August 2003

Dear fellow SCANners,

Ahh yes, Tropical Depression #7. If you stayed away from Saluda Shoals because of the weather forecast, you were as misled as the meteorologists were. We did get the 2 to 4 inch rain predicted—if you count the distance between drops. It was a humid, but a very enjoyable, productive trip to Saluda Shoals Regional Park in Lexington County. The facilities are impressive, oriented toward environmental education and family outdoor use. It salutes and utilizes the riverine environment quite effectively. The riverside trails, used heavily by fishermen are paved while less-used trails are more natural for a better look at the plants and animals of the area. Toads, frogs and moths, both adult and juvenile, took the stars for the day. A very newly emerged promethea silkmoth was still unfolding its wings on the side of a tree. Some of the amphibians were too young to get identified.

Late in the day we shared a riverside deck with a three-generation family who was fishing. They got into our spirit with the grandmother feeding her earthworms to a large leopard frog we found (He enjoyed!) and the mother giving us a caterpillar who was found crawling on her slacks. The caterpillar was a great example of a Pink-striped Oakworm. We returned him to a nearby water oak. The youngsters just enjoyed all the excitement. Maybe they will be future SCAN members.

The last seven of us who finally called it quits at 5 p.m. enjoyed a good supper together at a Greek restaurant on St. Andrews Rd. We missed those who couldn’t make it for various reasons.

For our August trip we are going to visit some of the headwaters of the Savannah River at the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery and along the East Fork of the Chattooga River in extreme northwestern Oconee County. There are gorgeous old-growth white pines and hemlocks in the picnic area adjacent to the parking lot, plus a mountain stream and mountainside environment along the trail. I doubt we will make it all the way to the main river, but it should be cool and have lots of interesting plants and critters to observe. It is well worth the long drive. Come join us and bring a friend!

Lynn Smith, V-Pres.

Walhalla State Fish Hatchery, and Sumter National Forest’s East Fork Trail

Oconee County

August 23, 2003

10:30 AM in Visitors Parking Lot

Located in the farthest north west corner of the state, this parking area gives access to Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area; the fish hatchery itself is only one of the highlights of this area. There will be an Early Bird Special: Brian Wisner, Hatchery Manager, (864-638-2866) has agreed to give us a tour of the Hatchery for those of us who are there by 10:00.

At 10:30 we will begin our hike along the East Fork Trail that leads along the East Fork of the Chattooga to the main Chattooga River. Doubtless we’ll encounter many trout fisherman. In February Sam noted the species dominance of the still clinging Halesia leaves, and I hope there might be some wild flowers left. Certainly the white pines and hemlocks are unchanging, at least for now. Several state record tree specimens are in the immediate area. This area supports a wide range of rare to South Carolina plants, including several rare sedge species, plus animals not common to lower elevations. Suggested reading: pages 107 & 108 in L. L. Gaddy’s A Naturalist’s Guide to the Southern Blue Ridge Front.

Directions: From I-26 (as we did when we went to Wadakoe in April), take Highway 11 north (really west) for 72 miles. Or you can try Lynn Smith’s short cut by exiting I-26 at New Cut Road just north of the I-26 & I-85 intersection. There are several fast food outlets at that interchange allowing a restroom stop. Follow New Cut Road for approximately 14 miles to Gowansville and SC 11. (Don’t go to Inman, but follow the signs to Gowansville.) Then proceed on SC 11 left (west) to Walhalla. At Walhalla take 28 North. Take 107 (right fork) for 13 miles (about 8 miles north of Oconee State Park) to Walhalla Fish Hatchery road. Caution: watch carefully for sign; in only 11 miles you should see sign to hatchery; turn left for an additional two miles of steep, curvy but paved road. Go to the end to the visitors parking area.

Restrooms are at Fish Hatchery. You’ll need to take your lunch, water, bug spray, and sunscreen on the trail.