Bridge was where my hiking crew had multiple yellow jacket encounters last summer, so I'm glad that wasn't the case for you this early in the season! :-)