There are many ways to see your place.
One way is to leave it.
That’s exactly what Preston Bailey did. Preston grew up in Greenville, SC and soon after graduating from Clemson University, he stuffed his backpack and hit the Appalachian Trail. It didn’t take long for the wanderlust to take root, sending Preston out to explore the wild west on the Pacific Crest Trail. He eventually returned home.
With his trail-wisened eyes and a camera in hand, he began to see his homeplace through a new lens.
The journeys he had taken instilled in him an even deeper appreciation for a trail in his own backyard, the Foothills Trail.
The Foothills Trail is a 77-mile trail that travels through some of the most protected and beautiful places in the upstate. It begins at Table Rock State Park and ends at Oconee State Park, meandering through the highs and the lows of South Carolina’s rugged mountains. Along the way, a hiker can summit Sassafrass Mtn., the highest point in SC, and become intimate with the rocks and the rivers of the Jocassee Gorges. On a hot summer day, not a soul will object to a dip in the pool at the base of Hilliard Falls. Hikers traverse the banks of the Chattooga River, a national wild and scenic river, and if they are lucky, can enjoy a fresh rainbow trout cooked over a campfire. The Foothills Trail is a balm for the weary soul and retreat from the busyness of life. It is also an accomplishment to hike the entire trail, whether as a thru-hike or a section hike.
For the past year, Preston has been trekking the Foothills Trail with a vision.
He has been filming the natural wonders and the incredible people who make up the Foothills Trail community and the end product is a fantastic documentary.
He hopes that when people see his film, they will be compelled to explore the trail, discover the wonders contained there, and value the treasure we have. He wants to inspire us all with future eyes to protect our sacred spaces.
Here in Travelers Rest, it is easy to see why we love our place. We have small-town charm, expansive green pastures, incredible neighbors both human and wild, and this pristine mountain wilderness in our backyard.
Sometimes we need to be reminded exactly how remarkable it is.
So come on out and see the trail through the eyes of the camera lens. The theater will be warm and you can sleep in your own bed that night. Best of all, seeing the film will not cause blisters.
Get your tickets for Thursday, December 7 at Camelot Theaters for the premier showing of Preston Bailey’s documentary, The Foothills Trail Project.
This film is guaranteed to deepen, or maybe even ignite, your love for one of the most magical parts of our place.
Oh yeah, and all proceeds go to the Foothills Trail Conservancy, the organization that plans, promotes, and protects the Foothills Trail.
Buy your tickets here:
Story & Photos by Tricia Kykzer
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