March 28, 2015
It’s hard to describe how enraptured I am about Ellicott Rock Wilderness. The air is more pure, the leaves are greener, the ground feels sacred.
Gracie and I started at the East Fork trailhead at the Walhalla Fish Hatchery, off Hwy. 107 in South Carolina. The first few miles meander over small streams and quirky bridges. The ground is very level and the hiking is not strenuous.
Gracie is really starting to pick up hiking. Today we seemed to be on the same track. We both needed the first few miles to release the stress of the week. She would run up ahead, look back at me, run back full speed, repeat over and over. After 2.5 miles the East Fork Trail bisects the Chattooga River Trail. South leads to Burrells Ford. North leads to Ellicott Rock. We headed north and the trail dropped slightly over the next 1.8 miles to the Chattooga River. There are several small clearings with excellent views of the river. The Chattooga is docile in most parts with gleaning moss green shadows reflected from the surface.
Ellicott Rock is the marker made by Andrew Ellicott in 1811. He was sent by Thomas Jefferson to settle a border dispute. He marked the rock with “NC” to separate North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Two (2) years later the boundary was moved and marked by Commissioner’s Rock. Today my goal was to find Ellicott’s Rock.
Roughly 1.5 miles after heading north on Chattooga River Trail, one crosses a small bridge of four double stacked 2×4’s. A 1/4 mile after the bridge there is a slight drop to the river. It is quite steep and I had to slide to safely descend onto the rocks beside the river. I looked up and saw faintly inscribed in the rocks: NC. I found it!
The route back was wonderful: greenery, smooth trail and wind off the river. This is a special place.
Total mileage is 8.6 miles.