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3 Days on the Palmetto Trail & Photos from Camp.

Dates: March 31 - April 2

Palmetto Trail - Moultrie Passage section.

Physiographic Province: Outer Coastal Plain - SC.

Temps: Mid 70's during the day and mid 40's at night.

   Last weekend I did 12.5 miles of the Palmetto Trail in South Carolina.

The trail traverses the whole state connecting the mountainous part of the state with the coastal plain and on to the Atlantic ocean. The trail is divided into sections, I hiked part of the Moultrie Passage section that wraps around the top part of Lake Moultrie.The first few miles of the trail section I hiked was a gravel road up on a dike at the edge of the lake.

After parking my vehicle at my destination point a friend shuttled me to the starting trailhead. My load for the trip which included cameras, stoves, water, and other gear I wanted to try out was 46 lbs. My hike started at about 9:30 am.

The day started out nice, but within an hour or so storm clouds started to move in and it rained for most of the day.


Here are some Cypress trees hangin' out in the shallow water, the water here remains knee to waist deep for several hundred feet. The coastal plain is home to many species of waterfowl and birds of prey. It is common to see Osprey's nesting in these trees, they like staying close to the buffet I suppose.


On the other side of the dike road (trail) there are swampy wetland type areas like this one all along the lake as well as throughout the region. These places are buggy & snakey.


Here is an Egret doing a little mid morning fishing. These are some of natures spear fishers, they are very adept at catching fish by "spearing" them with their beak.


A small Alligator trolling for a meal.

Well, after getting the shot of the gator the rain set in and I stopped to put on my Columbia rain pants & Patagonia rain jacket. If I had known the trail was going to be this open I would have probably brought my poncho for the extra ventilation. I put up the camera and hiked on to my camp area. The hike was 10.5 miles and I was in camp by 4:30 pm.


Once in the designated camp area (right on the trail - why?) I found this cool water pump. It looks to be a lot older than me.


I set up my tent about 200 yards into the woods and grabbed a quick meal of trail mix, jerky, and some powdered tea to hold me over until supper.

Here I am after unpacking and getting ready to go find a site to make a camp kitchen and a place to hang my food.

MSR & Snow Peak ready to go.

MSR & Snow Peak make Salmon Pattie with black beans & rice. If only I could automate this process.  Enough for two maybe, but I wasn't sharing. I was hungry.

I noticed this crooked little tree on the way to refill my water bottles at the wonderful water pump out by the trail.

As we have all learned from recent threads lately, site selection is very important. I checked for dead limbs overhead, picked high ground, put the foot of my tent into the wind, and so forth.

I did not however check the location very well for poison ivy, if you look closely you will see a young plant close to my tent here. My bad.

And nearby some more. Toxicodendron Radicans - Poison Ivy. Range is widespread from AZ to FL and North to Canada and west to the North West Us.

I soon learn it is everywhere, seriously! Poison Oak too.

A little mushroom of some kind - ?

So after walking around a while I decided I was tired and went to sleep early around 7:30 so I could get up early and watch the sun rise. I like walking around very early in the day, after a quick snack, taking photos then eating my 2nd breakfast around 8:00 am.

Here I am eating my 2nd breakfast of Quaker oatmeal - Apples & Cinnamon. Two packs of course.

Before and after eating breakfast I shot some video of my camp and showing some of the plants and trees. Here are some of the photos I shot as well.

Siamese trees? Really?

Must be something in the water. They look like they are hugging.

More freakin' Ivy!

I tried to get a shot of the squirrel running up this tree, but he outsmarted me and ran to the other side...of course.

This is Switch Cane - grows 1 to 3 meters. Most of the plants I see are waist to chest high. These also grow in large stands called cane breaks. Kinda like stands of bamboo.

I worked my way over and into this fire break / canal to see what I could find.

I find this small solitary plant - ?


Any ideas? It looks like something I get on a salad.

More Ivy.

Smilax bona nox - Catbrier or Greenbrier. This grows all over the region I backpack in and throughout the Southeast.

More Catbrier.

Ampelopsis arborea or A aconitifolia - Peppervine. Grows all over the coastal plain.

I'm not sure - ?

Okay....what kind of tree? For a clue look at the next photo.

This part of the tree's root system.

It is a Cypress tree. These trees are Pond Cypress I believe judging by the needles and stubby, fat root knees. The other species that grows in the area is Bald Cypress.


A fern, I'm still not sure which one. It resembles Brackenfern, but this looks different.

Twin Pond Cypress.

A quick squirrel check up the Pond Cypress.

More fungus..what kind?

Atlantic Coastal Plain moss...I added the first three words to make it sound special.

