Thanksgiving may be a holiday that brings loved ones together to celebrate all that we have to be thankful for, but it also brings on the dreaded holiday weight gain.
The average American will eat a whopping 3,000 calories during the Thanksgiving for dinner alone. Drinks, dessert and appetizers can bring the total calorie count to 4,500, according to the Calorie Control Council, an industry group.
Instead of falling into a food coma all day and bemoaning your full belly, try these Lake Murray hikes that not only help burn off those extra calories, but also bring the family together for a fun, outdoor activity.
Fall is a wonderful time to hike. The leaves change colors, the weather is cooler and the trails aren't nearly as crowded. Even better, a 160-pound person will burn somewhere between 430 and 440 calories per hour of hiking, while a 200-pound person will burn closer to 550 calories per hour of hiking.
1. Bundrick Island - This isn't a real island, but a peninsula instead, popular with boaters around Lake Murray. It has has a series of pretty, natural and easy trails to wander through. The trails also bring you along the shoreline for some stunning views of the lake. From Lexington: Take US-378 West and turn right onto St. Peters Road, then turn left onto Old Cherokee Road. After traveling about 1.5 miles, turn right onto Brady Porth Road and Bundrick Island as located at the north end of the road, northwest of the Town of Lexington.
2. Saluda Shoals Park - If you're looking for a longer hike, Saluda Shores Park has a 10-mile network of paved and dirt connecting walkways within the park. The main trail is the paved Greenway Trail, which runs the length of the park, and is an easy walking, multi-use, out-and-back trail from the canoe launch area or the Environmental Center parking area.The Lower Saluda Scenic River Trail is a 9.5 mile one-way path that begins at Saluda Shoals Park.
3. Spider Woman II Trail - For more of a challenge, Spider Woman II is a moderately difficult loop trail that is combined with the Midlands Mountain Trail. This trail has some steep and narrow sections and tight turns, but it eventually snakes its way down to the creek and Broad River through a series of short, steep climbs and descents that take you up and over rocks and roots. Be aware that you'll share this trail with mountain bikers too, so keep alert.
From Columbia, drive west on Interstate 26 and exit at Harbison Boulevard. Turn left onto Harbison Boulevard and drive to Broad River Road. Turn right and the entrance to Harbison State Forest is on the left. Follow the gravel road for approximately 1.5 miles to Parking Area 5 on the right.