Sunday, June 9, 2013

Another Hang on the Chattooga River

Hammock Forums is an online resource for all things hammock-related, and one of the cool things about the forum is that they have group hangs.  These informal gatherings provide the perfect opportunity to talk about gear, and just, well, hang out.  It's fun meeting new people, and this being my third hang (previous hangs here and here), it also was great catching up with folks that now have begun to feel like friends.
Hanging around and talking hammocks. (Photo by Maddog)
Our large campsite was in South Carolina on the Chattooga River Trail at the intersection of the East Fork Trail.  It's about two mile hike from Burrell's Ford, but I choose to park at the Walhalla Fish Hatchery so I could hike through the flowers along the 2.5 miles East Fork Trail.
Hammock hangers are the only group I know to have a genuinely good time hanging in the rain.  We enjoyed the first evening having great conversations huddled under a large tarp during heavy storms.  Then, all retired to our hammocks for the night.  I was positively delighted by the performance of my new tarp in the rain-- stayed dry and there was a pleasant ping when the rain pelted the cuben.

It was a laid back group, and some folks stayed around camp fishing, napping, and relaxing.  We went hiking to Spoonauger Falls, which had a ton of water from all the rain. 
Spoonauger Falls, a short distance off the Chattooga River Trail.
After the first hike, we picked up some more folks to go on a treasure hunt for hard-to-find Ellicott's Rock (which may be more accurately called Commissioner's Rock) marking the NC/SC border. 
On an adventure to find Ellicott's Rock on the Chattooga River Trail.
Thanks to the awesome navigational skills of two of the guys who'd seen it before, the historic rock was located and we scrambled down the steep bank to see the inscription right above the high waters of the roaring river.
Ellicott's Rock inscribed  "LAT 35, AD 1813 NC + SC"
On Sunday, instead of hiking directly back to my car, I opted for a longer hike.  I headed north on the Chattooga River Trail 1.8 miles past Ellicott Rock, then turned right on the unsigned Bad Creek Trail for 1 mile and then joined the Fork Mountain Trail for 6.4 miles to Sloan Bridge, where I picked up the Foothills Trail for 3.3 miles to where it intersected the Fish Hatchery Access road, then 1.7 mile roadwalk down to the Fish Hatchery and my car.  All great trails, and a nice end to a fun weekend.
Mountain laurel along the Fork Mountain Trail.
Rosebay rhododendron near Spoonauger Falls.

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