Look closely at the leaf in the middle for the little black bug. A Weevil?

Eastern Tent Caterpillar. They really like tents, mine was covered in them.

Another shot.

I think the twisted vine is Rattanvine, also called Supplejack. I'm not 100% on this one.

Some more. There was lots of this growing here.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia Creeper or Woodbine

Lots of it too.

Well that's about all the photos I have. I spent Sunday in camp, no miles. I got up late Monday, hung around some and finally packed up and hit the trail for the arduous 2 mile hike out to my truck which was all safe and sound despite my anxiety about the parking situation (long story).

I did finally manage to edit & upload about 2/3 of my video. I had to get new editing software to handle the file type my new video camera spits out. I had a hard time learning the new software in one day so the editing is a little rough and the audio is not level. it is. The next video will be better, I just need some practice.

Happy Trails!

More to come.

Mike G.

Hey!!! that looks like my back yard. wish our temps would stay that low a little longer, though we did see a little drop in overnight lows this weekend. my wife and me did a little day hike yesterday that you would have felt at home with. we went into the flood plain of the river in search of a high bluff over looking the river that would make a great camp for a canoe trip. we didn't find it but my wife did find a hollowed out peice of cypress she brought out with her, what for i don't know and didn't ask, i will find out soon enough i am sure. sounds like you had a good trip despite the rain, lookin forward to the pics.



I second smithcreek.  It looks like FL.  Looking forward to more pics.  All you have to do is resize the the pics.

Man oh man, all the Poison Ivy.  Thanks for the pics.



I didn't know about the non-uniformity on the poison ivy plant and the fungi are really interesting, especially the sticky dew drop looking one. Egret shot is wonderful and the camera colours seem well-balanced, IMO.

Our guides are only Britain and Europe, so I hope someone chimes in with the names. Mike, it might be worth dropping the video camera down to floor level for some of the cap mushrooms, as the guidebooks often only include a side-on photo/diagram.

Altogether, it amazes me how much wildlife there is in a camp like that - I could even hear some birds in the background. Is it noisy at dawn and dusk?

As for the spiders, ticks and other creepy crawlies, I am not sure I would be up for that kind of challenge, especially if I had to set up camp in the dark and didn't know what was climbing all over my gear.

Cheers, Jon.


Well done my friend! I second Jon in that it is astounding how much life is all around you if you look closely. I loved the video journey; you did well with keeping your narration coherent. Did you have to edit out any rambling (I never tried it but I’m guessing it would be hard not to mess up the narration for me)?

I really enjoyed this….

BTW, You, Gonz, and Arson are putting the peer pressure on me to do a video report now…lol.

Thanks for sharing!

trout - wonderful trip report!  Delicious food, cool flora and fauna, and a Trailspace hat sighting in it's native habitat!

Thanks for sharing!

Very cool tr Mike. 

We have those same types of pumps on the trails(shelter areas) up here.

They are often broken or the wells are dried up in the warmer months. When ya can get water out of them it is typically a 50-50 mix of water and other gunk(a rust colored mess.)

Man can it wreak a pump filter in no time flat.  

I never use them personally and opt for streams or areas of runoff. 

Tent caterpillars. Man those things can be quite a nuisance. When I was a kid my pap use to make a torch(typically a broom/mop handle with some kind of fabric(flannel) soaked in kero and burn those things out of the trees. 

The photos of all the plants and vegetation look awesome. Nice video too.

Thanks for sharing. 

Way cool trout like the flora photos. thought the video was cool also.       Glad people listened to Arson about expanding that aspect.I feel like Iam there with you on the trip. Great report...

"Enough for two, but I wasn't sharing"

I hear you there.  I eat an embarrassing amount after a good long hike.  

And now I know what catbrier is.  Thanks, Mike - I learned something.

Thanks for all the kind words, I am trying to get the rest of the video edited which should be much better than the first one. My camera uses the AVCHD or MPEG2 formats which Windows Movie Maker didn't like, so I got new software which was more complicated but will work very well once I learn it.

smithcreek, Somewhere on the Lake I was hiking around there are some bluffs I'm told. I am trying to find out where they are.

ocala, I reduced the image files by 25% and they loaded. Dave says there was a problem with the server that is now resolved.

hikerduane, I have hiked in this area for 11 years now and this year we've had an explosion of insects, early blooming plants, etc. The unusually mild winter we had I guess (?).

Pathloser, Yes, I am having to learn about camera angles and how to capture objects in a useful way. Many times the forest is full of the sounds of songbirds till mid-morning, and the evenings are full of the sounds of various frogs when near water.

