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Sassafras Mountain and More

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July is well known for being hot and humid around here, but this last week featured a welcome break from both. This presented a great opportunity to go outside and explore somewhere! I haven't really explored the area around Sassafras Mountain lately, and a new observation deck recently opened up there, so last Wednesday I traveled up F. Van Clayton Memorial Highway (off US 178 in Rocky Bottom) to the parking area near the top of the mountain.

The weather report from the top of Sassafras Mountain was as good as it gets in late July:
I had expected the parking area to be near empty, but it would seem others had the same idea I did:
I figured most of these people were probably at the observation tower, so I decided to wait until later to visit. I wanted to head over to Roundtop Mountain, and that would take me down the Foothills Trail to the Palmetto Trail.
I passed by the turn off to the Palmetto Trail to visit the John L. Cantrell homesite a short distance down from the intersect…

A Day at Hot Springs

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Last Saturday I visited the 24th annual Bluff Mountain Festival in Hot Springs, North Carolina. The Bluff Mountain Festival began as a way to raise funds and awareness to preserve nearby Bluff Mountain from logging. When a compromise with the logging company was reached, the festival has evolved into a fundraiser for the Madison County Arts Council with food vendors, art booths, and, of course, bluegrass and old time music. The festival now takes place on the grounds of the Hot Springs Resort and Spa.
The weather would be as good as it gets for June. I arrived a bit later than the 10am start time because I made an unplanned stop near Madison, so a crowd had already set up close to the stage. I decided to check out the red caboose by the road first. A quick search after I got home documented this was once a caboose owned by the Norfolk and Southern Railway.
The Festival Before setting up my chair in front of the stage, I walked around the artist vendor area.
I took some lousy cell pho…

Another visit to Rocky Bottom Gorge Falls

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Back in February and March, I visited Rocky Bottom in northern Pickens County along U.S. 178 to explore old logging roads and waterfalls, but an area that big can't be thoroughly explored in one day. This time I went back to explore more of the area in Rocky Bottom I've explored about a year ago, Spencers Alley and Hunter Camp Road.

I parked off the side of a wide part of Spencers Alley near a green gate, now open for the season. I spent most of the late morning to mid-afternoon hiking down old logging roads and whacking my way though thorny patches of blackberry vines.

After returning to my car and relaxing a while, I found I still had time to visit a section of Rocky Bottom Creek containing one of my favorite obscure waterfalls: Rocky Bottom Gorge Falls.

I visited this same waterfall back in April 2018. I took the same way I found back then to reach Rocky Bottom Creek, a short distance downstream from an old dam I found back in March. This area also happens to just downstre…

The new same old blog

Howdy readers,
I've been posting to this blog since 2011, and for some time I've wanted to change the website's name to something more descriptive of what this blog is all about: taking photos of waterfalls, old buildings, cemeteries, and anything else I find interesting in the Upstate of South Carolina, Western North Carolina, and surrounding areas.

I changed the name of my blog from "Outdoors In Upstate South Carolina" to "Mark's Photo Travels" several years ago because I felt the new name better described what this blog is about. But I couldn't figure out at the time how to change my blog's website name without breaking the many links to my posts I can see in Google Webmaster Tools and from the Facebook links that show up in my Blogger dashboard from time to time. The number of links to my blog posts has naturally increased since then.

I recently figured out a relatively painless way to make the transition. Unnecessary details follow! I e…

Ramble around Rocky Bottom

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A few weeks ago, I went out to Rocky Bottom to visit the Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve. I had wanted to find a path down to the creek so I could explore and see if I could some waterfalls. I didn't find a path, even after I had been studying old aerial maps to find logging roads, and I wanted to try one more time.

Once again I parked in the Foothills Trail parking access area. I expected the parking access to empty like last time, but to my surprise it wasn't.
I hiked down the road to where a satellite view showed what may have been some old logging roads, but I found nothing but forest. So I went back to my car and parked near the gate to the trailhead for the Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve. These photos are from my most recent visit:
I found a spot where I thought an old logging road may have once branched off from the trail. If there was a logging road, it didn't go far. I did find an old rusting mattress box spring and some old cans of Johnson's Glo Coat floo…