Well, reader, if you've gotten this far, you can take solace that the end is in sight. This seventh article on this subject starts at the seventh and last entrance to Aiken's Hitchcock Woods. We get to this entrance from downtown the same way that we got to the Clark Road entrance (and the Berrie Road entrance,) except we turn off of Whiskey Road a bit sooner.
If we pass by the Aiken County Courthouse and then continue past the Wilcox Inn and the ABBE Aiken Library, we cross South Boundary at the stop light just past the Library and, if we continue driving South on Whiskey, we do so until we have an opportunity to crash into a brick wall (as many have done) if we don't angle to the left to follow Whiskey Road. Alternatively, we could angle to the right and follow Coker Springs Drive until it ends where it joins Newberry Street. This is, of course, what we will do to get to the Hitchcock Woods' Coker Springs entrance. As we (slowly) drive down Coker Springs, we will transition to a dirt road (over a consequential hump in the road) and see the original site of the Springs on our left. Of course the Springs themselves (something early American natives and European settlers used as a water source,) on being constrained to confine themselves to the edifice the City of Aiken provided, relocated to a discharge point down the hill. No matter. When nature conflicts with nurture, nature often wins. Continuing on past a couple of homes and a paddock, we see the end of the road and the entrance to the woods. I parked on the left, here, trying to avoid blocking the direction signs placed to suggest to drivers on Newberry the need to turn to the left to avoid driving into the woods.
You can see the woods' entrance straight ahead and, also, the endpoint of our walk at a trail that reaches Coker Springs Drive next to that last paddock. Take a look at the slide show to get an idea of what this walk will be like. If you took the last walk that started at the end of Berrie Road, you should be able to handle this walk easily. Again, though, this walk does have a few taxing stretches. My advice is the same--just stop and rest a while and then take up the pace again. One more admonition here is to be sure you have a compass and a map. The map itself is a bit less useful than it usually has been in that there appear to be some trails that came along after the map was made. Still, this walk is in one relatively small corner of the woods and, if you feel you really have lost your way, you can readily check the direction you are going and, by maintaining a fairly constant direction (on your compass) you will end up at one edge or another of the woods in short order. If you go north, you will be going toward the City proper. If you go east, you will get to Whiskey Road.
If you enjoyed this walk, why not drive up Newberry and take a turn to the West, downhill, on South Boundary. Drive until the road runs out and you will see the Woods' offices on the right. Drop in (9 to 5, Monday to Friday) and let the staff know what you thought of the woods they work so hard to maintain for our use. They will appreciate whatever you might have to say. Tell 'em Steve sent you.
One other thing: If it may have occurred to you to wonder why an article about Aiken’s Hitchcock Woods might be considered relevant for an “environmental news” column, just know information about this unique-to-Aiken municipal forest is news to many in Aiken and many more in the Central Savannah River Area. Your reporter has been aware of the woods for over half a century but it is just in the last few years that he has become aware of much of its magnificence. He hopes these articles will help others to discover this area asset sooner rather than later. And, finally (of course,) thank you for visiting Examiner.com.