waterfalls

Promises of What is to Come

waterfall

There are big changes happening in my life, and I'm preparing to open up possibilities for new places to explore. My wife and I are in the process of moving to Knoxville, Tennessee. Although that means that I won't be hiking around the South Carolina and north Georgia areas as I have for some years now, the Great Smoky Mountains are right nearby. As an example of the kinds of new places opening up for hiking and photography, this post is about a hike in the Smokies taken earlier this summer.

trail
trees in shadow
foliage
tree
small cascade
small cascade
snail
cut tree trunk
mushrooms
butterfly
rocks
waterfall
waterfall

Hiking with Librarians

waterfall

While building staff profiles for the Clemson Libraries staff web resources, I noted that many bios involved hiking as a particular interest. Since that's also an interest of mine, I've been building a hiking group of library faculty and staff. I had gone with a couple of colleagues to Blood Mountain in Georgia last fall, but we're starting to attract a larger group of core hikers. This time, we went to the Winding Stairs Trail, north of Walhalla. I had been here before, but the rest of the group had never been. 

waterfall
waterfall
waterfall
base of the waterfall
waterfall

After the Snow Fall

shelf mushrooms

February in the upstate South Carolina area was a wintry one, indeed. The university was either closed or delayed multiple times, due to the ice and snow. After one of these winter storms, with the temperature going up and the sun coming out, I took a brief trip back to Station Cove Falls. This time, rather than starting out from the Oconee Station State Historical Site parking area, I went directly to the alternate trailhead, just down from the entrance. 

fence
hiking trail
snow on bridge
tree trunk
creek
shelf mushrooms
waterfall
waterfall
top of the waterfall
waterfall
view from the waterfall
mossy rock

A Half-Forgotten Trip

trail

Recently, I was looking through some of my photos, and I found some images from a trip I took in the late fall of 2014 along the Sourwood Trail in north Georgia, around Lake Russell. I had almost forgotten that I had taken this hike, not because it wasn't enjoyable, but just because things had been very busy on my weekends, and it just got lost.I went along the trail the opposite direction from last time, but overall, the trip went very much like the last one.

gravel road
tree-lined trail
mountain view
mushrooms
trail
waterfall
waterfall
waterfall
broken tree-top
side of the trail
meadow
end of the trail

Adventure, or Misadventure?

churning water

Part of what I like about hiking is the quasi-adventurous nature of it. Sure, there is a clearly marked trail (usually) with a beginning and end. But, you never know exactly what will happen on the trail that day. Could be the weather's unpredictability, a chance meeting with a fellow hiker that may or may not be welcome, or you might see some wildlife that you didn't expect. Even if you take the same hike multiple times, it can be different each time.

I often like that quality. But sometimes, that uncertainty can just be frustrating. Case in point: Big Bend Falls.

trail
trailside boulder
small rapids
rocky point
rapids
view of the falls
approach to the falls
Big Bend Falls
base of the falls
close up of the water
top of the falls

Busy Spring

waterfall

It's kind of amazing how the spring, although it's one of the best times to go hiking, can leave one with so little time to do so. Between the weather, social obligations, and illness, it's been a struggle to find time to get myself out into the wild. As a result, my posts have been few and far between.

Falls Creek Falls

waterfall

Not long after one of our southern snowfalls this winter, I set out upon the Falls Creek Falls trail, a challenging 1.5 mile hike up to an amazing waterfall. This hike is in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area of South Carolina. The recent snowfall was still in evidence on the waterfall itself, providing a unique view of the cascade.

small cascade
rocks
rocks
winter mountain view
waterfall
waterfall
waterfall
icy water
waterfall
trail
exposed tree roots

Visit to Stumphouse Tunnel

Stumphouse Tunnel

The Stumphouse Tunnel is part of the Blue Ridge Railroad, a project started in 1852 to connect Charleston and Knoxville. It was never finished due to lack of funds, but three of the tunnels still remain standing in various states of incompletion. I visited two of the others on the Blue Ridge Railroad Historical Trail, but did not visit the largest of these, Stumphouse. During the Christmas break, my wife and I went with her uncle to see the sights in the mountains, and Stumphouse Tunnel was one of the places we visited. I wouldn't classify this as a hike, but we at least viewed the tunnel itself, and Issaqueena Falls just nearby.

small waterfall
Stumphouse Tunnel
tree roots
Issaqueena Falls
trees as the sun goes down
curled tree root

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