This Week’s Hikes

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TUESDAY May 18, 2021

Whiteside Mountain and Devil’s Courthouse

 Description:  This 4 mile, easy to difficult hike offers spectacular vistas, rocky balds, and an alpine garden.

Directions: (GPS: 35.080417, -83.144139). Gather , pool and depart at 830AM from either KKEPA or Walhalla and proceed to Sloan Bridge Picnic Recreation Area. Click here for details.

THURSDAY May 20, 2021

Lake Jocassee Cruise and Hike

Description: See below.

Directions: See below.

THURSDAY MAY 20, 2021

Lake Jocassee Cruise and Hike to Hilliard Falls

 Description:  This special hike begins with a chartered boat ride across Lake Jocassee and up the Horsepasture River to its intersection with the Foothills Trail. The trail starts with a strenuous, steep 400′ climb and then levels off to a mostly moderate mile hike of 7.6 miles. We have lunch by Hilliard Falls.

Please sign up in advance by emailing Susan Hehir at suehehir@icloud.com. Reservations are required because there is a limited amount of space on the pontoon boats. The rain date is May 25. Please let Susan know if you are available for BOTH dates.

Some would argue the best part is the short tour of Lake Jocassee on the way home. Most people bring drinks and snacks for the boat ride afterwards. We can leave coolers on the boat. Bring or wear something you can swim in since we will be giving an opportunity to swim if it is a warm day.

The cost is $45 for the boat ride (this includes a tip). Pay the $45 to Jocassee Lake Tours when you board the pontoon. The fee for Devils Fork State Park is $8 per adult, $5 for seniors; free with a SC Parks pass.

Directions: (GPS: 34.95195, -82.94555) We depart at 8AM from the boat launch below DFSP HQ parking area. This requires leaving KKEPA by 7:15AM, but most drive directly to
the Park. There are Potties at the DFSP HQ. Expect to return around 4PM. Click here for details.

FALL OUTING: Oct 5-8 at GENERAL FRANCIS MARION HOTEL

Our fall hiking outing will be held October 5 – 8 at the historic General Francis Marion Hotel in Marion, VA. It is located just across the NC border about a 4 hour drive from Seneca. From there we will hike Mt. Rodgers National Recreation Area, the Appalachian Trail, and Greyson Highlands State Park in search of wild ponies. We will also hike the Hungry Mother State Park and bike/hike the Virginia Creeper trail. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this popular event. About forty people attend each year…including many non-hiking spouses.

The General Francis Marion Hotel is one of National Geographic’s Top 150 Hotels in North America. General Francis Marion is also known as the Swamp Fox. He served in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Marion is famous for using irregular methods of warfare and is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare.

If you want to go for just 1 or 2 nights, that’s OK. The rooms are very small at the hotel so I would recommend getting the largest room your budget will allow. There are a variety of rooms ranging from one twin size bed for $115/night up to Executive Suites with a King size bed at $204. Most of the rooms have one Queen size bed. Book your room immediately. There were only a few rooms left as of April 1. You can cancel before noon on Oct 4 for a full refund.

To reserve your room, call 276-783-4800 and mention you are part of the Blue Ridge Ramblers Group. We get a 10% discount on the rooms.

General Francis Marion Hotel
107 East Main Street, Marion VA 24354
276-783-4800
https://www.gfmhotel.com

All rates include a continental breakfast. Check-in after 3 pm; check-out is 11 am. A more substantial breakfast can be found at Sur 81 and Sisters Cafe in town. The rooms are air conditioned, but do not have refrigerators. There is an ice machine in the hotel if you want to bring a cooler for lunch supplies. Pets are not allowed unfortunately.

A very nice restaurant called WaterLily is located in the hotel which serves lunch and dinner. Group reservations will be available at the Waterlily for Tuesday and Wednesday night. Please let me know if you are interested in joining us by emailing me at suehehir@icloud.com. There are other restaurants in town that we can try on Thursday night.


There is a 2nd floor patio that is available to us each day from 2-4pm and a nice Card Room that we can use anytime. Bring your own games and cards. We may sample a couple local breweries after hiking as well.

Non-hiking spouses can explore the local shops like the Past Time Antique Emporium, ice cream at Hester’s Country Store & Fudgery, the Smyth County Museum, or take a class at The Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts (http://thehenderson.org). Hungry Mother Adventures also offers a Big and Mini Zip Line Tour, a 3-story stunt-jump tower (Our SkyFall), and a 5-faced, 30ft. Rockwall https://hungrymotheradventures.com. Abingdon is a short drive away with more shops, restaurants, and a spa at the Martha Washington Inn. Golfers might enjoy a round at Holston Hills Golf Club (http://holstonhillsgolf.com). The historic Lincoln Theatre may also have something interesting going on while we are there: (https://www.thelincoln.org)

We meet at 9am each morning and arrange car-pools for at least two hiking options (long and short). We are working on documenting some great hikes now. They will be posted to our web site before October 5.

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

A more detailed Fungenda will be sent out in September to all registered. Questions? Contact Susan Hehir at (917) 597-2281 or suehehir@icloud.com.

BRR Library

Planning to do some hiking on your own?  You can borrow a book from our hiking library.  The library contains many different books about hiking in NC, SC, and GA.  From our home page click on “Resources”.  The bottom half of the page lists the different books available.  A big thanks to those who donated to the library:  Nancy Carkhuff, Michael Gauderer, Bill Ebeling, and others.  To request a book contact the librarian at: brrhiker@gmail.com.