On a crisp South Carolina morning, after a quick workout at the gym, Bill and I headed toward Pickens, SC to find the Doodle Trail. Completed in 2015, this paved 7.3 mile trail connects the towns of Pickens and Easley in the northwestern corner of South Carolina. Why is it called the “Doodle Trail” you ask? The trail was constructed on the rail bed of a freight and passenger train that traveled between the two towns in the late 1890’s. The train, however, was unable to turn around, therefore it ran forward and then backward, similar to a doodlebug!
What an enjoyable trail! Practically empty on a Wednesday, the trail meandered through abandoned industrial sites, in and out of neighborhoods and over wooden bridges, all the while surrounded by trees of changing colors and kudzu. Kudzu is a fast-growing coiling Japanese vine that literally chokes the life out of native species. Although harmful, it is amazing to see it in large areas as it creeps and crawls and suffocates!
Of course it is natural to compare bike rides with regard to difficulty, elevation and beauty. Bill and I discussed that the trails in Michigan, overall, were more beautiful and actually more challenging. Here on the Doodle Trail, however, the inclines were not as severe, yet they were more gradual and sustained – perhaps even more of a challenge! Our “wildlife” sitings today on the Doodle Trail included not only the expected frisky squirrels, but we also saw an abundance of backyard goats and even spotted a graceful buck leap over the trail right in front of us! Oh and did I mention the banjo music – faint, yet penetrating! Hope to work the Doodle Trail into our winter exercise regimen! Happy Trails! Happy Doodling!