The weather has been really nice here in St.Louis the last few weeks as we have been enjoying a bit of Indian Summer, but the forecast for Table Rock State Park was almost 100% chance of rain all weekend. None the less we got up early on Friday to make the 10.5 hour drive to make it there by the 6 pm dinner Friday night.
We arrived just at 6 pm to check into the B&B I had booked for the weekend. It was a good thing I had made reservations weeks in advance as we found out that there was no accommodations anywhere around and one group had 5 people in a one bedroom cabin and others were tent camping in the Park.
We drove over to the "Barn" a multipurpose facility inside Table Rock State Park. Our B&B was less than a mile from the park.
We checked in for the weekend and the table were set up for the evening festivities.
The dinner tonight was a "pot luck" with everyone bringing something. We brought some homemade pies from Mannino's market here locally to us
The entertainment was a blue grass group and they did lots of original songs
They were very good musicians and really nice to the younger kids that attended
They spent some time getting them involved in the music and it was a great night. They played late and a few of us stayed to listen to the entire set.
The weather had called for almost 100% chance of rain, but the rain held off and with the overcast sky the remaining colors in the hills and the leaves that had already fallen on the ground, almost glowed!
Trees outside the Barn
Saturday morning was the official start to the meeting and the attendance swelled. The more informal dinner last night had about 70 people, Breakfast this morning had over 100 people
This is the highest point in South Carolina (approx 3600 feet). A new overlook has been installed just below the summit off the parking area.
Panorama from the overlook. The weather is holding up and creating some nice cloud inversions in the valleys
From the summit of Sassafras looking north.
this is what the top of Sassafras Mountain looked like in January 2014 (below 2 pictures)
Unfortunately this is what it looks like today. (below) I am not sure why it has been so completely clear cut and not in a particularly clean way
We made an easy hike (actually it was a bit strenous going down hill on wet leaves with many hidden roots because of the leave cover on the trail along with a bit of mud).
The day was a bit muggy being in the high 60's with very high humidity, but no rain and in general a good day to walk (it is always a good day to walk!)
After this hike we said goodbye to Tommy and Holly as they went off in a different direction ( we would see them later at dinner) Vicky and went over to Table Rock State Park to hike a loop there.
I got a good reflection in the Table Rock Park sign (below)
We hiked the Carrick Loop and just enjoyed the colors and the afternoon.
Just a great 2 mile loop close to the Nature Center.
After a "rough" 5 mile hiking day we went in search of refreshment and found the Victoria Valley Vineyards.
It was a lovely new vineyard (10 years) with fantastic views of the hills.
We had a wine tasting
Enjoyed their patio while splitting a salad and a good Sangria for lunch.
it might have been a few weeks past peak here in the south for fall colors but it was spectacular none the less.
After we went back to clean up for the main event. The social hour at the Barn and then the catered BBQ dinner, again by Aunt Sue's staff and the talk by Jennifer Pharr Davis.
She was introduced by Heyward Douglass the Executive Director of the Foothills Trail and the person that shuttled me to my hike a year ago.
The talk was excellent and inspirational. The talk was very well attended by 200+ people.
It was also good to finally met Jeremy from Bonefire Gear at the conference. Jeremy was instrumental in peeking my interest about the Foothills trail when we corresponded on Hammock Forums . Thanks Jeremy!
Afterward the Foothills Trail board members were introduced (above) and many awards and prizes were handed out to worthy volunteers.
I did manage a picture with Jennifer when she wasn't surrounded by fans.
The weather did hold out all weekend and we even got a clear shot of the name sake of the park Table Rock on our way out.