Hiking is one of our favorite pass-times, but since we've moved to South Carolina we haven't really had a successful hike. We tried a couple of trails near Charleston, but they turned out to actually be flat sand paths through really low branches covered in pine straw....not my favorite scene.
So we decided to jump in the car and drive a few hours west to the central part of the state and see if the hiking improved with some miles and elevation. I can't say it was quite as fantastic as the northeastern mountains.....but it sure was better than beach trails.
The first adventure of our day - DETOUR. We figured the "Road Closed Ahead, Local Traffic Only" signs just meant they had pavement torn up or something...well...or something.
SO...we couldn't quite jump that gap...we thought about it though.
The trailhead for the section of the Palmetto Trail that we hiked was not well marked, so honestly we're not sure what section we ended up on, but we were trying to be close to the Lake Marion Passage.
The first half of the hike it rained, so I had my camera wrapped up under the rain guard on my bag...these photos are all on the way back. (It wasn't a loop trail). Megan did her usual few handstands in the field before the woods.
Aside from the spiders the hike was actually pretty entertaining. We saw snakes, bugs galore, dead snakes and possums, inch worms and ants, and three-legged dogs. It was quite the nature scene. Also we saw a deer for about 1/30th of a second.
The turtle wasn't phased by our paparazzi, he just chilled.
The wildlife was fantastic, and the trail actually had a few "hills" here and there, so it wasn't quite as boring as the coastal trail was. Gotta be honest, our buns were missing the burn of the New England mountains! We'll have to roadtrip there in the summer for real climbs.
The boardwalk on the way back was much less slippery, but still a bit treacherous...Dave decided bouncing on the semi-rotted boards while we were crossing was a good idea...
After nearly 10 miles of hiking we were definitely ready to make it back to our cars and take our soggy hiking shoes off...but when we got back I had to grab these few photos of the amazing trail head (once we finally found it).
Next time we're hiking in North Carolina so we can actually get into the mountains, but this was a pretty good little hike fix. (p.s. I SOOOO want to photo a wedding here!)
As with all great hikes we ended this one by finding a (somewhat questionable) place to eat afterwards and scarfing down as much food as they could bring us. This time we ate at a place called Old Guy's Italian Restaurant in Sumter, SC. When we pulled in we questioned our decision big time, but it turned out to be fantastic! The owner and his wife made fabulous food, and he was a hoot as a server. Clutchpoint....we got to watch Bad Boys 2 while eating. Score. If you're ever in Sumter, SC for some reason (I don't know why you'd ever be there...but your life isn't mine) you'll have to check out Old Guy's!
Fall in Maine doesn't last very long...and since this is our last one living in the state we're really trying to enjoy it!
We were supposed to hike Katahdin, but unfortunately (due to my extreme over-scheduling problem) we never had a chance. Hopefully next year we'll be able to make a trip back to Maine to do Katahdin, but either way I promised Megan that we'd do SOMETHING for a hike this weekend instead.
Dave happened to have an inspection out in Jonesport on Saturday, so we drove right past Tunk Mountain, where a friend of mine had actually told me to hike earlier in the year. Perfect reminder!
The drive out to the trailhead itself was gorgeous, reason #1 to come back and hike Tunk!
I love to hike...but I hate hiking while sick. So unfortunately they all had to hike VERY SLOWLY and wait for me as I huffed and puffed and tried to keep up. Thankfully the weather was absolutely perfect, so I wasn't overheating!
was NOT okay with us walking past his tree! He started cheeping and screeching at us so much that we were a little afraid he was going to jump down on us!
Halfway up this section of the trail we took a little break (I was dying again) and had a minor mishap.....Dave pushed (with his foot while resting it during our break) a very large granite block onto my toe.....so at this point I was ready to be done hiking.
Dave found the trail. We were not at the top. We actually weren't even close. (as much as this sounds like I was hating life I actually really enjoyed this hike.....I just felt whiny) :)
Even halfway the view was amazing...the leaves are JUST starting to turn, so we had tons of great color, and the sky was absolutely gorgeous.
Best part of the whole hike - the fissure.
Megan thought we were looking for a Fisher. The fuzzy creature. Click the link, I know you want to.
Elysia thought we were looking for a fisher......man. I don't think I need an example for this one.
Here's what it actually was:
A giant crack in the rock. A FISSURE. Ha.
Tunk Mountain is a fantastic hike - if you're thinking about trying it I'd suggest going in about a week and a half (approximately October 14th, 2015) for peak leaf viewing. BTW that date is a total guess so if you go and the leaves aren't perfectly changed don't blame me. :)
If you read my last post you know Dave and I were out in LA for awhile - and we are not city lovers. There were a few things we'd already planned to do - Joshua Tree National Park was the first thing, and we planned to go back to The Getty Center - but we didn't really have anything else set in stone.
So we decided to take the nearly 4 hour adventure up to Sequoia National Park! I'd actually wanted to go to Yosemite, but Dave talked me out of it because it was at least 5 hours - and honestly after making the actual drive I'm glad we didn't go that far!
Once we were out of LA the drive was actually quite pretty - for awhile. Then it got
Once we drove for what felt like forever (it actually wasn't that bad, we listened to comedy radio and a couple of Zig Ziglar lectures) we started going back up into the mountains again, and the sights definitely improved.
