The prized object of this conservancy is something that borders on comical, begging the question, How did it happen? But as we discovered, there's more to see at Peachtree.
We walked through the woods, avoiding the usual trail hazards such as roots and rocks in the ground. About a quarter mile into the trail (purely guessing here), we reached a T-Junction. To our right, the trail extended past a sandstone ledge hanging several feet above the path. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Peachtree Preserve has the largest sandstone outcroppings in the state.1
We turned left, and a couple tenths of a mile later, we reached our goal. While we stared at the curious formation, a sound caught our attention, and we followed the trail to the end and found something we hadn't known to look for.
A waterfall. The only one in the coastal plains. As I understand it, at the time of this writing, the state is experiencing drought conditions, so I don't know if the thin stream of water we saw flowing over the ten-ish foot ledge is normal, but it made the landscape even more scenic. We walked to the falls on dry ground, and stood close enough to feel the mist spraying off the rocks.
A pleasant surprise.
Okay, by now you must be wondering about the curious formation that brought us to Peachtree Rock Preserve, and why I've yet to show a photo. Here's why.
That's right. It's a giant inverted triangular rock. With a tree perched on top.
Lest anyone get the wrong impression, I think it's great. It's an incredibly unique, peculiar formation. One that should be viewed in person to appreciate the size and mass resting on that rounded point.
I was curious both about the shape and why the sandy landscape had rock ledges in the first place. According to the Conservancy's website, the softer, sandier material at the bottom of the rock eroded faster than the sandstone above it. I assume the entire area is a result of erosion. Take a closer look at the rock near the waterfall:
But interesting rock formations and a pleasant little waterfall aren't the only attractions at the preserve. As I later learned, according to the Nature Conservancy's website, we missed several natural communities:
The area harbors a swamp tupelo-evergreen shrub bog and a longleaf pine ecosystem. Typical sandhill scrub vegetation, pines, turkey oaks and sparkleberry bushes are present in abundance on the preserve. The federally endangered Rayner's blueberry is found growing on the seepage slope within the longleaf pine forest.2
I'm sorely behind on the subject of longleaf pines, but intend to cover it in an upcoming post.
Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve is located near Edmund, SC. For more information, check out the following websites: