Blue Wall Passage of the Palmetto Trail
With the Upstate Hiking and Outdoor Adventures Group
Greenville County, SC
between Landrum, SC and Tryon, NC
Saturday, April 25th, 2009
Johnny Corn, one of my hiking buddies recently joined the Upstate Hiking and Outdoor Adventures Group:
Since I am always looking for more hiking buddies, I figured I would sign up as well and join them for a hike.
I met Johnny at his house and from there drove the remaining 15 minutes or so to the trailhead to meet the group. The hike destination for the day was the Blue Wall Passage of the Palmetto Trail from just west of Lake Lanier to Vaughn’s Gap and back.
I have done this hike several times before, and while I don’t consider it to be a spectacular hike, it is only about 30 minutes from home making it a nice destination when I don’t feel like traveling to far. It also has enough of a climb to offer a good little workout.
Johnny and I were the first to arrive. Mary Jo and Laurie arrived a few minutes later. A big black snake was nice enough to keep us entertained by posing for some photos while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. Caroline, Sharon, George, Tim, and Steve drove up together from Greenville, SC and we started our hike shortly after 10:00am
The hike starts fairly level on a wide track dirt road for the first mile passing by two very scenic ponds, which are appropriately called Twin Ponds. On the way up, we took a short side loop, which passes by a nice little waterfall.
This is a fairly new side trail and this would be only my second time hiking it and the first time I have seen the waterfall when it actually had water. My last visit was during last year’s extreme drought and the waterfall was just a trickle. While still not spectacular, it was much nicer this time, but the bright sun didn’t make for a good photo opportunity. I’ll just have to get back on a more overcast day after a good rain!
Shortly past the second pond, the trail leaves the dirt road and the climb begins on a more traditional single track trail, gaining about 1500-ft of elevation over the next 2-miles. On top of that, the unseasonable warm temperatures of near 90-degrees sure did get the sweat flowing.
We were treated to a very impressive display of wildflowers, including at least three different variety of Trillium, some Columbine, Dwarf Iris, Hawkweed, Chickweed, Fleabane Daisy, many varieties of Violets, Rhododendron. The dogwood trees along the trail were also in full bloom.
There are a few views through the trees, but this is definitely not a hike if you are looking for some spectacular vistas. We took a nice break at Vaughn’s Gap before returning back the way we came for a total of just over 6-miles.
It was a great day for a hike and a pleasure to meet and hike with some of the Upstate Hiking and Outdoor Adventures Group. I am sure I will join them again sometime very soon!