…but, on Saturday, we did it in 75 miles. This is what happens when you leave your house without any real destination in mind. “Oh, wait – that looks like an interesting road!” becomes your compass, and you end up in a spot where it looks like you’ll have to back up six miles.
Somewhere in Northwestern South Carolina
Great Blue Heron
South of Cashiers, we stopped for a look at Silver Run Falls. There’s a short path from the tiny parking area to the bottom of the falls. In some of the photos I’ve seen of the falls, it has two distinct streams, but on Saturday, with a lot of meltwater draining into the river, there was one huge gush.
Silver Run Falls
Part of the trail to Silver Run Falls
There’s a big fish hatchery north of Walhalla, South Carolina, and we stopped to have a look the trout.
A tall fence topped with barbed-wire protects the trout from fish-nappers.
Avid fishermen Bob and Bella take a close look at this year’s trout.
Adult, grill-ready trout
We also stopped at Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel, a Blue Ridge Railway project that was abandoned in 1859 when the state of South Carolina refused to spend any more money on it. Issaqueena Waterfall is nearby, but it was mid-afternoon and the falls was crawling with tourists so I couldn’t get a photo of it.
Bob and Bella in Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel: “You go on ahead; I’ll just sit here and wait for you.”
The weather yesterday was gorgeous so we hopped in the truck and played tourist all day. It’s still too early for any greenery and I think that made these abandoned places seem more desolate….
Black vultures sit on a branch over an abandoned house
The chimney is all that remains of a burned building
Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel, left unfinished in 1859
Railway flat car
“Prime View Gas Groc.”
There’s a dead pine tree in the woods across the road and I’ve seen a red-tailed hawk at the very top eyeing the horse pasture to the south looking for potential dinner. He’s not there now, but I wander back there once in a while to see if I can catch a photo of him.
The tree is also a favorite of woodpeckers which we can hear on warm days when the windows are open.
Bella waits patiently while I wander around looking for wildlife.
Since Groundhog Day we’ve had three snowfalls, but I’m still not sure if Nibbles, Asheville’s official groundhog, was right or wrong.
On February 2, the weather was partly cloudy. This kind of weather always makes Groundhog Day a lot more exciting and when Nibbles appeared, she didn’t see her shadow. Yay! Early spring! But wait. The festivities included the appearance of a “groundhog whisperer” in the person of a T.V. meteorologist who “interpreted” the groundhog as “saying” that there would be six more weeks of winter. Yes indeed, the local T.V. station had hijacked Groundhog Day!
I grew up in Minnesota where Groundhog Day is a big deal. This is one day during the winter when you can put aside your confidence in science (and personal observation) and pretend, for 24 hours, that spring is just around the corner. In Minnesota, the groundhog’s prediction is ridiculous whether he saw his shadow or not. But Groundhog Day was always celebrated with parties and groundhog watching, hayrides and bonfires, and plenty of hot buttered rum.
I think it’s subversive to introduce an actual scientist into the festivities. Groundhog Day is a delusional escape from reality for people who are starting to show signs of cabin fever. If we want a meteorologist’s prediction, we’d stay home and watch T.V. or check out the NWS web site.
So Nibbles was wrong (or would have been without the intervention of this dubious “groundhog whisperer” person), but I would have enjoyed Groundhog Day a lot more without the science.
Our older green iguana, Penny, died last night. He (we thought he was a female when we got him, hence the name) had been failing lately and he was quite old – we had him ten years and we were his third home, so we think he was at least twenty years old.
Still, it’s not any easier just because he was old. I was rather attached to him even though I was annoyed when Bob first brought him home. The previous owner had intended to “cut him loose,” certain death for an iguana in a non-tropical climate. So he lived ten years longer than he might have but for Bob’s soft heart…
Penny and Bob enjoy watching a movie
“Why…do we give our hearts to friends whose lifespans are so much shorter than our own?”
-Arthur C. Clarke, Hammer of God