HomeCoverINTERNATIONAL‘The Palmetto Path, it’s for me’: Rain provides twist to veteran hiker's...

‘The Palmetto Path, it’s for me’: Rain provides twist to veteran hiker’s vacation journey | Options

On New Yr’s Eve afternoon, Erik Schlimmer purchased packs of Ramen noodles, Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse cookies and different snacks on the Eutawville IGA.

It was Schlimmer’s midway level on a 218-mile hike of the Palmetto Path from Columbia to Awendaw, and the Eutawville IGA was the right spot to resupply his backpack with consumable items.

“It’s been good and the Palmetto Path is for a sure character and it’s for me,” Schlimmer stated. “There have been scenic trails, there are longer trails, there are ‘higher’ trails, however I like solitude.”

“We’re on the actual midway level and I’ve seen zero backpackers and I don’t assume I’ll see anyone to the coast,” he stated as he took the snacks he’d simply bought out of their authentic packaging and reassembled them in additional backpack-friendly luggage.

The 48-year-old New York native now lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and makes use of the 2 weeks of his Christmas break to hike.

He took two weeks to hike a 210-mile path in Texas in 2020 and determined to hike half of the Palmetto Path over his Christmas break in 2021.

This 12 months Schlimmer stated he plans to hike the higher half of the Palmetto Path throughout his two-week break in December.

The Palmetto Path is 500 miles of climbing passages that cross the state from Walhalla to Awendaw.

The next parts of the Palmetto Path prolong via Orangeburg County: a part of the Lake Marion passage, all the 13.9-mile Santee Passage and over half of the 21.3-mile Eutaw Springs Passage.

On the night time of Dec. 30, Schlimmer stayed in a single day in a Santee lodge.

His resolution to remain in a lodge was “an ethical dilemma,” he stated with amusing.

Throughout Schlimmer’s long-distance hikes, he usually sleeps and not using a tent, however in a sleeping bag and below a tarp.


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“I don’t like to remain in buildings – whether or not it’s a lodge, motel or hostel,” Schlimmer stated about climbing.

“After I consider backpacking, it’s two parts: after all you’re climbing through the day, however you additionally keep out at night time,” he stated.

“It’s a legitimacy factor for me, as a result of if I keep in a lodge, I’m ‘being gentle’ or I didn’t plan issues appropriately,” Schlimmer stated.

“I used to be within the rain of biblical proportions,” he stated.

He then texted a few of his associates and informed them his dilemma about staying in a lodge.

A buddy requested that he ship him a screenshot from his telephone of the rainfall map and he despatched it.

“It regarded like Armageddon,” Schlimmer stated.

His buddy replied, “Erik, when was the final time you stayed in a lodge throughout a long-distance hike?”

“2002,” Schlimmer replied.

His buddy reassured Schlimmer it was 19 years in the past and he was because of splurge for an evening at a lodge.

Schlimmer loved a scorching bathe, an actual mattress, washing his garments within the sink and drying them with a hair dryer.


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He had a big pizza delivered to his room for supper.

“That pizza didn’t have an opportunity,” he stated. “Neither did the seven bowls of Fruit Loops this morning.”

Schlimmer, who’s been working as a psychological well being therapist for 2 years in Colorado Springs, developed a love for frequent climbing after he served for 3 years as a paratrooper within the U.S. Military.

Over time, he’s written books about climbing and has backpacked in a number of states.

“I describe my work as: The stress of this discipline is just outweighed by its reward. If you concentrate on it, my job is I sit in an workplace – and it’s nice, I like my job – and other people inform me horrible issues all day. That’s all they do. After which individuals surprise why I spend a lot time within the woods on my own,” he stated.

“I’m superb at not bringing my work dwelling with me. I’ve been backpacking since 1985 and I prefer it due to the serenity,” he stated.

Schlimmer estimates he’s hiked 16,000 miles since then.

Throughout his Palmetto Path hike, he stated it’s principally been uneventful – aside from practically stepping on a water moccasin curled up on a boardwalk on the Wateree Passage.


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“Properly, I felt lucky that I didn’t step on it,” he stated, “I simply occurred to look down and there it was.”

“It sounds cliché, however I really like animals. I really like critters. If it’s a venomous snake, it’s virtually as cute as some other animal on the market,” he stated.

Schlimmer stated the water moccasin “simply sat there, minding its personal enterprise.”

The climbing veteran was grateful the boardwalk was eight ft large so he may make a large berth across the venomous snake, he stated.

Schlimmer stated that was the one snake he noticed by the point he reached Eutawville.

For first-time hikers, particularly for the Palmetto Path, he encourages “the Goldilocks of hikes,” as he described it.

“Not too quick, not too lengthy, not too scorching, not too dry, not too moist – and it may be executed,” he stated. “It’s not too troublesome to search out the proper circumstances in South Carolina.”

“It doesn’t actually matter what part of the Palmetto Path, it simply must be a superb introduction for a newbie hiker,” he stated.

The Palmetto Path is a undertaking of Palmetto Conservation.

Schlimmer stated earlier than he began his hike and in addition throughout it, he reached out to Palmetto Conservation workers about suggestions and recommendation.

“They’ve been tremendous supportive and, after all, actually pleasant. It’s been nice to work with them too,” he stated.

Schlimmer completed his hike from Columbia to Awendaw on Tuesday round 4 p.m. It took him 9 days and he averaged about 24 miles per day.

To study extra about Schlimmer, his hikes and books, go to his web site: www.thehikingveteran.com. He’s additionally on Instagram at @the_hiking_veteran.

For extra details about the Palmetto Path, go to: www.palmettoconservation.org

Contact the author: [email protected] or 803-533-5545. Comply with on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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