My Grandson Lake and I, almost by accident, began taking hikes to waterfalls in the mountains of South Carolina and North Carolina.
I love the woods. That’s the term we use in South Carolina. Not the forest. Not the jungle. Not the wilderness. Not the bush. Just woods. I grew up on the last street of the last subdivision in our small South Carolina town with the back of our house bordering the woods. My big brother and I, with our friends, played war back there in the red clay gullies. We had pinecone fights. With the other kids in the neighborhood, we built a field in the woods and played baseball there. We hiked. We created bicycle paths. We found an old still, long abandoned. Flowers. Wasp nests. Mushrooms. Snakes. Trees to climb. Creeks. Swamp. Turtles. Wild blueberries. Wild plums. Endless variety.
I also love the mountains. When I was a kid, vacations meant one of two things: visiting grandparents or going to the mountains of Oconee County, South Carolina, above Walhalla. Dad had access to a cabin on the Chattooga River (now of Deliverance fame, but unknown in the 1950’s). We picked blackberries, swam in the river, fished with a cane pole, toted our water from a nearby spring. Hiked.
As an adult with my own family, when I get away from home for vacation or retreat or a college football game, I gravitate toward the Blue Ridge Mountains. I like the beach, too, and big cities, and all manner of other travel destinations. But I love the mountains.
In recent years, Lake has joined me on my hikes in the mountains. For a 12-year-old boy, a destination is a good thing, so we began hiking to waterfalls, 45 minutes in, 45 minutes out. Sometimes, we let other folks go with us. Two waterfalls on Friday and two on Saturday and time with my Grandson make for a very good weekend.