The trek up to Clingman’s dome was some of the most pleasant hiking I’ve ever experienced. It was about 68 degrees, overcast, and every now and then a very slight mist would past through. The scenery and hiking trails were beautiful and had new sites at every bend.
When we reached the summit, we were higher than every mountain around us. Nothing in any direction could limit our site.
A storm rolled in, and we began to head back down. But not before I took one of my favorite photos from the trip.
This photo captures the namesake of the Smoky Mountains.
We decided we wanted to see some waterfalls. As Louisianians, any waterfall is impressive, and Grotto Falls did not disappoint. The clear pools of water and boulders to climb were plenty to keep our minds impressed.
This abandoned water mill was a nice treat on our way out. I snapped this shot of the tread.
We were lucky to stumbled across what is locally called the Midnight Waterhole.
After a day of ziplining, we made friends with the zipline workers who later showed us this hidden gem off the beaten trail. A cozy little tourist-free waterfall with a pool deep enough to jump off into.
Ahead of the falls I found some nicely flowing water over some rockbeds and snapped a few photos.
I also spotted a timber rattlesnake hiding in the brush.
We’d already seen a few waterfalls but we still wanted to hike. So we took the time to check out Lorel Falls. Along the way I came across a few noteworthy sites.
But my favorite part of this hike by far was seeing a mother bear and her cubs. They were so high up in the tree it was hard to snap a photo, but I managed a few just to prove the story.
Our horseback riding was a fun and unique experience. There’s not much else to say, so here’s some photos.
I’m riding my bike when I see two guys working on an awesome-looking Formula something looking racecar. I stopped to chat with them and learned they’re engineers Brady Fontenot and Andrew Dixon with ULL’s Formula SAE racing.
And as it turns out, it was my lucky day. They took it out to Cajun Field to test the fuel injection and suspension (let’s be honest, they just wanted to drive the thing). I was able to take a bunch of photos while we were out there and had the chance to chat with Andrew and Brady for a while. Really cool guys with an awesome racecar.
SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers. It’s a Formula racing league for college level engineers and driver. The max cc is 710cc but 600cc engines are most common.
UL Lafayette’s Formula SAE Racecar
I’m no engineer, so I’m only going off what I was told! But it’s really interesting!
The ULL car was built from the engine of a CBR 600cc motorcycle. The motorcycle clutch and shifter have been brought together in the cockpit, and is handled somewhat like other Formula style shifters. You can see the motorcycle chain at the back of the car too.
We went over to the abandoned Holy Rosary Institute in Lafayette, Louisiana to take some photos. The first place we checked out was the abandoned gym.
After stepping over some rubbish, the interior of the gym was still pretty open. The windows were still open and so we had a good view of the entire place. The basketball court had begun to buckle in the heat, and most of the wooden interior was rotten. The bleachers were old and creaky but we could still walk on them.
The equipment rooms were completely packed with old junk, so we left it alone and stuck to the gym which was interesting enough.
Next we walked around the campus where we found mostly boarded up hallways and classrooms. But some of the rooms were not locked off, so we were able to see what time can really do to a place. We found a few classrooms, a greenroom, and some other cool stuff.
There was no way to explore the interior of the school. All doors were either boarded shut or naturally overgrown. Many of the windows were blown out but even if we crawled through them, the bottom floor was a heaping pile of rubbish from each floor having collapsed almost completely. But that was no obstacle. The back wall of the school was completely overgrown with vines and was a sight in itself.
Everything will look like this someday. Beautiful.
The thing about exploring abandoned property is that you have to be courageous and stupid enough to actually do it. So this is the story about the day when I convinced my most courageous friends to go along with me to an abandoned factory in Eunice, Louisiana.
I was told about this spooky old abandoned factory/office in Eunice, Louisiana, a short drive from where I live. I was hyped by tales of giant old buildings and dangerously dark corridors. It worked.
A few days later it was the weekend and I was on my way to Eunice with a couple of friends and our cameras.
It wasn’t long before we found ourselves in front of a spooky old building with a forest growing out of it and 30+ years of no health code inspections. So naturally we dove head first inside of the totally safe building.
The inside was much like a cave. Dark and wet. Unless you’re near an entrance, the interior was pitch black. We used flashlights to see where we were going. And much like a cave, there were constant sounds of distant streams of water everywhere — the walls, the ceiling, everywhere. It was extremely eerie.
One of my favorite places inside was near the outdoor break area. Mother nature had begun to reclaim the courtyard and found her way indoors as well.
It wasn’t long before the pitch-black horror vibe of the building’s interior encouraged us to leave. We left to check out the junk yard next door.
The junkyard wasn’t as thrilling as a cave building but it still had some interesting views. We didn’t stay too long. Broken car here. Broken car there.