Day 35: Warwoman WMA, Chattooga Wild and Scenic River, Sumter NF / Andrew Pickens RD

Road Miles: 130

Total: 4044.8

Trail Miles: 0

Total: 103.6

Sites: Warwoman WMA, Chattooga Wild and Scenic River, Sumter NF / Andrew Pickens RD

I got up and on the road early – it was Saturday and I wanted to get out of the WMA before it got busy with hunters. Also, Freya was running a bit cranky so I figured it was time for an oil change since she hadn’t had one since California. Unfortunately, oil change joints in this part of Georgia aren’t open on Saturdays; the closest open spot was in Anderson, SC. 

I took scenic route US-76, a beautiful drive, popping out at the state line for a quick peek at the Chattooga River. I got to the Valvoline and the skinny blond kid working there leaned in the passenger window and looked around. “Ooooo! You got a shaggin’ wagon!” 

While I waited for the van, I asked another customer if he knew any good local place to grab a quick lunch nearby. “Hmmm. Do you like Mexican food?”

Ohhhhh. I don’t mean to sound like a food snob or anything, but being from Southern California, having spent an inordinate amount of time eating Mexican food, I felt pretty sure that whatever it meant in Anderson, South Carolina was just gonna piss me off or make me sad. So I thanked him for his recommendation and silently resolved to just eat some gummy bears to tide me over until I could find something else. 

After the visit to the Blue Hole Falls the previous week, I was now on a waterfall kick. There are a ton of them in South Carolina, mainly in the hill area in the northwest part of the state. I drove over to the Andrew Pickens District ranger station to pick up maps and info, but I’d forgotten it was Saturday, and they were closed. They do, however, have a lot of helpful info and maps on the permanent display out front, so I took pics of those, and headed back toward Long Creek which looked like a good base town for lots of the falls. I made a quick stop at a local mercantile to see if they had any forest maps on the way. No luck, but the owner recommended Brasstown Creek Gathering Place for BBQ. 

Back in Long Creek, I dropped by the funky Backwoods Visitor Center. Again, no maps, but they did have a waterfall guide, and the clerk there seconded the recommendation for Brasstown Gathering, and noted that it’s only open on Fridays and Saturdays. I donated the book I’d just finished, and noticed a flyer on the counter for a foraging class that I’d just missed. The woman who’d taught it was still outside, chatting with a local man. Turns out she was Cindy Halbkat, who runs wildedible.com, which was super random because I actually had that site up as a tab on my phone!

I ended up picking up the foraging book she’d had for sale. The man she was talking with recommended the Opossum Creek and Foothill Trails nearby, and Bull Sluice waterfall. He also told me there was free dispersed camping on Thrifts Ferry road off US-76 close to the state line. 

I hit up Brasstown Gathering, and the place was packed. The BBQ was delicious – they have four different sauce options, and I tried them all. The desserts are also pretty amazing! Considering I made almost three meals out of my plate, it was a good value as well. 

After stuffing myself, I headed out to find Thrifts Ferry, but missed the turn the first time, so popped back out at the state line to check out the Chattooga again, although I didn’t get all the way to the river because of the time and I was in flip-flops. I finally found the right road, and a small place to dock off of one of the spurs where there was still LTE, just before dark. Exhausted, full, but happy after the long productive day, I fell asleep easily, two pages into my new book.