The Coves of East Jocassee

Lake Jocassee Kayaking-3

The day was supposed to be hot. I thought the perfect antidote would be a cool mountain lake. So, Thursday morning I headed out early for what I thought would be a quick morning paddle on Lake Jocassee. As usual, I got caught up in the thrill of wanting to see what was just around the next bend, and wound up spending most of the day there. It met all my requirements for a cool lake, and then some. Continue reading “The Coves of East Jocassee”

Summer Solstice on Bald Rock

Bald Rock Summer Solstice-9

In 1987 I was only a mere 70 miles from Stonehenge on the summer solstice. At the time I was young and too ignorant of both the date and geography to make an effort to get down there. Over the years I’ve kicked myself mentally for that lapse, although I probably couldn’t have gotten close with all of the crowds. Even so, I’ve tried to do something special for either the winter or summer solstice each year, whether it’s a kayaking or some other outing. This year I decided to watch the sun rise from Bald Rock. Continue reading “Summer Solstice on Bald Rock”

Chasing a THIRD Swamp Rabbit – Part 5, Paddling to Goat Island

Goat Island in the Broad River-164

Several weeks ago I spent some time searching for remnants of the Swamp Rabbit Railroad. This isn’t the famous one in Greenville that later became a popular trail. Instead, it’s a line constructed by the Ohio River and Charleston Railroad to serve textile communities in the Upstate. Despite ambitious plans, it was only completed from Blacksburg down through Cherokee Falls, then over to Gaffney. The railroad was short-lived, but in the early 1970s the section from Blacksburg to Cherokee Falls found new life as a scenic railroad for a bit. That, too failed, and now the railroad is abandoned.

I had explored as much as I could by land. Google Earth indicated the existence of a couple of supports for the old railroad trestle in the Broad River, but I couldn’t get close enough to see them. The trestle crossed Goat Island, which also figures prominently in the story of the Swamp Rabbit. This past week Alan Russell and I were able to get out on the water, and visit these locations. Continue reading “Chasing a THIRD Swamp Rabbit – Part 5, Paddling to Goat Island”

Quick Trip to Stumphouse Tunnel

Stumphouse Tunnel-15

It was hot. Extremely hot. My mind wandered to places where I might stay cool that didn’t require air conditioning. Standing under a waterfall seemed like it might be a good idea, but I couldn’t decide which would work best. Eventually, I decided a cave would do. There are no true caves in our area, but the next closest thing is Stumphouse Tunnel. I decided I’d take the cameras and head up that way. Along the way I would snag Ken in Clemson. Continue reading “Quick Trip to Stumphouse Tunnel”

Kayaking and Coffee

Kayaking Coffee

When I’m down in Florida I like to do at least one sunrise paddling trip. With the weather as iffy as it’s been, I’ve been wavering on when to paddle. I usually get up around 5:00 to walk the dog, and that usually gives me a good idea of conditions. One morning the skies were clear, but weird lightning kept me on-shore. Finally, one morning this week I decided to go for it, despite clouds and a bit of heat lightning. Continue reading “Kayaking and Coffee”

Chasing a THIRD Swamp Rabbit – Part 4 Coopersville to Gaffney

Gaffney RR vintage

I had been tracking down the Swamp Rabbit Railroad, the third to bear that name in South Carolina. This one ran from Blacksburg to Gaffney through Cherokee Falls. Now I was out trying to find physical evidence of the old railroad. I had explored from Blacksburg to Cherokee Falls along a route that briefly ran as a scenic railroad in the 1970s. Now it was time to cross the Broad River and see what I could find on the section from Coopersville to Gaffney. Continue reading “Chasing a THIRD Swamp Rabbit – Part 4 Coopersville to Gaffney”

Chasing a THIRD Swamp Rabbit – Part 3 Blacksburg to Cherokee Falls

Railroad at Blacksburg, SC

I had been tracking down the history of the Swamp Rabbit Railroad that ran from Blacksburg to Gaffney by way of Cherokee Falls. So far I’d discovered the history of the railroad and its relatively short commercial life, and I had discovered how the railroad briefly found new life as a scenic railroad in the 1970s. It was time to get out into the field and do some ground-truthing. I wanted to see if there were any remnants of the old line. Continue reading “Chasing a THIRD Swamp Rabbit – Part 3 Blacksburg to Cherokee Falls”

Chasing a THIRD Swamp Rabbit – Part 2, J. V. Cannon and the Scenic Railway

Cherokee County Swamp Rabbit Railroad-5

As it turns out the Swamp Rabbit that ran on the Greenville and Northern track, and the Swamp Rabbit that ran through Cherokee County have histories that have become entwined. I actually found this link right under my own nose on this very website. William Cannon left a comment on my post about “What Happened to the Swamp Rabbit?” in which he mentioned his father, J. V. Cannon. Jean Vaughan Cannon turned out to be a fascinating individual with what can only be described as an obsession with trains. His obsession gave new life to both the Greenville Swamp Rabbit and the Cherokee Swamp Rabbit. Continue reading “Chasing a THIRD Swamp Rabbit – Part 2, J. V. Cannon and the Scenic Railway”

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