Of the past five Fridays, I’ve been in a doctor’s office for four of them for various aches and ailments. Today I was determined to stay out of a doctor’s office, despite the fact I’ve still got a busted knee from last week’s kayaking trip.
Bad knee aside, I decided I would take my newly reconditioned mountain bike out and ride some of the new trails that Greenville is building. Specifically, I wanted to see how far the new Swamp Rabbit Railroad trail runs, and locate the trailheads.
The Swamp Rabbit Railroad was originally part of a grand plan to connect Augusta to Knoxville via Greenville. In its heyday, it shuttled passengers and cargo from Greenville north to the River Falls community near Jones Gap. Even then it was often poorly maintained, and derived its name from the swamps that it passed along the Reedy River.
The last train ran from Greenville to Travelers Rest in 1998, and since that time the tracks have been mostly abandoned. Now there are several plans for converting the former railway into a trail. A 1.5 mile portion has already been completed, with rubberized pavement for joggers. Rails and ties are now being removed along the rest of the route, but they still have quite a way to go. Below is a map from Greenville Recreation, which links to a larger PDF version.
I parked my truck at Linky Stone Park near the Peace Center. Immediately I was distracted by daisies growing in the park, so I grabbed the big Nikon D50 and shot some pictures while the morning light was perfect.
Soon enough, though, I headed out. I left the big camera in the truck and took only my little Nikon S50. The trail flew by quickly, and I once again discovered how much I love bike riding. At my peak, I was riding 18 miles every other day, but that was twenty years ago. Still I managed the flat trail with no problems, and my knee didn’t bother me at all.
Too soon I was at the end of the trail. The endpoint was at a questionable neighborhood, and there was lots of graffiti on the railroad overpasses. I retraced my steps back to the truck.
In my mind, I hadn’t had nearly enough of a ride, so I continued on along the Falls Park greenway, past the Peace Center, past the falls, and on along the banks of the Reedy into Cleveland Park. I circled the park, riding as far as I could, before eventually heading back. As I came back through Falls Park, I got distracted by a heron at the lower falls, and took some other shots in that area.
As much as I love where we live now, sometimes I missed the convenience of our old house. I could ride this route and cut back through Main Street from there, making a nice little run. Now I would have to brave Wade Hampton to get here. Still, now that I’ve retasted what I love about cycling, I think I’ll be back.