It was a small group of six adventuresome hikers from Upstate Hiking that started out on an exploratory trek to Sid Falls in Oconee County, South Carolina last Sunday. It was a beautiful day, in the 50s, for hiking. After a fairly short drive from Greenville, with a quick stop in Clemson to pick up Captain Morgan, we passed the Long Creek General Store and started looking for our turn to the left on Damascus Church. We passed the Chattooga Belle Farm on our right which has a lovely vineyard, a spectacular mountain view, and caters weddings and other events on a lovely rock patio. They also serve lunch but you need to check their times. This is not a plug per se but we had stopped there before and they let me take some photos off their patio so I’m returning the favor.
We kept to our right on Battle Creek Road and followed it around for a few miles until we finally found the old forest service road on the right we were looking for. It had a big red gate so it was pretty noticeable.
The group piled out of the cars, packed up our gear, and headed down the forest road chatting amiably as we went along. We walked for close to a mile before hitting the woods at the end and started on what seemed like a faint trail at the time but actually came to a dead end at the top of a hill covered in trees and brush. We turned around and I took the lead for a short time. I quickly spotted what looked like a faint trail to the left. I could hear the water in front of me. Scout took the lead again as the group headed down hill. It became steeper and we grabbed on to the numerous tree holds available until we reached the creek below us with only a few minor spills on the way down. This will sound funny but sometimes I thank the trees as I go. I know they don’t hear me but maybe they still know.
There was very little actual standing room at Sid Falls and what there was is slippery and wet. Nevertheless, we gingerly made our way up the side of the creek to see if we could get a few good photographs of the falls. I’ve seen it called Sid Falls or Sid’s Falls. It was named after a local schoolteacher called Sid Ballenger. This is the best shot I got of the falls that day. After about 10 to 15 minutes, the group headed back up the road and got back in the cars for the next part of our adventure.
I managed to talk Scout into driving further down the road here just to see where it goes. This is exploratory, right? We intially went straight until the maintained road ended and made a turn around. Noticing a really nice barn off the side of the road, I hopped out to take a quick photo.
We then went off down the road again and took the road to the left towards Lake Tugaloo to check it out and with the hopes of finding a place to sit down for lunch. On our way there, we noted all the logging going on in this area. The forest, instead of just being denuded of leaves was shockingly denuded of trees which was very sad. Anyway the lake was very pretty and there is a good place to put in a boat/kayak but no place to sit that wasn’t in the shade. So we made our way back up to the main road and making a turn towards the forest road to Possum Creek Falls. This falls is also known as Opossum Creek Falls but the locals prefer Possum. The trail to this falls was much easier to navigate and to follow but it is a constant down to the Chattooga River. The afternoon was sunny and warm and we had a nice chat until we reached the river. Most of the woods were denuded of leaves as it is early winter in South Carolina. No flowers to speak of but still lots of green rhododendron and ferns.
Once we reached the river, we decided to head upstream towards a rock to hang out for a little while, take photos, eat a snack, etc.
Pulling out the map, we determined we were at a place in the river called Quaalude. The river was running very fast and was full of water. Saturday we had a lot of rain and presumably that contributed a great deal to the flow. Just as we were about to leave to start our short hike up to the falls, a group of kayakers came downriver and started their run through Quaalude. What a treat! I started just taking random photos, hoping to get one or two shots that would be worthwhile to post.
Our trip to the falls was short and uneventful. Possum Creek Falls is very tall and really quite beautiful but a little hard to photograph in its entirety. I made a stab at it anyway and also took a nice group photo.
The sun was starting to sink a little lower in the sky indicating it was probably time to start our uphill trek back up towards the cars. I was sweeping as usual and making a little slower time so the group stopped to wait for me from time to time. It was all good.
Once back at the cars we made our way back towards Greenville contemplating our next adventure in the South Carolina woods.