Thursday, April 05, 2007

Waterfalls, A Covered Bridge, and a Gorge

Over the weekend I decided that Monday would be an ideal day for a day-long ride, and pretty much at the last minute I decided to throw my camping gear on my bike and make it an overnighter. I rode I26 up to Greenville and then got on US276 heading toward Caesar's Head; looking at my map, I realized that South Carolina's lone remaining old covered bridge, Campbell Bridge, is not too far east of 276, so I detoured on 414 to go visit it. A couple from Greer on a Harley were stopped at the bridge, and I had a pleasant conversation with them.

I then resumed my ride toward Caesar's Head, and I found a waterfall that I have not seen before, Wildcat Branch Falls, even though I've passed right by it at least a dozen times. It's right before 276 and 11 split, on the right.

I continued on 276 over Caesar's Head to Brevard, where I got on US64W to 281S, which leads to Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi at just over 400 feet.

A scenic view on the walk to Whitewater Falls:

I continued down 130 to 11, the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, and then down to Walhalla; then up 28 to Oconee State Park, where I camped for the night. I arrived as dusk was approaching, so I quickly pitched my tent while I still had some daylight, and I then sat down to a wonderful hot dinner of chicken, rice, and salsa thanks to my handy-dandy MRE (Meal Ready to Eat); these were distributed to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the immediate aftermath of the storm, and a buddy of mine ended up with some extras that he passed on to me. They're actually quite tasty and definitely filling, and are perfect for eating at camp.

I lay on the ground for a while gazing up at the sky and saw several shooting stars; it was very quiet and peaceful. I then read for a bit before turning in for the night. I slept well and was on the road by 9:00 the following morning.

On my way to Walhalla for breakfast I stopped to visit Isaqueena Falls and Stumphouse Tunnel; the tunnel was started before the Civil War as a railway conduit; progress was slow, and construction came to a halt when the war broke out; following the war, the town of miners had pretty much disappeared, and the state was in no situation to continue its development, so it stands unfinished today as it did in 1861; you can walk into it, which is pretty cool...literally. Like natural tunnels and caves, it maintains a constant temperature of around 50 degrees and a humidity of 85%; Clemson University used to age blue cheese in it.

After breakfast in Walhalla, I proceeded up Highway 28, which is one of my favorite roads to ride; it is nice and curvy and scenic. In Highlands, NC I got on 106S; the following shot was taken somewhere along 106.

In Clayton, GA I got on US23S which takes you to Tallulah Gorge and Falls. I unfortunately wasn't able to stop for too long, as I had to be back in Columbia by 5:00 for a brass quintet rehearsal, but I did stop along the side of the road and get a bit of a view of the gorge.

I meandered my way back to I26E in Clinton via various roads; the following shot was taken from the south side of Hartwell Lake near the dam.

I covered about 300 miles each of the two days. What a fantastic trip!


Post a Comment

<< Home