Friday, February 12, 2016

2016-02-07 Saluda Area Waterfalls and Railroad Hike

Saluda area Waterfalls and Railroad Hike
with Keith and Jay
Melrose Falls
The Saluda Grade Railroad
Fungi Falls
Sunday, February 7th, 2016

The Saluda Grade running between the towns of Tryon and Saluda, NC is the steepest standard-gauge railway in the United States.  The Norfolk Southern Railway suspended use of the tracks back in 2001.  I recently heard rumors that the tracks are now open to the public for hiking allowing a much closer view of Melrose Falls on Big Fall Creek.

I decided to join Keith and his friend Jay on a hike to Melrose Falls which would include a short section of the old Saluda Grade Railway.

Our starting point would be the Twin Bridge bridges area along US176 between Saluda and Tryon.  However since this section of US176 is closed due to a rock slide, we just parked along the shoulder just before the barricade and walked down the road towards the twin bridges.

Hike Leader Keith at the start of our hike

The North Pacolet River from the Twin Bridges

Interesting Graffiti under one of the Twin Bridges

From the Twin Bridges we could see where the rock slide occurred, so we hiked a little further down the road to check it out.

This explains why the road was closed

Jay checking out the rock slide

We backtracked and hit the trail heading east which runs through Pacolet Area Conservancy land towards Big Fall Creek.  This creek is actually a long series of cascades and waterfalls.  Probably the most impressive of which is the first one we arrived at which I am calling Lower Melrose Falls.

 Lower Melrose Falls

Keith, Jay, and Me at Lower Melrose Falls

From there we continued upstream to the railroad trestle above Big Falls Creek.

Keith and Jay walking across the railroad trestel above Big Falls Creek

Just upstream from the railroad trestle is Melrose Falls.
Melrose Falls  (not huge, but bigger than it looks in this photo)
There is also a nice cascade just downstream from Melrose Falls under the trestle.
Nice Cascade just downstream from Melrose Falls

The next mile and a half of our hike was an easy walk along the train tracks.

Keith sitting on the tracks

 Jay and Keith hiking along the tracks

Some ice alongside the tracks

We exited the tracks through a small subdivision that had a bridge across the Pacolet River which brought us out onto US176 a short distance from our starting point.  Here is the GPS track from our hike.

GPS Track of Hike

There was still plenty of time left to do another short Waterfall hike.  I would take the lead on this one since neither Keith or Jay had ever been to Fungi Falls.  

For this visit I am just going to post a few photos taken under horrible light for waterfall photography.

Fungi Falls

Fungi Falls

Keith and Jay at Fungi Falls

Fungi Falls

It was another great day to be outside!
My complete set of photos is posted here:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

2016-02-05 Haning out by the Fire

Hanging out by the Firepit
Our Backyard
Spartanburg, SC
Friday, February 5th, 2016

On cool nights Amy and I like to light the firepit in our backyard and just hang out together for a few hours, just enjoying each others company and a few FABs (Frosty Adult Beverages). Here are a few photos of my Love from last night!

 Amy by the Fire

 Fire in her Eye

 Amy by the Fire

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016-01-30 Jack and Amy do Asheville

Jack and Amy do Asheville
Hiking, Drinking, and Shopping
Bent Creek Experimental Forest
Lake Powhatan Recreation Area
Wedge Brewing Company
Oyster House Brewing Company
Altamont Brewing Company
Asheville Outlet Mall and the Tonic Market
Saturday, January 30th, 2016

At the Wedge Brewing Company

Amy and I took a trip up to Asheville, NC this past Saturday for a day of hiking, drinking, and shopping.  We started out with an Amy Approved hike through the Bent Creek Experimental Forest and the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area.

 Amy along the trail

 Amy hiking into the Sun

 Geese at Lake Powhatan

 Me at Lake Powhatan

This area contains a large network (about 50 miles) of trails and forest service roads.  It reminds me of DuPont State Forest, except without the waterfalls.  The only waterfall in this area is the Man Made one at the Lake Powhatan Dam.

Dam Waterfall below Lake Powhatan

After our hike, it was time to hit a few Asheville Breweries that I have not been to.  We started out at the Wedge Brewing Company.  This proved to be a new favorite, especially on days that it is nice enough to sit outside!

The Wedge Brewing Compnay 

A couple enjoying a few brews at the Wedge Brewing Company 

 My Dead Flight at the Wedge Brewing Company

Next up was the Oyster House Brewing Company for a late lunch / early dinner and another flight of brews.  Definitely not on the top of my favorite brewery list, but I did have one of the best bowls of Clam Chowder that I have ever had!

 Me at the Oyster House Brewing Company

 Amy at the Oyster House Brewing Company

We rounded out our brewery hopping with the Altamont Brewing Company!  Another one to add to the SCJack recommended list!

 The Altamont Brewing Company

Since hiking and breweries is more of my thing, we finished up our Asheville visit with something Amy wanted to do.  A visit to the Asheville Outlet Mall. 

I am definitely not a fan of Outlet Malls, but this visit was made much more bearable now that the Asheville Outlet Mall has a Husband Daycare Center where I was able to sample a few more brews while Amy browsed the shops!

The New Tonic Market at the Asheville Outlet Mall  (aka Husband Daycare)
photo credit:  Tonic Market

It was a beautiful day to explore the fabulous city of Asheville!

The Complete Set of Photos is posted here: