Sunday, April 08, 2012

Day 5- Brickhouse Rec Area to Spartanburg, SC

Today got hot. Really hot. Like in the 90's hot. And then when I was confronted with with 20 miles of downed tree, it was a slog to get through. The scenery was awesome. Hard to describe but lots of greenery, creeks, animal tracks, turkey hunters ( to keep things interesting). If had a hammock, I would have hung it in the trees and just sat for a very long time. But I trudged on. I was hoping to make it to Croft tonight and needed to keep going. Spin for 10 seconds, stop, unclip, lift bike up and over deadfall, rinse, repeat.... for 20 miles. This section, complete with awesome bench cut and solid bridges, needs some simple chainsaw love.

The forest was green and there was a slight breeze which kept things cool enough to keep riding.
The picture above shows one of the nicer toilets on the route....

I kept riding, and I got hot. I took off my helmet to help keep me cool but I looked terrible.

I finally made it through this section, after going 2-5 mph and was glad to be on some pavement for a while. After refilling water at Sedalia Campground, I headed out on the pavement to head for the Glenn Springs Passage. 15 miles of pavement and I made it about 7 miles before I started getting dizzy. I knew that there would be a church eventually and I found it about 1 mile later. I pulled in and found some shade and waited for the temps to cool down a little.

When I finally got going about an hour later, and after a little cat nap, I arrived at the Glenn Spings Passage.:

Rolling farmlands, mature forests, and the historic town of Glenn Springs highlight this 7-mile passage. As the former site of a popular nineteenth century resort hotel, the Glenn Springs historic district includes 20 buildings within an area of 90 acres. The main parking area is at the historic post office, midway between the southern end and the northern linkage to Croft State Natural Area.

Most notable about the trail is the fact that most of it is on private lands. Local residents have opened their farms and forests to hikers and bikers. Please respect their private property by remaining on the trail at all times.

I was discouraged, hot and tired and really hoping and praying that the 7 miles to Croft would not be like the above picture. I walked a lot of the first two miles, and stuck with it.

When I got out of the woods onto the paved road, this is how I felt.
When I realized that I would be riding on a gravel road the next 4 miles to Croft, my spirits soared...

When I hit Croft Passage, I was elated, and let loose:
The Palmetto Trail through historic Croft State Natural Area connects the city of Spartanburg to the Glenn Springs area in southern Spartanburg County. The 12.6-mile trail enters Croft at the Glenn Springs Passage trailhead and crosses the new 65 ft. Advance America Bridge over Fairforest Creek. Hikers and equestrians follow established trails to the east and north while mountain bikers follow roads to the west and north until all join at Henningston Road. The newly built trail from mile 8.5 to the northern trailhead is truly multi-use and follows ridges, crosses drainages, and hugs Kelsey Creek to the historic Cedar Springs area.

Croft is a historically significant area. Structures from the WWII era can be seen from when the area was Camp Croft, an Army Training Center. A short, easy side hike on the blue blazed spur leads to Whitestone Springs, the site of a resort hotel built in 1902. The northern trailhead marks the site of the militia victory at the 1st Battle of Cedar Springs on July 12, 1780. At the other end, the area around Fairforest Creek shoals became a hub of mills, trading, and political activity in the mid to late 1700s, including the first governmental organization - the Spartan Militia District.

I whooped and yelled, and hit the techy lines, knowing that Spartanburg was near.
The rest of the ride was a blur of singletrack, dumping me into the civilization of Spartanburg's greenway with bike share station. I had never seen one up close but here it was. I rolled into town and called Rhonda, making plans for a pickup that night. I rolled onto main street, not having completed the entire route, but satisfied at my accomplishment. After a giant hamburger at Wild Wing Cafe, I loaded the bike into the mini van for the drive home.

Next: Afterthoughts


Christopher Averett said...

Thanks for sharing your journey. I have thought about making the trip up the trail too.

Kris said...

Awesome Stephen. I have been thinking the Palmetto Trail would be an excellent local extended bikepacking trip. My first instinct would be to finish in Charleston, but getting a ride back would be difficult. If you did it again would you reverse direction? I'll have to talk to you more about it some time.

jpelton said...

I have been looking at doing the Palmetto Trail, in the other direction, for a few years now. Way to go! Thanks for posting about your experience.
I really think more people would do this adventure if more information like this was available. Where to camp, where to get water, where you might get lost....
Good stuff!