I went hiking on Saturday! I'm still sore, but it was actually really fun. My new hikers ate away the back of my ankle, and I fell once and ripped my elbow open, but I swear it was fun! I went to Issaqeena Falls, Stumphouse Tunnel, Middle Tunnel, and Yellow Branch Falls. Since I left my camera in the car for the Yellow Branch Falls portion of the trip, that will be a separate post after I go back. :-P
Now Issaqueena Falls doesn't really require a hike to get to, nor does Stumphouse Tunnel. Middle Tunnel was a bit of a hike, but the majority of my hiking was on the way to and from Yellow Branch... which I'm not talking about just yet... so here are some pretty pictures.
My first stop was at Stumphouse Tunnel.
It's a tunnel that they started to dig out for a railroad, but funds ran out and they gave up. Clemson used it for awhile to cure bleu cheese, but now it's just a tourist attraction. It was pretty cool... a little scary by myself after watching The Descent not too long ago, but there were lot of other people around, and I had the sense to take a flashlight.
After the tunnel, I went down the road to Issaqueena Falls. This one took a bit of a walk, but only, like, 5 minutes to get to the observation deck. From there, the falls looked like this:
I wasn't nearly close enough, and I saw a few people down below at the base of the falls. I don't know if there was an easier way to get there, but I climbed down around the observation deck. I'm pretty sure it wasn't even a path, just a washed out rut:
I made it, though, and it was so worth it. The view was much better than from the viewing area. There was a family of four down there playing around, though, and it was impossible to get a picture with none of them in it. I think I managed to get one without a single random stranger.
Very pretty, but very populated since it's so easy to get to. I wish I could find one with no other people so I could enjoy it in solitude... or with a buddy if someone would go hiking with me!
After I climbed back up from the falls (after slipping and landing on my elbow), I ventured up the Blue Ridge Railroad trail, where Middle Tunnel and Saddle Tunnel are located. I didn't make it all the way to Saddle Tunnel because a) I'd left my pack in the car, and b) the path was flooded after Middle Tunnel.
It was a pretty hike to the tunnel...
Middle and Saddle Tunnels are part of the same system as Stumphouse Tunnel. They were all supposed to connect Charleston, SC with Knoxville, TN, and eventually Cincinnati, OH. When funding ran out, they stopped construction. I expected Middle Tunnel to be as big as Stumphouse Tunnel, but apparently they didn't get as far.
Needless to say, I did not go in. I like hiking alone, but spelunking alone and dying in a cave is not appealing. If you saw The Descent, you know what lives in there. A Voldemeagol so would have gotten me.
After I gave up on Saddle Tunnel, I went to the start of the Yellow Branch Falls trail, leaving my camera in the car. It was an awesome hike, though, and I'll definitely go back to get pictures. I thought about going after work today, but my legs are still kind of on fire after Saturday. (Out of shape. Ugh.)
**Click on a pic to make it bigger!