10/24/15. I drove along Hwy 281 to near Sapphire, NC to meet up with some folks from the GNHA Hiking Club. On this particular Saturday morning, Terry, Dave, Penny, Michelle, and I would be ascending Rocky Knobs with the expectation of having some impressive views of the surrounding area.
Our hike started out on an old logging road west of Gorges State Park. After maybe a couple of miles, we arrived at an old home site. The stone fireplace and chimney are all that remain.
The next part of our hike was off-trail. Our hike leader, Terry, had previously scouted this out and had marked the way with the occasional pink ribbon tied to branches. There would be no single-track carved into the hillside to help us as we climbed steeply toward our first viewpoint. This was an early Fall hike and while the trees in the distance were still mostly green, the trees in the valley immediately below us were at peak color.
From another side of the knob, we had very nice views of Lake Keowee in the foreground and of Lake Jocasee beyond that.
We passed several rocky outcrops as we continued to explore the area at the top of the knob.
At the beginning of our descent, the path that we were following was quite narrow, probably not more than a couple of feet wide. Terry, Michelle, and I were out front when we heard Penny and Dave yell “Rattlesnake”. The three of us had walked right over top of this Timber Rattler and somehow avoided stepping on it. I don’t know if it had just eaten something or if it was lethargic from the cool temps, but thank God it hadn’t attempted to strike.
The final little bit of our hike was back on an old logging road with open views of the forest.
Though this was a relatively short hike at only 6.3 miles, there were some steep climbs and descents with big payoffs and near misses.