Fall hiking season is upon us, and here are a couple photos from one of our epic September hikes.   The waterfall in the background is Moonshine Falls, so-named because there is a cave behind the waterfall where bootleggers used to distill their moonshine.  At the time of this hike, you could still see old steel barrels, relics of the manufacturing process.  Our two-year-old at the time, not versed in the world illegal distilleries, called the place “Shining Moon Falls”.

Last I heard the short, easy trail to Moonshine Falls was closed.   So consider these memories from days gone by.

A few trail notes remain relevant though:

Stream Crossings: Our toddler at the time was something of an advanced hiker.  I find that between the ages of about 3 to 5 is when most young children are ready to do short, no-elevation-gain hikes in the SC mountains.   But at that age, expect to provide assistance here and there at tricky spots.  The approach to the waterfall on this particular hike crossed the creek directly above the waterfall.  Lots of water + high falls just feet away = all children cross with adult assistance.  Which leads to the much more dramatic trail note . . .

Yellow Jackets! Jon gallantly carried our 2-year-old across the stream in a few quick steps, and up the bank on the other side, landing firmly on an underground yellow-jacket nest.  I’m not sure why yellow jackets are so fond of building *on* the trail, but it does seem to be their habit.  By autumn the nests are quite large, and if you aren’t paying attention (say, you are trying to keep your daughter from being swept off a waterfall), you can walk on one inadvertently.  Which the yellow jackets don’t much appreciate.  And they will let you know.

So eyes open on the trail this time of year.  Lest you end up with a toddler like ours, reporting, “Daddy carried me across the creek at Shining Moon Falls, and he got stung by the Life Jackets!”

Happy to reach Moonshine Falls

Happy to reach Moonshine Falls unstung.

Daddy rescued me from the Life Jackets.

Daddy rescued me from the Life Jackets.