Ellicott's Rock

The other day I was looking over one of my topo maps and I saw written in small text, "Ellicott Rock." So I think to myself, "That sounds like something. Maybe I should check it out." There are several ways to get to Ellicott's Rock, one of which is a four mile hike along the Chatooga River. Considering that the Chatooga is a beautiful river (and that the presence of banjo picking hillbillies is way overstated) that's the route I took. Along the way there were a couple of signs indicating I was indeed heading the right direction but nothing explaining what Ellicott's Rock is. I assumed I would find some sort of large boulder at the top of a knob with a cool view of the river. Well at one point, I looked at the time and realized I should be there at any moment but nothing indicated that I was climbing or that the terrain was about to lead me to something different. About two minutes later I arrived at a sign that said "Ellicot Rock." Oddly though, the sign pointed straight into the river. Puzzled, I ate lunch at a nearby campsite and headed home where my good pal Google was able to shed some light on the issue for me. (The image to the left above is not Ellicott's Rock. It's located on a side trail to Spoonauger falls.)

If I had done my research ahead of time, I would have discovered that Ellicot's Rock is the point at which North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina converge. It was named after Andrew Ellicot a surveyor who was hired in 1811 to determine the border between Georgia and North Carolina. I'll let Wikipedia tell the rest of the story:

Two years later commissioners representing South Carolina and North Carolina marked a large rock along the the Chattooga River bank with the inscription "Lat 35 AD 1813 NC + S.C." as the juncture where the South Carolina and North Carolina state lines joined. The rock marked by the S.C. and N.C. commissioners in 1813, rather than the rock marked by Ellicott in 1811, is usually called Ellicott's Rock. This is commonly accepted as the point where the boundary lines of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia join.

There are two versions in print on the distance between the two rocks. One is that Ellicott's original rock was 500 ft upstream.[1] In the other story, the rocks are much closer. De Hart's South Carolina Trails guide said that they are a "few feet apart."[2] In the North Carolina trail guide, he said Commissioner Rock is "ten feet downstream".[3]

This rock was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and is located in Ellicott Rock Wilderness. The South Carolina Department of Archives and History has additional information,[4] and copies of the nomination forms.[5]

(Image from Wikipedia.)

Although I missed out on the destination, the journey was fantastic (and if given a choice between the two, that's how I prefer it).

Click here for an on-line trail map to Ellicott's Rock.

UPDATE: (9/8/09)

Return to Ellicott's Rock.  This past weekend I returned with my friends Tim and Nathan. We had trouble finding the "N G" pictured above but we do think we found the USGS benchmark on a boulder in the middle of the river.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Okay I finally found it, only because there was another guy there who showed me where to look. You have to jump down to the river and hang onto the rhodos while trying not to fall in to see the initials.

Distance from downtown Greenville to trailhead: 66 miles.

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Stumphouse Tunnel - Ghost Hunting on Christmas Eve

Stumphouse Tunnel is a failed engineering feat leftover from the mid-19th century. The tunnel was to be part of a rail line that ran from Charleston to Ohio. Landslides caused the project to be abandoned in 1859, but it's now open to the public.

The tunnel is dark and a bit creepy especially on a rainy afternoon. Be sure to take a good flashlight and watch out for the ghosts. They're not hard to locate. The tunnel is supposedly haunted by Cherokee indians and former tunnel workers. It's rumored that if you toss a ball in the tunnel at night, it will be tossed back to you. (That's a fairly convenient rumor since the place closes at 5:00 making it difficult to test.)

My flashlight went dead as soon as I entered the tunnel so I went back to the car to grab a headlamp and more batteries for my Maglight. Even with both lights, it was very difficult to see inside the tunnel.

As you can see from the image below, I managed to capture some interesting apparitions in the tunnel. I believe this is what ghost hunters often refer to as "ectoplasma," otherwise known as a camera flash reflecting on fog. (Click on the image for a larger view.) The pentagram graffiti would be a bit more convincing if the pseudo-satanists hadn't painted it upside down.

I also managed to capture a number "ghostly orbs" as they are referred to over at GhostWeb.com otherwise known as a camera flash reflecting on raindrops. But this, combined with the eery echoes (a.k.a. moans), will certainly satisfy any true believing ghost hunter.

While there be sure to check out Issaqueena Falls.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 51 miles.

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Charles Bunion

Charles Bunion is a large rock offering a magnificent view of the Smoky Mountains. It is accessible via the Appalachian Trail. The quickest route to Charlie is from Hwy 441 at Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It's a five mile hike one way.

If you enjoy this blog, you might enjoy Ron Rash's latest novel Serena. The story is a fascinating drama that takes place in many of the places mentioned here.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 123 miles.

Map to trailhead at Newfound Gap.

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Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

Distance from downtown Greenville: 92 miles

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