Nine Times Forest

I guess I’ve been pretty quiet for awhile. This is not to say I have not been hiking because I have but mainly in the exploratory mode. One of the places I’ve been exploring, with others, is Nine Times Forest off Highway 11 in Pickens County, South Carolina. Nine Times Forest was saved from becoming a housing development by the Naturaland Trust and Upstate Forever. Here’s a link if you are interested in checking it out:

Nine Times Forest – Public-Access Land

Fortunately for me there are people who are willing to wander with me and sometimes we find what I would describe as good things.  I’m still in the process of mapping out the “trails” we’ve hiked although most of them are old forest roads or actual dirt roads built for the housing developing.  Lots of trees were cut down and the first time you see it it makes you sad. Still I’m glad they were able to save what is left and hope that some day the trees will grow in those spaces again.

We have hiked around and on top of Big Rock Mountain which has some very good views. We have also hiked up Pink Mountain and found one view looking back down the trail. I think there is probably another view but I have yet to find it but have not given up looking for it yet.

Still lots to explore here and am hoping to get back soon.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe (Camp or Backpack)


I was writing this recipe up for a friend to make at home and thought some of you might appreciate it so here’s the recipe I use for Thai Peanut Sauce. I’d use this as a starting point and doctor it up like you want to. It might be possible to cook this on a backpacking or camping trip but you would have to carry the wet ingredients separately. Maybe you could just mix them up in a little plastic bottle and then add them when you are ready to cook. I could also see you just mixing the dry ingredients together and carrying them in a plastic baggie or something like it.

6 Tbs PB Fit
1 Tbs date sugar
1 tsp ginger
2 Tbs corn starch

8 oz water
1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1/2-1 tsp Sriracha sauce

Optional: I’m thinking of adding some chopped up peanuts as I think it would give it some texture. You might want to add a little more water (I’m thinking of going to 12 oz) as it tends to thicken a lot.

Mix and cook over low heat. Whisk until thickens about 5 minutes or less.

Good over warm whole wheat pasta. Just stir it in. Or maybe couscous or some other quick cooking noodle could work on a backpack trip. You might have leftover. I made a sandwich with mine!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


This gallery contains 11 photos.

Originally posted on Hiking the Carolinas:
December, 2015 I always like hiking over at Isaqueena near Clemson because it is not far from Greenville, SC, has lots of options to hike, and isn’t crowded.  You do have to share the…

Gallery | Leave a comment

Naturaland Trust Trail and Moonshine Falls

Last Sunday we hiked to Moonshine Falls on the Naturaland Trust Trail as an in and out. You can no longer reach it via the Dismal Trail because of landslide damage on that trail. You can reach it by hiking from the Ranger Station at the top of Ceasar’s Head and working your way down to the Naturaland Trust Trail below. Mileage is somewhat less that 8 miles and I would rate this hike very strenuous. The trail is very technical with lots of rocks, roots, and a few rock-strewn streams to cross over. It is mostly uphill on the way back. As of Sunday, the trail to Moonshine Falls was marked with a big cairn of rocks and goes off to your left. Just a few yards down this trail to the right, you will see an old sign board. This is how you will know you are on the right trail.  I would estimate that in less than 15 minutes you will reach another smaller cairn of rocks off this old forest road which takes you downhill to your right. These are not official trails so take great care here as they are not maintained. Once you make the turn to Moonshine Falls, you will quickly reach the trail to the overhang underneath it to your left.

Here’s a link to the elevation profile from Brenda Wiley’s website:

Posting a few photos from that hike:

DSCN0336 DSCN0348 DSCN0354 DSCN0363
DSCN0344 DSCN0346

Hiking the Carolinas

Yesterday was a beautiful day in South Carolina.  We hiked to Moonshine Falls via the Raven Cliff Falls parking lot and did a loop with a shuttle in between.  The end of the hike was the Ranger Station at Caesars Head.  We hiked to the Raven Cliff Falls viewing platform and from there headed down the Dismal Trail to the valley below. The Naturaland Trust Trail is pretty rugged and has quite a big up once you pass the Moonshine Falls turnoff.  The trail down to Moonshine Falls is pretty easy until you get right up to the falls and then it is a short, steep down. This part of the hike is not on the map.  This hike took us about 6 to 7 hours as we had a few slower hikers with us but a stronger hiker could do it more quickly.  It is well marked and easy…

View original post 37 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Headwaters State Forest, North Carolina

A new state forest is ‘under construction’ in Western North Carolina. Much of the land is still being acquired and it is expected to open in a few years!! This is very exciting.  There are apparently 25 waterfalls in the tract. Here are a few links on the topic:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Mini-Summer in The Sierra: Yosemite

It’s been about a month now since we came back from The Sierra in California and I’m finally getting around to writing my last entry on this trip.  Maybe it’s a good thing to take time to digest what I saw and felt about being there.  DSCN0218

We mainly stayed in Yosemite Valley and hiked the Valley Floor Trail.  We also hiked up to Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls and came down the other side.  The hike up to Vernal Falls was very crowded but it thinned out as we continued up to Nevada Falls. I did not want to hike back down from Vernal Falls because of the crowds and the steep, rocky trail so elected to continue up. Most of the other waterfalls in the valley were dry so we did not visit them.20150828_111236

I have some regrets about not hiking outside the valley as I understand the trails are less crowded (in places). That was not apparent on our drive as we headed out of the park towards Reno as all the trailheads we saw had full parking lots and cars parked on the side of the road.  And this was not the busy season. 20150829_154351 If I had it to do over again, I personally would probably pick some trails off the beaten path and avoid the crowds. But when you are only in a place for a short time, you probably need to see the highlights first.

This begs the question “can some places be loved too much?” Just asking. I wonder how John Muir would view the changes here and how he would feel about the loss of solitude in the valley, at least in the summer months.  DSCN0221We’ve saved it from the farmers and the developers, and the challenge is to continue to save it from ourselves.

Another question that comes to mind.  Are we reducing the grandeur of nature to a selfie rather than savoring the moment we are in?  Is our desire to share our experiences overshadowing the experience itself?

Rather than elaborate any further, I’m just going to leave you with those questions. It’s something to think about.20150828_103920


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sylva, NC: Pinnacle Park

DSCN0248I know I’ve promised to finished up the Yosemite trip but right now I wanted to write about our trip to Sylva before I forget it.  We hiked there several Sundays ago with our friends from Upstate Hiking who were tolerant enough and strong enough to make it to Blackrock (which is really a rock), not just a trail.

The hike starts in the Pinnacle Park parking lot (which is quite ample) and continues up, up, and more up on the West Fork Trail until it intersects with the Pinnacle Trail.  DSCN0251

DSCN0253DSCN0250If you take the trail to the left, you will reach The Pinnacle.  The trail actually looks like it dead ends into the rhododendron (at the fire ring) but if you take a left through the bushes you will shortly come out onto the rocks where you should be able to see the town of Sylva from above. The group stopped here and had a quick lunch.  It got a little chilly as the sun ducked in and out of the clouds.DSCN0254DSCN0255DSCN0258

Soon after finishing lunch, we decided to move on and tackle the trail up to Blackrock. This  trail can be reached by taking the Pinnacle past the two trails that enter to your right.  You should soon come upon the Blackrock Trail to your left (the Pinnacle Trail ends right here). This is where the very steep up starts (again).DSCN0264 Mr. T and I had tried this hike on another occasion but got stopped by thunder and lightning and brambles.  This time we found the trail had been cleared by a local Boy Scout troop (so we were told) having received information from some people we met over in Panthertown Valley.  It is supposed to be only .6 of a mile but it feels much longer.  We trudged uphill for a good half an hour and reached the first large rock. DSCN0265The trail goes downhill to the left around this rock (under an overhang), skirts another hill to the right, and goes down under another large overhang. This is the bottom of Blackrock. Look for a place to climb up and around the rock to the right of it. Blackrock will be to your left. Views here are very good and well worth the effort.  I noted the trail continued on and of course I wanted to see where it went. The sign says it goes to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nothing changes!

We reached the rock and had some bit of time to ourselves but soon were joined by a lone hiker from the Sylva area. DSCN0270He very kindly answered my questions about local hiking (in Sylva) which he described as limited. After spending about a half hour or more on the rock, we made our way back to the Pinnacle Trail and shot down the East Fork Trail towards the parking lot.  DSCN0272We ran into one couple coming up to Blackrock at this point. I would say that we saw about seven people other than ourselves all day so we weren’t dealing with crowds. Yeah. This trail was very steep (but not as rocky as the trail we came up).

Our hike up was billed at an approximate 3,300 foot elevation gain. We were all glad when we reached the bottom as it was getting late in the day.  I would say this hike was much slower than normal due to the steep elevation so if you are going to do this hike give yourself ample time to finish it. Plus you want to make sure you give yourself time to enjoy the views at both places.DSCN0274

As the parking lot was in sight, I came across a woman and her mother who engaged me in conversation. The mother was trying to get into shape to hike the mountains as she was new to the area and I hope I gave her some encouragement! She and I talked about hiking poles and why I liked them and her adult daughter seemed very happy with that and other advice. Maybe someday she can make it to the top. A worthy goal.

You can find this hike described in Danny Bernstein’s book Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Heritage. 

Mileage: 10.1 Miles

Difficulty: Very strenuous

Happy hiking!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment