As a traveler in the American Southeast, I’d been eying South Carolina’s Palmetto Trail for a while.
And when I saw Peak to Prosperity Passage, with its old train trestles and tree tunnels, I knew I’d found the one.
Something about trains speaks to me of journeys through time and place … quests for meaning … travel to new places. For reasons based purely on imagination, I’ve wanted a long walk along old train tracks for years and just never found the right place.
I’d been gearing up for a little while. A birthday seemed like a great time to walk out alone and take stock of life. See where I am, where I’m going.
So I’ve been getting ready. Looking at camping and trail equipment. (Is my husband’s Big Agnes tent okay, or do I want to try a me-sized ultra-light, like Gossamer?)
Walking more, building up my endurance, when I can fit it in. Working through The Way of Abundance as I walk my walks and walk my life. There’s been a lot of both to use since I (re)took on daily care of my elderly mother-in-law with bad mobility.
Then reality hit: weather in the 90s (around 34C). A 25-degree shift in the course of a week.** To some people, that’s nothing. But to someone who’s dying when it gets over about 75F (24C), that’s a miserable hike.
Then I remembered: This isn’t a hike. This is Pilgrimage. And pilgrimage means hostels and inns after a long day of walking! ;)
(Hey … if Gollum can have a Ring of Power for his “birthday present,” surely I can have a shower for mine.)
The Palmetto Trail, like me, is a work in progress. Right now, it’s a 350-mile series of sections (planned 500) intended to eventually stretch from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Intracoastal Waterway near the Atlantic coast. Basically, across the state of South Carolina—a state filled with history spanning back to before the American colonies. Available passages range in length from 1.3 miles up to 47 miles.
Peak to Prosperity Passage is a 10.8-mile passage that’s mostly level terrain. There are a few places where the bigger riprap gravel sticks up, but most of the pathway has fine, packed-down gravel and sand that makes for a pretty nice walk.
This is a really pretty, mostly quiet path stretching from Alston Trailhead up past Pomaria Trailhead to Prosperity. There are 20 trestles crossing the Broad River and various streams. Several of the streams look like great places to wade—another reason this could be a great hike for families with younger kids.
Pilgrimage destinations are all around. They aren’t a thing of the past & don’t belong to any one faith. There's one for you—sacred, historic or meaningful.
Picpus Cemetery is the resting place for 1,306 people executed during the Great Terror of 1794. It most famously houses the remains of the Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American & French Revolutions.