Friday, December 27, 2013

Sope Creek (again)

It's Christmas! Or at least it was a few days ago. Kathryn, the girls, and my parents are all in town. Woohoo! On Christmas day Kathryn and I went for a little walk around Sope Creek, my new favorite hangout.

I'd ridden all the bike trails a few days earlier and our walk gave me the chance to check out the hiking trails too. Oh, man, was there stuff to see...

Sope Creek Pulp Mill Ruins

Look at that!

Kathryn at Sope Creek Pulp Mill Ruins

Kathryn really liked it.

Apparently those are the ruins of a the pulp mill that was part of a larger paper mill complex along picturesque Sope Creek.

Kathryn at Sope Creek Near Paper Mill Road

We walked all around the ruins. They were something to see.

Nearby I found a collapsed chimney too.

Collapsed Chimney Near Sope Creek Pulp Mill Ruins

It's funny. Any other day, finding a collapsed chimney in the middle of the woods would be fairly exciting but after all those ruins, it wasn't as amazing as usual.

We explored the trails themselves for a while. Some of them looked brand new. I wonder if they were built when the bike trails were. If not, they've sure held up well over the years. Others were not so great. One appeared to have been paved at some point. There was a chunk of concrete still embedded in the ground, with a tire track in it. Weird.

Down at the creek we saw retaining walls on the other side, and downstream caught a glimpse of even more ruins.

Sope Creek With Retaining Walls

We hastily made our way over and were even more amazed by what we saw there.

First there was this ruin, which, according to stuff I've read since our little hike, might have been the oil room for the mill.

Sope Creek Oil Room Ruins

Then there was the paper mill proper.

Sope Creek Paper Mill Ruins 1 Sope Creek Paper Mill Ruins 2


They apparently made paper there for Confederate currency.


Me and Kathryn at Sope Creek Paper Mill Ruins

A crude trail led down to a small feeder creek beyond the mill. It was a little sketchy but we were able to cross and make our way down to Sope Creek itself.

Sope Creek Near Paper Mill Ruins

The trail ended there though and we didn't go any further.

On the way back though, I got a good look at the pilings that held up the old raceway.

Sope Creek Paper Mill Raceway Ruins

Imagine a long half-pipe sitting on top of those pilings, redirecting some amount of water from the creek to the waterwheel running the mill. There's an old mill up in Roswell on Vickery Creek with part of its raceway intact.

On the way back to the car Kathryn noticed a little island in the middle of the creek with a tree growing on it and I was like "Of course I can get to it..." I saw exactly the set of rocks I needed to hop across. But I guess my rock hopping skills are a little rusty because one of the rocks moved and I ended up soaking my feet in the creek both on the way to the island, and on a different rock on the way back from it. All right! I guess ripping singletrack on the bike isn't the only thing I need to work on.

We had a great walk, and a great time in general. Cool place. We'll be back.

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