Last Tuesday—rather, Tuesday, last week—was another good day for a walk in Aiken’s Hitchcock Woods. The temperature was right for bermuda shorts and our daily monsoon was several hours away from its required appearance, so, as the astronauts used to say, all systems were “go.” I drove over to the Berrie Road entrance to the woods and sallied forth. Interestingly enough, if I had thought about it, I probably would have just walked. One warning: The bermuda shorts weren’t the best of ideas this day. The rains we have been having finally did the trick for our native vampires, the mosquitoes. Had I had a problem before, I would have thought to give myself a dose of “Off” before heading out (which is my recommendation for anyone doing one of these walks from this point on to first frost.)
Parking at this entrance is limited. Several homeowners and the woods proper had prominent “no parking” signs. One owner did not post the signs, though, probably because their seven foot fence gave them good reason for a lack of concern. Still, they do have fence gates, which anyone who appreciates their forbearance would want to avoid. One alternative to parking at the entrance would be to park at “Rye Patch” at Whiskey and Berrie. The walk would be a bit longer, but you would have just that much more enjoyment. Incidentally: If you’re downtown wondering how to get to this entrance, check out the directions to get to the Clark Road entrance at the previous “Take a walk in the woods” article. You will see Berrie Road across from the “Green Boundary Club” (on Whiskey Road, of course,) as you follow the directions to get to Clark Road.
Just past the entrance gate are three choices. We’ll go to the left today. Several hundred yards later we bear to the right. The path to the left is called “Palmetto Ride,” probably because it takes us to the edge of the Palmetto golf course—a very old and very well kept private golf course. Our walk takes us further downhill towards “Crazy Creek.”
When we reach the creek we find a sign stating: “Trail Closed to Horses.” The path from the creek to “Fox Field” is quite steep. I had initially planned to take this hike a few days earlier. I got to “Fox Field” and found I had dropped my pen. Retracing my steps to the last point I remembered having it was fruitless, the only thing my search had accomplished was to convince me I didn’t want to go back up that hill to “Fox Field” again that day. I had had enough exercise at that point. So I went back to the car and returned to take the walk on Tuesday.
Going up the hill from “Crazy Creek” is doable, but definitely not a good idea on horseback.
Other than, perhaps, the definite up and down of the terrain and, of course, the mosquitoes, this is another enjoyable walk. If any of the walks up to now have challenged your physical fitness, though, you might want to consider skipping this one, or doing like I did when I lost my pen and turning back if the strain seems too great. Take a look at the pix, in any case, to see if there is anything you would not want to miss, and plan on taking time out for a breather or two whenever it seems advisable. This walk was just under two miles long and took me a bit over an hour, with stops for pix and a bit of heavy breathing.
When you decide on that walk, be sure to consider its cost-to-benefit ratio and compare the woods walks to the time you could be spending with your psychiatrist. I suspect you just might opt for the walk (not to disparage any needed visits to your favorite mental health professional.) Although I will be finishing this series soon, I will be continuing my walks in this largest-in-America (or so we think) municipal forest. If you’re new to the area, thanks for giving me the opportunity to introduce you to Aiken’s Hitchcock Woods. If you like the woods as much as I do, I suspect you may want to provide your support by becoming a “Friend of the Woods.” Aiken would certainly thank you, and so would the Hitchcock Woods Foundation. And, of course, I thank you for your visit today to Examiner.com’s Augusta Environmental News.