Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hang along the Chattooga River

I went on backpacking with group from Hammock Forums to the Chattooga River near Burrell's Ford in South Carolina.  It was fun seeing some of the people from my first hang with the group, as well as meeting new folks.  Hiked in with one of the organizers and his 6 year old daughter who was going on her first backpacking trip, which was really sweet.
Yellowroot along the banks of the Chattooga.
We camped at a large site on the Chattooga River Trail directly south of the East Fork Branch.  I prefer hanging off by myself where it's quiet so I ended up with my hammock sort of far away from everything.  Which made for very peaceful sleeping and I didn't feel like I was bothering anyone as much when I got up early.  But it was so funny because I kept loosing my hammock and felt totally silly wandering around in dark (and a few times during the day) looking for it.  I must have looked ridiculous.  Oh well.
Delicious breakfast.
It got down to freezing during the night, but got up to a cozy fire already blazing.  One of the guys cooked up an incredible dutch oven breakfast casserole of eggs, sausage, potatoes, and cheese for everyone.  Can you imagine bringing in all that food and a iron cast oven to share with everyone.  That's just the sort of people these are!
You know how I always say that I can never find anyone that hikes my pace?  Well, while most people stayed back in camp or went on shorter hikes, three of the guys and I went on a gorgeous 9 mile loop and tore up all the hills.  It was refreshing to hike with other people at pace that felt good (and even pushed me a little)!!!   In the past few years since I started backpacking more often, the only time that happens is when I'm solo.  Made it back to camp just in time for the raffle (raising money for Children's Cancer Research-- huge thanks to all the vendors that donated items).  And to top it all off, we even went for a second, 4-mile hike in the evening up to look for Ellicott's Rock.  Hiking bliss.
Trillium just starting to open on the East Fork Trail.
In addition to the awesome hiking and delicious food, I also loved the great conversations.  I got high-quality answers to numerous hammocking questions-- and the way people answered questions was never condescending.  You know how with some groups, if you are new they won't talk to you?  Well not this group. 

It was also fascinating touring of everyone's setups and hearing how people solved various problems and the reasoning behind various gear choices and modifications.  I could really geek-out examining the construction details of tarps and TQs, and took home lots of ideas for future projects. 
Another highlight were the stories around the campfire at night.  We were really lucky to have some excellent storytellers that were totally hilarious.  And also fortunate to have folks that seemed to like building campfires.  Makes me think I got to figure out what I can do to contribute next time.
King's Creek Falls.
On Sunday, I hiked out the long way so I could visit two waterfalls.  Heading south of the CRT, I took the short, marked side trail to visit Spoonauger Falls.  Then continued on the CRT, crossed over the road and picked up a trail that followed the river past the campground, and finally cut up on the Foothills Trail.  The short side trail to King's Creek Falls ran through a botanically rich cove forest with several species of trillium.  From there, it was just a short distance to my car at Burrell's Ford Road parking area.


  1. Sounds like an amazing weekend! And someone carrying that pot out? Craziness!

  2. Somehow I just can't wrap my head around carrying a dutch oven on a backpacking trip, although I do admire the person who can do it.

    Just so you know who I am, I drove down from West Virginia for the Warwoman Beginner's Backpacking Trip last weekend. (Thanks so much for your patience. I have a ways to go to shed the winter weight and get to hiking weight. It's one reason I chose that hike. First hike out of the season and 2 miles. Hard to believe I struggled anyway.)
    Yes, I found your blog. It's interesting and informative. Oh, and thanks for making me more appreciative of plants.

    1. Haha- yes, the dutch oven was something else for sure. He took two trips in to carry it. The meals were incredible.

      Really enjoyed meeting you on the backpacking trip and loved hearing your stories!!! Fun talking about all the cool places like Dolly Sods with you. Hope to see you again some other time out on the trail!

  3. Hey Joan,
    I love reading your blog!
    I really enjoyed reminiscing about this trip. It was an awesome hang and the breakfast was as incredible as you said. Here is a video from around the campfire that you may like.
    I hope to see you again on the trail some day.