Before letting Gene tell you his story, we should tell you that Gene is the hiking king of Jocassee Lake Tours. He has thru- hiked the AT twice. We jokingly dare him to hike it backwards next time. We’ll be losing Gene to the trail this May as he heads out west to thru- hike the Pacific Coast Trail, a mere 2653 miles. And did we mention that he’s thru-hiked (twice) the Foothills Trail, and once each the Benton McKaye Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail. There is no stopping this man. And now on to Gene’s modestly written bio:
Growing up in SE Georgia my playground was the Savannah River and I never would have dreamed of working today at Jocassee Lake Tours in the headwaters of the entire Savannah River basin. I attended Georgia Southern University and obtained a degree in Business Administration. After 30 years of pencil pushing, I decided it was time to get outside!
Backpacking and hiking became my passion. On May 21, 2012 I felt compelled to drive to Springer Mountain in NE Georgia to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. I sat, reflected, envisioned, and wrote an entry in the trail log book: “Happy Birthday Mom, I Love You”. I promised to return and return I did, now having completed the entire trail twice since that day.
My wife, Gail, and I live in Oconee County near Westminster. I hike many days on the Foothills Trail that traverses through Jocassee Gorges. The diversity of plants and animals in this area is unbelievable and is considered as one of the most diverse in North America. I completed the Upstate Master Naturalist Program in 2018.
If you want peace and serenity, Lake Jocassee is the place to be! Go for a swim (warm season), hang out with northern loons (cool season), bald eagles and peregrine falcons, even migrating monarch butterflies, and more species of plants than you could ever remember.