In the middle of nowhere, deep in the Cherokee Foothills of Upstate South Carolina, stands a 100 year old stone bridge. Getting there is half the adventure as you travel along the Cherokee Parkway past some of the best parks the state has to offer. Once there, the peacefulness of nature surrounds you and whisks you away to a time long ago as you meander along the creek beneath the bridge and admire the simple but sturdy architecture. And then I broke my flip flop, tripped, and fell the ground carrying my camera.
A stone monument near the bridge explains it was built on the state road from Greenville to Asheville in 1820 by Abram Blanding. The bridge is named after Joel Poinsett, the president of public works at the time. This monument is located at the top of the bridge just after crossing the road from the small parking area.
A path crosses the top of the bridge along crumbling walls. It almost feels like a scene out of Robin Hood crossing the bridge on a dirt path surrounded by towering trees. There isn’t a lot of traffic on the two-lane highway leading to this site, so it is often quite and peaceful.
Unofficial paths on either end of the bridge lead down to the creek that runs underneath the stone arch. It’s neat to walk through the archway, a short tunnel maybe six feet long, to the other side of the bridge. But I had different plans: get my feet wet by standing right in the middle of the creek to capture a great photo of the bridge. It was the most interesting angle with rushing water below and the beautiful architecture of the bridge above.
It took me about ten minutes to capture the photo I wanted as I made minor adjustments and repositioned the camera. Finally, with the photo in the can, I began to slosh my feet through the muddy creek to the edge. After packing my gear into my sturdy backpack I started the climb back up the bank, only to have the strap on one of my flip flops pop loose. The front tip of the shoe snagged a root, and down I went to the ground.
At first I thought I had just been clumsy, but when I realized it was a broken shoe all I could do was laugh. These were my favorite pair of shoes to wear; a pair of Croc flip flops I had bought just a year earlier. Crocs had always been so comfortable and reliable with all the walking I do, but I guess they just weren’t meant to be stuck in the water for ten minutes and then immediately used.
I climbed back to my feet, hobbled up the hillside with a broken flip flop, and made it back to my car to change shoes. Before leaving, though, I took a moment to enjoy the quietness of the location. I could not hear sounds of cars or airplanes, barking dogs or screaming kids, nothing man made whatsoever. It was truly peaceful. And then a crack of thunder echoed across the peaceful landscape. It was time for me to leave, but I’m certain one day I’ll be back.