Eva Russel Chandler Heritage Preserve and Beyond

The Eva Russel Chandler Heritage Preserve is a heritage preserve located off Persimmon Ridge Road near Cleveland, SC. The heritage preserve is home to certain rare plants, the ruins of a homestead, and a waterfall, but what really brings me here this visit is the prospect of continuing my search for the ruins of moonshine stills.

Slickum Creek, also called Persimmon Branch, flows through the preserve down through Wildcat Wayside Park, then into the South Saluda River. I had already searched Slickum Creek up to one waterfall short of Heritage Falls, and now I'm back to explore further upstream.

I parked out of the way of the red gate:
then walked around the gate down the trail part of which was once an old dirt road.
I started at the same waterfall where I left off last time.
I bushwacked my way up to the base of Heritage Falls where I already knew some ruins were located. I actually found more ruins than I expected. I found this barrel and a still furnace I already knew were here…

A Visit to the Thermal Belt Rail Trail

Rail trails, and the abandoned railroads they go over, have long been an interest of mine. Rail trails are easy to walk and easy to bicycle since railroad grades were designed to be as small as possible. The closest rail trail to me and most famous (and well trafficked) in this area is the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Encouraged by the popularity of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, other rail trails have since been constructed in the area such as Doodle Trail in Pickens County, Lyman Rail Trail in Lyman, the Mary Black Rail Trail in Spartanburg. I've visited all four of these rail trails before, and enjoyed them all. This time I chose to travel a bigger distance to visit a rail trail in Rutherford County, North Carolina in the process of being upgraded and expanded named the Thermal Belt Rail Trail.

The Thermal Belt Rail Trail is a 7.8 mile rail trail located between Gilkey and Spindale in rural Rutherford County, North Carolina. The trail is currently in the process of being expanded southeast in…