I had a chance to get a weekend of hiking in at South Mountains State Park, NC this past weekend.
Friday morning, my buddy TJ and I took off towards the park -- with a few stops in between we ended up getting there by mid-afternoon. Instead of hiking out to the farthest campsite as we had thought we might, we opted instead to take the scenic route up to see the High Shoals Falls first and to camp at the Upper Falls campsite, a bit closer and at the top of the falls. We hung out at the falls while the sun went down. What a great area. There were a fair number of people camping up there with us, and we got to see the "super" moon rise over us through the trees.
I fell asleep pretty early, and we got a late start the next day too (what a bunch of lollygaggers!), we ended up hiking out to the Murray Branch camp by mid-morning, and spent the afternoon setting up and touring the site. We had that site all to ourselves. There was only a minor creek running by, so that was a bit of a disappointment, but it was enough for us collect water to drink and cook with. We saw a bit of bear scat on the trail coming in, so that put us in a certain frame of mind. The bear bag went up a bit earlier than usual.
Saturday night, we took a pre-dinner tour over to the Fox Trail camp, and also checked out the cemetery there, and then came back and had dinner and a nice fire.
Sunday we were up early and on the trail by 8:00. We took a different route back, and that allowed us to check out the other camps, streams, and falls in the loop that we had not previously seen. This was my first time marking the waypoints on the GPS, and so I took every opportunity to mark trail intersections and camps for later trips with the family. I've posted the results below.
All in all, we hiked about 14 miles total, had a great time, and got to see the bulk of the developed part of the park. Never did see any bears though, but did see a few folks on horseback (so I guess the only critters we saw were horses, and boy scouts ).
Here are the pics on Picasa.
What a great weekend! Looking forward to getting back there soon.