Palmetto Trail Day 1
Squirrels, Great Blue Heron, Snail
Woke up to pouring rain that started last night. Drove out to the trailhead at Keowee Toxaway State Park. To leave a vehicle here you need a State Park pass. Parking lot was empty and did not see any other hikers on this passage. Rain started to let up about halfway through. There were quite a few waterfalls along the trail.
It really felt great to be back out on the trail. Had a few nostalgic moments back to the AT. The one difference was I hiked the southern AT during winter. While it was a bit chilly with rain today, it was much warmer.
Just before leaving the State Park, the trail split into two. I’m following the Palmetto Trail so I leave the park boundaries. The other trail stayed in the park to a camping area that required a reservation. Very impressed with the condition of the trail. Signage was superb, did not need to use the map at all. The highlights of the day would be 1) bridges that must have been put in recently. The first one is a 70-foot suspension bridge and the second one is a 30-foot. 2) Birdy spotted a Great Blue Heron as it glided to a tree on the opposite bank of the river. It was quite graceful and enjoyed observing it for a while before heading to the trailhead.
Oconee Connector Passage
This Passage starts in Oconee State Park and makes a nice 1000 foot descent into the valley. Birdy drops me off and leaves right away to meet me at the bottom. Another section with great signage. At the trailhead, it started off as a path but turned into an old forest road. Everything is a bit wet from the weather, but slowly the sun comes out and it gets pretty warm. As the trail dropped in elevation it changes back to a one-track trail until the bottom.
Most of this area was a burn area. It must have been recent because you can smell it in the air. While following the old forest road you could see how the right side of the trail was completely black and the left side was still full of leaves leftover from winter. Approximately 1.5 miles in, someone was shooting a gun which was heard the rest of the Passage.
Just before the Passage ends, a side trail goes toward a 60-foot waterfall called Station Cove. I met Birdy here with Rosie as it is only 0.8 miles from the trailhead. The largest waterfall today and it was quite impressive. A great little break before ending the day. In the morning Birdy will drop me off and head home. I will continue with two more Passages of the Palmetto Trail and end the day on the Foothills Trail.
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