We took a quick break at Lake Kaweah in a little picnic area. The lake looks extremely dried up, but there were still quite a few boats out on it, and the campgrounds were full! (again, this could have been since it was Labor Day weekend)
Lake Kaweah is pretty close to Sequoia National Park, and there is a big fire up in the Kings Canyon National Park area - so even down here the sky was noticeably smoky.
By the time we finally made it to the park we didn't want to stop in the little "town" before the entrance for anything, we were just ready to get up into the park and see the sequoias. We had (we thought) plenty of gas, our car said an estimated 100-something miles until empty, so we just headed in....ish.
Apparently visiting a national park on a holiday weekend isn't a great idea if you don't want to be stuck in traffic. We didn't plan for this.
There were some serious wildfires in the area (I think I said something about them earlier) so the sky was significantly smoky - we could hardly see some of the peaks.
So....remember how I said we didn't stop to get gas in town because we had plenty and didn't want to waste anymore time because of the traffic? Yeah.....mistake. Since we were stuck in traffic in the park too we practically crawled from 1600' above sea level to 7400'.....and our gas gauge dropped SOOOOO quickly. Not good....
We went into the park at the Foothills Visitor Center, and the next gas station was in Stony Creek Village - 33 miles away. We should have been enjoying the drive much more than we actually did...probably because we were pretty sure we were going to run out of gas.
I wish we'd been a little smarter and actually gotten gas before heading into Sequoia, we didn't really dare stop and get out to look around....our gas gauge was pretty deep into the red zone and we still had about 11 miles left to the gas station at this point in the drive.
Our car was puffing on fumes, but we made it to the gas station!! Unfortunately we'd already driven past most of the biggest trees - but there were still some gorgeous views. The other great thing about being up this high on a hot day is the temperature was only about 75 here - and back in LA it was almost 115!
King's Canyon National Park was shut down because of the wildfires, so we just headed back to LA after we finished in the park. We didn't want to drive way into dark, plus I was starving!
Last Thursday my husband and I had to fly to Los Angeles for a little over a week (we got back to Maine this past
Saturday) for some business appointments, but we had a ton of free time...and we pretty much hate giant cities.
I'm a hotel snob (Definition: I HATE staying in places with old quilted bedspreads that don't get washed, and have a potential bedbug problem) so thankfully we stayed in an awesome place in Marina Del Rey called Hotel MDR. Seriously perfect. Awesome pool, great little restaurant downstairs (Barbianca) and really conveniently located.
Our first night we didn't get in until late, so we just hung out and enjoyed the view from our balcony. Awesome. Hotels with outdoor spaces are absolutely my favorite, and my husband's too. I took a great picture of him on the balcony but he won't let me share it :-P something about it stealing too much of his soul.
We took a nice little stroll from our hotel down to the marina, and then to Venice Beach. (p.s. it wasn't a stroll....it was a freaking hike)
The day we landed in California was beautiful, and the forecast I looked at said MAYBE 80's for the high....BUT....an (apparently random) heat front hit the day we showed up and blasted us the whole time. So our "stroll" down to the marina was pretty damn sweaty.
Dave hates his photo taken - can you tell? I told him he doesn't get a choice anymore because otherwise I'll have zero pictures of people. (Sorry babe) We hit up Venice beach for some cheap sunglasses & cheap sightseeing. :-)
Our biggest plan (actually our only plan as of the beginning of our trip) was to go back to Joshua Tree National Park. We LOVED it last time we visited....and since we really didn't want to hang out in LA the whole time it seemed perfect.
The sheer beauty of this place is incredible. Seriously. Granted, this time we'd already had the "wow" factor of the park, and it was MUCH hotter this trip, but still entirely worth the drive.
Dave was nice enough to take some photos of me while I'm stuck behind my camera...plus the GoPro was MUCH easier to tote around than my camera, especially in the heat.
This is probably gonna be a longer post than usual...but I was a little trigger-happy with my camera in the park - impossible not to be......try it for yourself and find out!
The park was actually quite a bit busier than last time we visited too - probably because it was the Friday before Labor Day weekend. Anyone who knows us knows we are NOT crowd people, so even up here in the "remote" parts of the park there were more people than we really wanted to see. Ha.
Last time we came up here we walked the Barker Dam trail and really enjoyed ourselves (with the exception of being annoyed with some rowdy teenagers). It's a pretty short hike, but really pretty - although the actual Barker Dam is more of a rock pile in front of a mud hole.
We didn't want to do the same hike again, so instead we decided to head up to Lost Horse Mine. It's a longer hike then the Barker Dam, but we had plenty of time - we just didn't factor in the heat.
I'm glad we took a lot of photos - honestly I'm enjoying the hike more via looking back through them then I did while actually hiking! Ha. It was just so extremely hot, and we only had about half a bottle of SUPER warm water. Oops.
In closing - I would definitely recommend going up to Joshua Tree National Park if you're in the area and don't want to hang in right in the city - it's only about a 2 hour drive, and there are some GORGEOUS views. However, if it's hot out (like, anything over 80) make sure you bring a cooler and lots of cold stuff to drink!
Dreamer, decorator, wife, business owner, personal fitness trainer. 20-something.