Our trip on Boxing Day lasted 3 hours and 15 minutes. We hiked 9 miles total. The trail starts out in the woods for a mile or so. Then it hooks up with a gravel road for a good while. You'll walk on Jalapa Road for a block or so until you get back into the woods. There were lots of hills. It definitely wasn't an easy hike.
About the 3rd mile into the hike, we were in a freshly trimmed part of the trail that was very prickly and full of thorns and stickers. We couldn't decide if someone had driven a backhoe through there to cut down all the saplings on the trail, or if it was cut by a weed eater of some sort. The sapling stumps were about 6 inches high and many were larger than a quarter inch in diameter. I was wearing jeans, but Stephanie had on sweatpants and really wished she had jeans for all scratches.
When we got to Indian Creek, I tried to let Fred and Dixiana get a sip of water, but it was just too hard to get close enough to the water without sinking in the mud. My feet did get wet!
So, the bridge was washed out. It was a shame. Some people have gone to a lot of work to put that bad boy in. We have had a lot of rain lately, so I wonder if the creek would be low enough to cross in drier times. Check out the damage:
We were tired when we got to the washed out bridge--4 1/2 miles. I had already drunk my entire water bottle and wished I'd brought another. The way back to the car was an adventure. We realized we would be racing against sundown again, so we picked up our pace all the way back.
For the entire 9 miles, we never met another person, cyclist, or car.
I started picking ticks off of Fred at Indian Creek, and have been picking them off both dogs for the last day or so. I've had a few, too.
And I'm sore. I feel like my feet are bruised. Great work out!
And now for the PRETRAIL escapades:
Before arriving to the Enoree Passage, Stephanie Lockhart and I made a quick stop at mile marker 82 for a restroom break. That's when we saw this incredible burned out church! I had to take a close up look. It is St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pomaria, SC.
Cool looking granite seat grown into the tree!
I learned that a fire destroyed the church January 10, 2013. Here is a picture of the fire:
And here is what it used to look like:
The church is the oldest Lutheran Church in Newberry County. It is 252 years old. And this granite church structure was dedicated in 1941.
But I digress. Moving on to the hunt for the Trailhead of the Enoree Passage of the Palmetto Trail.
Honestly, we missed it. The directions on the Palmetto Conservation Maps give directions from Newberry and Whitmire, but not from Columbia. I did a Google map search and followed directions to Franklin Road in Newberry County. We followed Franklin Road from one end to the other but never saw the trail. We had to turn around a few blocks down the Old Whitmire Road onto Beth Eden Road. And there was another church with a quaint cemetery. We had to hop out and look around. That's when Stephanie said, "Hey, this is where my great aunt is buried!" What??! Well, we found Aunt Mary's tombstone!
I loved these two side-by-side stones of Popi and Bigmama. You know they were placed in love!
KRITTY DIRECTIONS to Franklin Road Trailhead:
If I had to give directions from Columbia, this is what I'd say:
Take I-26 to Exit 72 (about 40 minutes). Turn left on SC-121 and go 1/3 mile. Turn right on Folk Road. Go about a mile. Turn right on Old Whitmire Highway. Go about a mile. You will pass Franklin Road, but this is ok. Just go on down until you see Franklin Road again and turn left. This is where it gets a little tricky. Immediately on your right, you will see Chandler Road--and a sign for the Trail Head to the Palmetto Trail. Turn right and go down Chandler Road--a gravel road for about a mile and half to the end of the road. Now you will be at the Trailhead!