I took a road trip down to SC to escape the mountains and the winter weather. Jamie McLaughlin joined me for the adventure. We headed down to ride an out and back on a portion of the Palmetto Trail, the trail that runs from the SC coast, all the way to the mountains. I rode the trail a couple of years ago, and have been wanting to get back to ride it some more. But with 50 miles of pavement on either side of Columbia, the appeal is less than ideal.
After searching around Weather.com to see SE area temps, I realized that temps would be around 55 on Sat. I was set, invited friends and headed out for an adventure.
We got to the Brickhouse Parking area and saddled up after paying the $3 day use fee. We got on the Palmetto Trail heading south, hoping to make it the 14 miles to the next trailhead and then back. My only goal was to be out in the woods for 4 hrs. Other than that I was determined to have fun, and Jamie was on the same page.
This portion of the trail is shared with hoses so was a bit churned up in spots but not too bad. The trail is also not ridden much, and has a lot of leaves and pine needles covering the dirt, making riding a little slower. There were a couple of trees down here and there but not so many to make it miserable.
We meandered through the woods, hooping and hollering and loving the 50 plus degree weather. Pretty soon I was stripped down to shorts and short sleeves. So refreshing.
We decided to turn around at the 2 hr mark to make sure we would have the energy to get back without turning the day in to a death march. When the time arrived, I took a look at the map and realized that we were only 1.5 miles from our goal. We decided to keep riding, tired as we were.
After snapping a few photos, eating a little bit and deciding on a route back to the truck, we headed back up the trail. We had discovered a couple of loop options and some gravel roads as well.
But first, I needed to refill my water bottles. I busted out my Sawyer water filter and filled up. Jamie was reluctant at first, to fill up out of the creek, but followed my lead just to be safe.
We headed back on the Buncome Horse Trail Loop. We were a bit more quiet now and focused on keeping a steady pace to get back. We were both feeling good at this point and neither one of us wanted to blow up.
At some point, we realized that the horse trail that we were struggling against was paralleled by a gravel road that led in the same direction that we needed to go. We got on that road, then onto a 1 mile connector trail and back to the lot.
22 miles, 4.5 hours of meandering, warm temps, some sunshine. We were content with our day.
The only problem is that now my mind is racing. So many options! I'm thinking that I could route a 60 mile route with a mix of 50% single track 50% pavement and gravel road. Gotta go explore some more!!
I ordered a map of the forest and can't wait to scour that and get back down for some more adventuring. It is going to be a great winter riding area, with temps 15-20 degrees higher there than here in Asheville, and only a 1.5 hour drive!