After staking my claim on a campsite, I grabbed my pack, put on my boots & set off to do some exploring.
Next to the boat ramp is a sign saying trail closed. Being the cautiously adventurous sort, I decided I’d go as far as it was safe…
I encountered a bridge that had a bit of wear, but it was passable. The (unnamed) trail was right by the river… it was lush and despite walking very quiet, turtles kept plopping water left and right.
There was quite a bit of evidence of recent use – fishing lures, trash, yellow Powerade *they don’t make yellow Powerade. A few trees down, some had been cut, some had rotted, others were easily hopped over.There were a number of spur trails, which I learned were either to circumvent trees down, or, if it headed toward river, it was to a fishing spot. *With one exception… more on that later.
The trail wasn’t well-blazed, but it was easy enough to follow.I encountered a tiny section of trail that was noticeably eroded. Not dangerous, but you had to watch your step for about 5 feet.
Random views along the trail:
And before I knew it… I see an opening to brick structures and realize I’m at Scull Shoals! It was easy flat .95 miles from the campsite. I wish I had read up more on history of Scull Shoals before arriving. There is a little board with a (very) brief history of the area near the picnic tables.Read up more at http://goo.gl/If1dk
The area is immense with magestic oaks and open areas to walk.It’s amazing to be able to walk among the history here… to see where the power plant was,
the blacksmith, the manager’s home, a Civil War Fort etc were… more than 150 years ago. You can touch the bricks & stones which were chiseled to build the general store.These are the shots most people know of Scull Shoals:
Everything is completely accessible, except a fence around the main brick structure. I almost tripped over this:
On the river, the remains of the bridge are evident.
I ended up spending the following day on this rock to sun & watch for critters. I was not disappointed, there is a beaver lodge under construction nearby. I listened to a beaver heave and ho and huff and grunt and slap his tail for several hours. I finally did see his tail (but the pic was too blurred).
While enjoying the sun, the beaver and the view,I encountered several locals – one family said they were related to Govenor Gray, who had a home across the river. And I met these guys… the dog was named “Red” and was probably smarter than all of them combined. 2 man boat. 3 men. 1 dog. 1 case of BudLight. And we both know there weren’t any lifejackets. I hope Red could swim.
On the way back, at the “big bridge”, I was staring down, looking at the paw prints (possums, feral hogs). I decided to take the spur trail to explore because I was hearing water rushing… like a waterfall. I discovered an old stone dam. I didn’t get too close because I was in shorts & there was a lot of thorns. I was a bit concerned about what critters lived in these holesHeading back across the first bridge, I was peeking around for snakes, when lo and behold I see this fella! (I have video that is awesome but need to compress)
Here’s the GPX file of entire track from campsite to Scull Shoals and back: