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Monday, September 22, 2014

Boneyard Beaches

Here on the Carpetbagger I spend a lot of time talking about various locations in the South.  One thing that is seemingly missing is the vast amount of natural beauty that exists here.  One may think that I am not a fan of nature, but I assure you this is not the case.  I love nature, visiting natural places and seeing natural things. However, I am not very good a nature photography, as I have previously documented.

Now, that being said, I wanted to take a look at two of my favorite places on the east coast:  Bull's Island and Edisto Island.  Both these islands are off the coast of South Carolina and both feature a fascinating geographical feature:  Boneyard Beaches.

What is a Boneyard Beach?  Simply put, a Boneyard beach is a maritime forest the is being eroded into the ocean.  The Atlantic ocean eats into the forest, stripping away its soil and killing the trees.  This creates a unique environment that is part forest, part swamp, part ocean and part dessert.  The best of all worlds.  It also creates an eerily beautiful beach.

First we take a look at Bull's Island.  This island can only be accessed by boat, which makes it a bit inconvenient to reach, but gives you the possibility to spot a pod of dolphins on the way over.

Again, I wasn't kidding when I said I sucked at nature photography.

Regardless, I am always enamored by dolphins and still feel like I am watching a unicorn when I see them in the wild.

Upon arriving at Bull's island you are treated to some amazingly large Live Oaks.

Bull's Island is not for the weak of heart.  Its a three mile round trip walk to the beach.  Fortunately, you can take a walk through the notorious  Alligator Alley.

And they arn't kidding.  The place is absolutely crawling with gators.

As I have mentioned before.  I am obsessed with gators.

Check out the five different gators in this one shot.

At the end of the trail you finally make it to the breathtaking Boneyard Beach.

As I said, its a fascinating clash of environments.  There are even some cacti growing along the outside of the beach.

But of course, the most fascinating thing is the legions of dead trees littering the beach.

Some sprouting directly out of the Ocean......

Bull's Island also has some of the best shelling I have ever personally seen.  Me and my family were apple to literally grab handfuls of whelk shells and sand dollars. 

We also came across Horseshoe Crab shell as big as a manhole cover.

We would have taken it with us, but it was to giant and smelly.

Now, head about an hour South and you will come to a similarly fascinating environment on Edisto Island.

Edisto is much more accessible then Bull's island, in that you do not need a boat to get there.  You just need to hop in your car and drive it through the breathtaking tunnel of Live Oak trees.

Driving through Edisto on your way to the beach you will note that the island is comprised entirely of small African American churches. 

Sadly, we don't get alligators on Edisto, but the beach at "Botany Bay" is no less amazing.

Unfourtanetly,  this beach is super protected to the point where you are not allowed to remove anything, including sea shells.  This stinks, because there are some amazing shells on the beach.

Unable to take the shells home, visitors take the shells from the beach and use them to decorate the dead wood.

Obsessive Compulsive beach goer take pleasure in lining the shells up into perfect rows on fallen palmetto trunks.

All in all, this is one of the most amazing and tranquil places I have ever been.

Since we are talking about trees, there is another spot of interest heading out of the island.

This mysterious burst of color is known simply as "The Edisto Tree".

For decades this spindly little tree changes decorations every season.  No one knows who is changing the decorations and dressings, but the tree has its own facebook page.  According to the facebook page, the tree enjoys watching Hell's Kitchen and listening to Meatloaf.

Possibly related is this equally mysterious tree dressed as a Hula girl a mile down the road.

The Carpetbagger

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Little Engine that Couldn't

A few days ago I posted about my visit to the Fugitive Crash Site.   During my visit I stumbled across this strange little train in the nearby abandoned rail yard.

At first I thought that she might be associated with the Thomas the Train Engine universe, but that it didn't seem quite right.  Today, I received an inside tip that this train was a specially created "Little Engine that Could" that could be used for special events on the railroad.  Here is some video of the train in action.  Fast forward to 2:39 to see the train in action.

I love the insanely annoying chant of "I thought I could".  Also, the conductor is a really creepy clown!

You have to admit though, there is something about find that after these years that the Little Engine really couldn't and is now rotting in the bushes somewhere is pretty depressing.

The Carpetbagger

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Monday, September 15, 2014

The Fugitive Crash Site

In 1993 film "The Fugitive" has left a lasting impression on the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.  Several key scenes were filmed in Western North Carolina, most notably is the famous scene where the train crashes into a prison bus.  No fancy CGI was used in the creation of this scene.  They did things the old fashion way by having a train smash into a bus and filming it.

Check it out....

 Over 20 years later the wreckage still sits in the small town of Dillsboro, NC.

I had scene the crash site before from a distant. as you can see it by pulling off to the side of the road.

However, after seeing Adam the Woo's adventure video. I wanted to try to get up close and personal with the bus.

Unfortunately, the bus sits next to a train track in a ravine.  I attempted to access the bus by climbing down the ravine, but this ended with me slipping and nearly rolling down the hill into a giant patch of Kudzu.  Briars tor up my arms, so I quickly realized I needed to come up with another plan.   I drove over a nearby bridge and crossed the river to a trailer park on the opposite side, where there was a very cleverly named road.

I decided that to attempt crossing the river to get to the crash site.  I removed my shoes and put my feet in.  I immediately sunk down into the much to my knees.  Apparently I was dealing with some sort of underwater quicksand.  I actually had a few seconds of God's honest panic as I struggled to pull my feet out of the much.  I walked away from the river defeated as I put my socks back on over my mucky toes.   As I was about to drive off and give up I noticed there was actually a small gravel road that actually led directly to the crash site.

There is actually two versions of the bus.  The unsmashed bus that is seen tumbling down the hill in the clip, still in the exact same spot that it lands in.

And of course there is the smashed version resting in front of the train that murdered it.

In a nearby rail yard there were several broken down trains.   As I was leaving I noticed something peeking at me through a train window.

There was an abandoned, strangely anthropomorphic train poking out of the Kudzu.

Oh yeah, and here's a video of me going on and on about some nonsense.

UPDATE: I have discovered the identity of the mysterious blue train.  Check it out HERE.

The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at
And don't forget to check out my Flickr Photostream and my Youtube Page.  You can also follow me on instagram

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pictures of Strangers Taking Pictures of Strangers

On my travels throughout the South I have been working on a sort of miniature photo project.  I like to steal other people's photo ops.  Basically when I see strangers taking pictures of their friends and families at photo spots, I steal a pictures.  Here is my small, but ever growing collection.

Here are some young kids getting their picture taken with a camel in the Southern wonderland of Pigeon Forge, TN.....

And here is a tattooed mother taking pictures of her kids with the famous Chicken Lady at Dollywood.......

And speaking of tourist traps, here is a family enjoying that tackiest place on earth:  South of the Border......

Here are some people taking a long distance shot at Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest in NC......

And a man taking a picture of his lovely girlfriend/wife at Wrightsville Beach on the NC coast.....

Here is another stolen moment on the Icy streets of Washington, DC......

Here is an Indian family taking a picture with a metal Giraffe in Natural Bridge, VA......

Here, a young child poses with a soldier at Castillo De San Marcos in St. Augustine, FL......

And here a family poses with some cowboys, post gunfight at Guntown City in Cave City, KY......

Here a little girl poses with her favorite knight at Medieval Times in Myrtle Beach, SC......

And finally these children pose with the mysterious apocalyptic monument:  The Georgia Guidestones.....

The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at
And don't forget to check out my Flickr Photostream and my Youtube Page.  You can also follow me on facebook and instagram