Patman, I had to do a lot of editing because of "do-overs" and not being completely in the frame and so forth. I am getting better. I thought I got off topic somewhat from what I had in mind, but I was just so surprised by the amount of bugs and Ivy I was seeing. I also messed up the editing because I was new to the software and I am having to learn that as well. It was FUN though.

Seth, I meant to thank TS for the beanie in the video....and I never did. My daughter says I need to do a script or storyboard - haha. Some notes on a 3 x 5 maybe.

Rick, Yes, around here the tent caterpillars are considered a nuisance by many folks.  I have only used a pump once before and the water was less than clear, not the case this time. I was surprised at how much water I used with it being so easy to get.

dennis daly, I'm glad you liked it. I actually bought the camera stuff last year but just have been so busy that I am just now getting around to actually doing it.  I had a blast taking photos of the stuff around me, I really did.

.ghost, I am like a Ferret or something. I have to eat all the time just to maintain my weight. I would have shared my food gladly if need be (not the snickers though).


You mentioned permethrin in the video.  I haven't tried it as a clothing treatment, but I'm hearing more of you Trailspace folks talking about it.  Did it work well (I think I heard you say it did), and does it make for a bad smell you can't get away from?  Thanks for the good job; it's nice to see and hear you (almost as good as meeting you in person).

Trout, good luck with the software.

It's remarkable how, when you see someone actually talking on video, all of their subsequent text starts to read in their voice, accent included. So your posts are actually richer for that.

Bunion said:


You mentioned permethrin in the video.  I haven't tried it as a clothing treatment, but I'm hearing more of you Trailspace folks talking about it.  Did it work well (I think I heard you say it did), and does it make for a bad smell you can't get away from?  Thanks for the good job; it's nice to see and hear you (almost as good as meeting you in person).


I appreciate the kind words.

In my experience, Permethrin is the joking.

Once dry it has no odor whatsoever that I am aware of. The treatment lasts for several wash cycles..for me that means about six to eight weeks since I need to wash my clothes after every trip due to all the poison ivy & oak.

I just spent three days walking through the woods in an area saturated with ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes and I went home with no bites, no ticks, no chiggers. None at all.

I was very impressed.

Mike G.

Pathloser said:

Trout, good luck with the software.

It's remarkable how, when you see someone actually talking on video, all of their subsequent text starts to read in their voice, accent included. So your posts are actually richer for that.

 Thank you!

I think I sound funny when I listen to myself, but it is who I am and I enjoy letting people see what it looks like where I go backpacking. I have always enjoyed seeing different places that other people go to.

Mike G.

Nice work trout. I know it can be a tuff task putting together a good TR, I can only imagine what its like trying to put together a video TR.  Ive always liked when I can put a face to a name, adding a voice is just that much better. Thanks for taking the time.

I really enjoy looking at everyones Trip Reports. Kinda makes me feel like Im exploring the area too. I also enjoy posting Trip Reports so I can share my adventures with those from other areas of the country.

But I gotta tell ya, you guys are sure raising the bar with this new trend of using video. Im not happy with my current point and shoot camera now Ive got to consider something that will take decent video too?

Dang its getting tuff to keep up with the crowd!  :)

Great report, Mike. 

Have you come across any Water Moccasins during your last few trips? I would love to see some video or photos of them if you do. 


Any ideas? It looks like something I get on a salad.

I am pretty sure this is sprig of Queen Anne's Lace, which is related to the domesticated carrot. It is edible, and has a long white taproot, but the flavor is much more pungent and can be distasteful. 


There are a number of species variants of this. I grew up calling the the woody vine  variant Sawbrier, an apropos name considering its horrendously long, sharp, prolific, and strong thorns.  They are called by many names as you mention: Greenbrier, Catbrier, Sawbriar, Bullbrier, Horsebrier, etc. 

I despise the stuff, having had one too many experience getting caught up in thickets of the hellacious vegetation. It is almost impossible to kill as well, as each plant has multiple hardy rhizomes multiple feet underground.  



Thanks for the help with the plants!!

I think ( 90%) the Catbrier I have been seeing in this area is Smilax bona nox. I wish I had some more varieties to look at first hand.

Queen Anne's Lace - thanks.

I am working to get some photos or video of a Cottonmouth, the next segment of trail I'm doing goes through Wadboo Swamp and there should be plenty there. Failing that I can go out on one of the islands on the local lake and find some for sure. I'm thinking about mounting a camera on a remote control truck - haha.

trouthunter said:

 I'm thinking about mounting a camera on a remote control truck - haha.

 That would be so awesome, especially if you got one to strike at the lens :)

Driving a RC with a camera up to snakes would be way to cool trout. Cant wait to see that video

September 25, 2020
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