Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Big Hike: Table Rock, 2006

Kelley and I hiked up Table Rock on April 11th of this year. Our original intent was to make it to Governor's Rock, since The Big Hike had been scheduled since late December, but having been couped up all winter, we just couldn't resist ourselves, and we made it to the summit on that day.

And yesterday, we did it again. This time, with company.

A fellowship of nine chose to hike the 3.6 miles to the summit (to an elevation of 3,124 feet.) A diverse group consisting of three Ugandian teens and their adoptive parents, a Cajun, a Californian whose favorite hikes include Half Dome, and us. We arrived at Table Rock shortly before 10:00 am, and after filling out the hiker registration form as required, we turned our face to the trail....

And took off so fast that I thought my lungs were going to bust.

The boys took off at about 100mph, hiking faster than my normal walking gait, and then tried to maintain that speed for the entire hike. Everyone but my husband and I followed suit, leaving me behind the pack. Hikers, the Summit Trail is rugged, steep, rocky, and not for the average person. Pacing is always the best choice on this trail. The group paid a price for this folly. We had to take a long rest at the Trailside Shelter, located just a mile or so up the path, and a longer one at Governor's Rock (where one person took a short nap) just a short distance later.

Duration of the hike from the Nature Center to the rock overlooking the reservoir: five hours and fifteen minutes. This included the two stops, lunch at the end of the trail, a stop to examine the mating rituals of two black snakes (I know more about THAT than I ever wanted to), and a brief stop when I twisted my ankle (hurt for three minutes and that was it.) It should have taken at least six hours just to hike to the summit and back, with one, maybe two stops. Fortunately, I hike often, so I wasn't in pain afterward, but this is NOT the way to handle this trail.

But we survived, and we'll do it again. It's a great hike. 

Table Rock is located off Scenic Hwy 11 in Picken County. For more info, go to the SC's Table Rock website.

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