Hubby and I planned on going to SC for Valentine’s Day. It’s been, I think last Valentines since we had a regular actual dinner date, but anybody can do those 🙂
His neck and back had been horrible for well over a week. He has bone spurs, arthritis, has broken ribs and vertebra and has done jobs too big for one man alone, for far too long. He hurts daily but a few times a year he becomes basically immobile from the pain. He can go to the chiropractor but even if they do put it back in place, which only happens about 1/3 of the time, his knotted muscles pull it right back out. Even though it was penciled in that we’d do something, of course, I told him we could take a rain check. (Funny with all the rain right?) But, he is tired of being cooped up, and decided he could walk in the woods, so we went ahead and went goofing off.
We left at a leisurely 9am so I had time to drink my pot of coffee. I also fixed my hair with a ton of goop in it, trying to keep from getting frizzy for our date. When the curling iron hit my neck and sizzled a red hickey in it. Not the kind of hickey most probably get on Valentines 🙂
It was finally forecast to not be raining but with that came cooler temps. As in the 30’s when we headed out. Not being great with directions, I picked 3 or 4 places in SC knowing it’d be warmer there and 40’s sounded better than 30’s especially for him not to be extra tense from being cold. He is bothered by the cold a lot more than I am.
The first place we passed was the road to the Sassafrass Mountain Tower. I’ve been there before and I preferred to get to the waterfalls first before the high noon sunlight was overhead, and to let the temps go up a bit at SC highest point.
We pulled in a gas station so I could use the restroom and he went in to get us a snack. My Valentine’s chocolate was a Snickers. Way better than the cream-filled majority you get in a heart chocolate package.
Issaqueena Falls was our first stop and I realized my shirt was likely going to be too warm. We went to the overlook, which is easy to walk to, then down to the bottom. I made myself nauseous coming back up and we had to sit for a bit. Going uphill takes all my air but at least I don’t feel like I’m going to lose my footing like I do going downhill. That is a beautiful waterfall. I know SC has gotten lots of rain too and I’m guessing that was true on how much water was coming over. I spotted trout lilies and little purple flowers, so spring is near.
The Stumphouse Tunnel where Clemson made Blue Cheese in 1951 was just down the road. It is a tunnel from the unfinished railroad cut into Stumphouse Mountian and is the largest of the 3 started before the Civil War by Blue Ridge Rail Road for a line back in 1853 and halted in 1859. The longest section of this tunnel is 1600′ long, 25′ high and 17′ wide. After we were in the tunnel, I learned the flashlight I brought was not very bright. There was lots of water running along the sides and dripping in the dark tunnel. I wanted to walk to the end but I really don’t like that feeling from being underground in the dark and wet, with likely bats above us. We got to the end and there was a gate across before the tunnel stopped.
I was shocked at how great a photo my Pixel 4 got on night mode way back at the end of the tunnel. I sure couldn’t see all that it did! Then I held my cell up to the gate and took a photo with night mode. I couldn’t see any of that with my eyes. The last two are after we turned around and were headed back to the outside sun.
We went to Yellow Branch Falls afterward. I really need to read these descriptions before we leave the house. We sat in the parking lot eating a few crackers before the 3-mile walk where I read there were 3 water crossings. Some of those would’ve been rock hops but most all the rocks were underwater. Here are the crossings.
My boots are obviously water-resistant, not waterproof. So wet boots, socks, and feet right off the bat because most of the crossings were in the first part of the hike. There were so many large trees down and several crossed the trail, even spanning the ravine we walked beside. I can only imagine how high those winds were there. I swear it was longer than a mile and a half to the falls and it felt like they guessed wrong on the temps. I was wet from the shins down and I was starting to sweat from being too hot. Not an ideal Valentine date. I asked hubby if he’d warmed up enough to give me his t-shirt he had on over his long johns. I’ve never stripped down to my bra on a trail before but I stood next to a big tree and took off my long-sleeved warm top and put on his t-shirt. Now he has literally given me the shirt off his back. 🙂
Yellow Branch Falls was beautiful. It is one of those waterfalls where the path has up and downs both ways. When we got to the falls there was a nice couple already on the rocks in front of it. While I waited for a clear people-free shot, another group of people came up with a dog and I finally lost hope of getting a photo without the 3 people and dog all over the rocks right in front of the large waterfall. This is two shots combined in Photoshop to remove them. At the base of the falls, there was a tree with a carved prom date request and a bit farther downstream there was another little fall. I would’ve loved to get out in the water with my larger tripod and get a shot of both falls but one I didn’t carry my tripod for a mid-day shot and two, it didn’t look like the people were ever going to move.
We passed several signs telling us about other waterfalls on Hwy 107 but we were both done for the day unless we passed a roadside spot. We ended up in Cashiers and the great little BBQ place had closed down. Hubby has celiac so finding a place to eat isn’t always the easiest. We picked Chile Loco, a Mexican place for Linner, (that other in-between meal like brunch but between lunch and dinner). It was good, although they fry their corn chips so hubby couldn’t eat those while we waited on the food because we couldn’t know if they were fried in the same grease as gluten-containing foods. My chimichanga was really good after I got all the soapy tasting cilantro off. Hubby liked his corn tacos.
So that’s how my 31st Valentine’s day went with my love. How was yours?
Thankfully I’m done with my part of the year-end paperwork until hubby request something I’ve forgotten. I swear, I am really going to try to keep up with that stuff monthly this year. Although we did just decide to start seriously looking for land to build our final home on. Our wish list is pretty extensive. We may be looking for a very long time. We’ve been in this last house now for over 3 years and we only planned on it being a 2 year home. Not that we’re picky or anything 🙂 but we are looking for land, that will be our last build and we’d settle down. I mean we can’t physically keep building ourselves.
Not too peopley
Not too far out away from family, grocery, medical, Lowes
Not billy goat steep of just plain flat
Not in a valley or with too much road frontage
With natural gas, internet, and a good cell signal
Stream, waterfall or awesome view would be great
Rock outcroppings and wooded with hardwoods, not just pines
Not too far on a long dirt road
Not near the interstate or beside active orchards
Not under big power lines, cell towers, or near an interstate
It could have a small house on the fringes if there was enough land, but not in the prime building spot away from the road…..in our price range
No really, quit laughing, we could find it It doesn’t hurt to dream big so I thought I’d throw this out there. Who knows who might know of something that has been in a family forever here in WNC, not listed yet with a realtor since we’ve can look at those on our own. It should come as no surprise we’ve been looking for years but when it’s going to be your final home this side of Heaven, well, we can’t help but be picky.
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I don’t like “soapy” cilantro either! Sounds like a great day.
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That was a Valentine’s Day and a half! Bet you slept well.
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My thighs were the worst from that trip… those big steps back up from the falls made it hard to do stairs for several days. So worth it though. 🙂
Is the trail to the bottom of issaqueena falls repaired? It was steep roots and rocks when I went years ago. Love that idea photoshop out the people! I’ll have to learn photoshop!
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There’s a trail? Nope, steep rocks and roots with lots of big steps that made my thighs scream. BTW a tripod was used to take several shots without moving the camera. That makes it easier and more lifelike to get people out and the pic really show the waterfall the way it is, instead of guessed cloning from PS. It reminded me in parts of Eastatoe.
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