What's Happening

Hike plans and photos are regularly updated, posted, and continuously available on this site. Expect weekly hike plans to be posted by Sunday evening and updated, if needed, by 7AM on the day of each hike.

TUESDAY'S HIKE IS CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN

Tuesday, February 20: HIKE IS CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN

This 5 mile, mostly moderate hike offers two nice falls, a bold stream with several bridges, and a rockery.

Gather, pool and depart at 8:30AM from KKEPA (directions) or at 9AM at Warthers in Walhalla (directions).

CLICK HERE for details and directions.

Thursday, February 22: CLEMSON EAST

There is a chance of rain this week so we'll stay close on Thursday. This 6.5 mile easy/moderate trail features a waterfall and sinkhole.

All meet, pool, and depart from KKEPA (directions) by 8:30 AM, or go direct to the trailhead in Clemson Forest in time for a 9AM start. Park on RC Edwards Road by the trailhead.

CLICK HERE for details and directions.

SEE BELOW FOR CONGAREE AND FALL OUTING DETAILS

Special Outing: CONGAREE NATIONAL PARK

It is not too late if you are interested in joining us for some hiking and canoeing in the Congaree National Park (the only National Park in South Carolina). There are rooms still available a the La Quinta Inn and some surrounding hotels. Congaree is a little southeast of Columbia, about 160 miles from Salem.

Date: Feb 27 - March 1

Hotel: La Quinta Inn - (803) 783-5410 - 7333 Garners Ferry Rd. Columbia, SC 29209

Congaree National Park: Congaree has the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. The flora and fauna are very different from those in our area, and the 18 miles of trails are FLAT. There are many cypress and tupelo trees. The Park spreads over 22,000 acres of flood plane forest, and floods 8-12 times a year. Thus the need to avoid going during or soon after a storm. If there are significant floods, we may have to postpone the trip. https://www.nps.gov/cong/index.htm

Dogs are allowed on Park trails, including the boardwalk (new policy). They must be leashed (max 6’ long).

Directions to the Park from Greenville: I-26 south to I-77. East on I-77 to exit 5 (SC-48, Bluff Rd). South on Bluff Rd following signs to the Park. It will take almost three hours to get there.

Itinerary: It’s too far to try to all caravan together. Arrange carpools if you want. We’ll meet at the Park’s Harry Hampton Visitor Center at noon on Tuesday, February 27. Arrive early to have a picnic lunch and see the excellent educational exhibits at the Visitor Center. In the afternoon you’ll have the option to take a short hike on the Boardwalk trail (2.4 mile) or a longer hike on the Oakridge trail (6.6 mile), which branches off the Boardwalk trail (and is a ranger’s favorite for its old growth forest). We’ll spend the night at the La Quinta hotel.

The next day we’ll offer options for a shorter and longer hike. The shorter hike may be a combination of the Bates Ferry Trail (2 mile) + Fork Swamp Trail (.6 mile). The longer hike will be the River trail (10 miles) or most of the Kingsnake Trail (8 miles). The Kingsnake trail can also be hiked from start to finish with a car swap making it only 6 miles.

On Thursday, we will go canoeing/kayaking on Cedar Creek through the Park. This is one of the best ways to see the park and water fowl. Feel free to only stay only one night if you don’t want to go canoeing/kayaking.

Hotel - La Quinta Inn: We’ll stay at the LaQuinta Inn Columbia SE/Ft. Jackson, which is 11 miles from the Park. We have a group rate under the Blue Ridge Ramblers: $73 per night. You may still be able to get the group rate if they have rooms available by calling the La Quinta in Columbia at (803) 783-5410. Ask for the special rate for The Blue Ridge Ramblers - you may have to speak to the manager to get the rate.

Hot breakfast is included. The rooms all have refrigerators. Dogs are allowed at no extra cost. You can cancel up to 24 hours before check-in for a full refund.

Restaurants & Meals: Breakfast is provided by La Quinta. For lunch, you will have a small refrigerator in your room so you can bring the fixings for lunch each day. There are no restaurants in the Park. For dinner, there are a number of casual restaurants near the hotel: Outback Steakhouse, Shoneys, Applebees, Ruby Tuesday.

Kayaking/Canoeing: For those who want to see the Park from the water, we plan to go canoeing/kayaking on Thursday, March 1. Cedar Creek is a slow moving creek that runs through Congaree. We will launch the boats at the South Cedar Creek landing, paddle down river, and then up river. It is not difficult to paddle upriver on Cedar Creek. Total length of time will be approx 3.5 hours.

You are welcome to bring your own kayak/canoe. For those want to rent, Adventure Carolina will provide a 12’ sit-in kayak for $43 or a 2-person canoe for $86. The fee includes paddles, life vests, and delivery/pickup of the boats. Send a text message to Adventure Carolina at (803)447-3327 to reserve a kayak or canoe.

Happy Hour: Of course we will have happy hour each afternoon in the breakfast area of the La Quinta! BYOB and snacks.

Questions: Contact Susan Hehir at (917) 597-2281 or suehehir@icloud.com. Please let Susan know if you are planning to attend and if you are interested in renting a kayak or canoe so she can keep you and Adventure Carolina informed.

2018 FALL OUTING: FRYEMONT

Our fall hiking outing will be held September 25-28 at the Fryemont Inn in Bryson City, NC. Adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains, this is a BRR favorite. The Fryemont Inn is a bit dated, but serves delicious breakfasts and dinners at a reasonable price. From there we will hike the Smoky Mountain National Park. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this popular event. Forty nine attended last year...including many non-hiking spouses.

This will SELL OUT. Please book your room by April 1. Any extra rooms will be released to the general public after April 1. You can cancel up to a week before we arrive for a full refund. If you want to go for just 1 or 2 nights, that's OK.

The Fryemont Inn: 245 Fryemont Street, Bryson City, NC 28713

800-845-4879

fryemont@dnet.net

http://www.fryemontinn.com

Rates Room Description

$125 Queen - single occupancy

$165 Queen - double occupancy

$175 King - double occupancy

$175 2 Queens - double occupancy

$205 Balcony Suites - double occupancy (pets allowed)

$240 2 BRM, 3 beds, one bath - triple occupancy

$335 2BRM Stone Cottage - four occupants

All rates include breakfast and dinner. Although pets are allowed in the Balcony Suites, they are NOT allowed on the trails in the Smoky Mountain National Park. For reservations, book online at: fryemontinn.com (Identify yourself as a member of the Blue Ridge Ramblers group in the comments section.)

Reservations can also be made by calling 800-845-4879 between 1-4pm. At other times, call Monica on her cell phone at (828) 488-2979. Check-in after 3 pm; check-out is 11 am.

We meet at 9am each morning and arrange car-pools for at least two hiking options (long and short). Refer to the “Special Hikes” section of our web site for a description of some hikes.

Happy Hour takes place on the large front porch. Non-hiking spouses can enjoy the local bookstores, arts and craft galleries, a historical museum, a scenic train, rafting, a local brewery, and the casino in Cherokee. For more about Bryson City: https://www.greatsmokies.com/downtown.html

The restaurant serves excellent breakfasts and dinners (included in room rate). Hikers can order a box lunch by contacting the restaurant in advance. There are other restaurant options for lunch in Bryson City.

Solo female hikers seeking roommates may contact Nancy Carkhuff for assistance with room-sharing arrangements. (nbctiger@charter.net, 864 944-1940)

Questions? Contact Susan Hehir at 917 597-2281 or suehehir@icloud.com.

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