Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sweetwater Ramble

I've been down in Georgia the last few weeks for work.  My days were busy, but I got a few hours off over the weekend for a nice hike.  I went to Sweetwater Creek State Park to get some fresh air.  It was just above freezing when I started, but the day was going to warm into the 50's.

I decided to follow along the river first.  Back home we were sitting well below freezing - here there was a hint of Spring around the corner.

Sweetwater Creek is a mix of slow water and rapids.  The trail was well marked, and I saw quite a few people enjoying the day.

The surrounding forest was a mix of hardwoods and pines.  I saw titmice, chickadees, robins and woodpeckers all about.

Hiking downstream I came across a straight side channel in the river.  It was the remnant of an old mill race.

One could see where the mill race was created by the hands of man.  I was looking forward to seeing the ruins of the mill which must be close...

The river started to drop more rapidly.

I cam across the old mill works.  These were the remains of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company (it was originally known as the Sweetwater Manufacturing Company).  It was a 5 story cloth and yarn factory.  It started production in late 1849, but was burnt down by Northern troops during the American Civil War in 1864.

 The mill race entered the building through the arched opening evident on the left of the building.  The brickwork is now crumbling, and much of the site is surrounded by fencing.

I continued to follow the river.  It still dropped rapidly.  The trail was a little 'greasy' in spots as it was still wet from recent rains.  It felt good to sit by the river, listen to the sound of running water, and feel the bright sun on my face.

The trail turned and headed uphill.  As I climbed up, I could here the river get quieter.  I stopped and looked down the slope.  It reminded my of mid-April back along the Quabog River by my boyhood home in Massachusetts.  My siblings and I would get in the car with our Father just before the start of trout season, checking out the river.  The warming conditions and hint of Spring around the corner reminded me of being with my Dad nearly 40 years ago...

As the trail wound around, it passed over one hill.  Now, I could not hear the river.  I kept hiking for another mile or two.  It was great to be outside.

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