Wednesday, April 8

It Finally Begins

Today was our first day on the road and we had a great day! Only 75 miles into our trip and we pulled over for our first hike. The Wildcat Wayside Park was built in the 1930s to provide a "rest stop" for folks traveling on one of South Carolina's "major" highways - today, of course, it's a primetime backroad. Nice trail, nice waterfall and a sunny 80 degrees = great hike.

Just down the road from Wildcat we stop for lunch at Cindy's, then back on the road. A few more miles and we see a sign for the Stump House Tunnel - hey, we've just gotta stop and check it out with a name like that. So . . . off on our second little hike of the day. First stop, the unfinished railroad tunnel cut into Stumphouse mountain. The Blue Ridge Rail Road needed the tunnel for a new line from Anderson, SC to Knoxville, TN and construction started in 1853. Alas, they ran out of money after finishing less than a third of its length, so we walked about 1500 feet into the mountain, nice and cool, a little wet and very dark (no tunnel lights, but Don had his iPhone). Stump House also had another trail to a very nice waterfall, so we got two interesting walks for our $2 entrance fee.

After Stump House we started looking for a campsite and I pulled into a NPS Ranger Station, which is always a great source of information. It was closed for the day, but I spotted a Ranger on his way to the employee parking lot and asked if they had any dispersed campsites for vehicles (free) nearby - he said how about free and on a little creek, I thought that sounded pretty good, so with his directions we head down a gravel road and found our creek side campsite - can't get much better than this.