Up Sand Creek
In South Carolina, United States
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Sand River of The Hitchcock Woods
The Hitchcock Woods in Aiken is the largest urban forest in the country, established in 1939. Through the years various donations have brought it to over 2,200 acres. The Hitchcock Woods has a wide variety of trails including the Cathedral Aisle trail, originally part of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company, which became America's first rails-trails conversion in 1939.
This cache will take you to a point of interest in the Hitchcock Woods called the Sand River. It is a river of sand that flows through Hitchcock Woods. The Sand River begins behind the Old Kennels in the northeast corner of Hitchcock Woods (Grid A-15) and continues through the central portion of the forest where it flows into the Central Wetlands (Grid D-11). Sand River has a unique history and is the source of many legends.
Visit www.hitchcockwoods.org for a map to the woods.
For several decades, the city of Aiken and the Hitchcock Woods Foundation have been working together to try to solve the erosion problem in Sand River, which is caused by storm water drainage. Drainage from the downtown and South Boundary watersheds have eroded the canyon's banks, creating sheer cliffs. As large quantities of fast-moving storm water deteriorated the sandy river bank, it carried silt downstream, infiltrating wetlands.
As a result of this increased discharge, mass wasting is common. Slumps, debris flows, creeps, and landslides are all identifiable. The increased discharge in the streams and of the area also generate minor point bars and erosion of cutbanks as the streams meander along the base level of the drainage basin. As the flow in the streams lessens, it becomes a braided stream bed.
Urban runoff is the main source of water flow through the Sand River. In the past, it was a focus point for surface flow runoff into the local water basin and drainage into the wetlands of the area. This runoff eroded much of the topsoil and underlying subsoil. This started as a series of sheet erosion in the area until large gullies developed. The sediment load from the steady erosion of the soil created the Sand River. Current ripple marks can be seen throughout the course of the Sand River and its tributaries. The high sand content of the area and the presence of thin layers and pockets of kaolin all point to a time when this area was submerged beneath the seas. The sand of the area is fine grained, white quartz.
The cache is near the Memorial Gate, placed by friends of Thomas Hitchcock, Jr., to whom the Woods belonged and after whom they were named. The Gate is also dedicated to Pete Bostwick, a popular steeplechase rider, trainer, and polo player. You can't miss the Gate, so take some time and rest there after your hike.
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- Memorial GateThe Memorial Gate in Hitchcock Woods
- The Gang at the Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon of the Sand River
- The Sand RiverA narrowing in the Sand River
Last Updated: on 6/15/2014 10:42:18 AM Pacific Daylight Time (5:42 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum