Tag Archives: Log Cabin Life

Where’s The Damn Waterfall? (A true story of bumbling about in the woods).

Kim and I took a nice country drive to Laurel Creek Falls today. At least we thought we were at the right place. We pulled off the road at an obvious parking space, but there were no falls. We poked around and found an extremely steep path down to the stream’s edge. It was well worn, and there was nothing else obvious in the area. Kim could not climb down. I went ahead and scrambled down the rocks and tree roots to the bottom.

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I soon ran out of dirt to step on and resorted to rock hopping, until I came to an intersection in the stream. One branch ran under the road.

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I didn’t want to get my shoes soaked so I didn’t take that route. Instead, I climbed up the hill by the side of the bridge. It was so steep I almost didn’t make it, but there was a handy tree root right where I needed it.

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I crossed the road and saw two posts sunk in the ground for no particular reason. I thought they were trail markers. The “trail” turned out to be almost completely overgown, but I picked my way to a cliff overlooking the stream. IMG_0794

I walked on mossy slick boulders and used hanging vines to climb to the next higher rock. This was a dead end. I thought that was the falls. Climbing back up and out was even more difficult. I was seriously winded when I made it back to the road. The car was only a few hundred feet away though!

Just as I was about to cross back over the road, I saw a nice clean trail cut into the woods almost directly across from the parking area. DOH! After resting a few minutes, Kim and I returned to the trail and made an easy hike to a better section of the falls.

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Your grandma could have made this hike in street shoes. I felt pretty dumb, but at least we found what we were looking for. Beautiful spot. No other people around, but plenty of evidence that folks frequent these falls.

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Panties – for example.

Laurel Creek Falls are less than ten miles from our cabin. The main falls is only a few hundred yards off the road, but once you’re back there it’s rugged country.

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It’s well worth the visit, just make sure you find the right trail, so you don’t go bumbling about the woods like I did!

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Popcorn Sutton

Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton (October 5, 1946 – March 16, 2009) was an American Appalachian moonshiner and bootlegger. Born in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, he grew up, lived, and died in the rural areas around Maggie Valley and nearby Cocke County, TennesseeHe wrote a self-published autobiographical guide to moonshining production, self-produced a home video depicting his moonshining activities, and was later the subject of several documentaries, including one that received a Regional Emmy Award.

Sutton committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in March 2009, aged 62, rather than report to federal prison after being convicted of offenses related to moonshining and illegal firearm possession. Since his death, a new company and associated whiskey brand have been named after him.

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“Jesus turned the water into wine, I turned it into likker.”

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Sutton had a long career making moonshine and bootlegging. Sutton said he considered moonshine production a legitimate part of his heritage, as he was a Scots-Irish American and descended from a long line of moonshiners. In the 1960s or 1970s, Sutton was given the nickname of “Popcorn” after his frustrated attack on a bar’s faulty popcorn vending machine with a pool cue. Before his rise to fame at around 60 years of age, he had been in trouble with the law several times, but had avoided prison sentences. He was convicted in 1974 of selling untaxed liquor and in 1981 and 1985 on charges of possessing controlled substancesand assault with a deadly weapon, but he received only probation sentences in those cases.

He was a short, skinny fella, who always wore his hat – that was kind of his claim to fame, his hat that he always wore. And his bib overalls – he always wore bib overalls. Even when he came to federal court, he was wearing bib overalls. He was a friendly fellow, and of course every time you would talk to him, he would say, “Ray, I’ve run my last run of moonshine, I’m not gonna do it anymore, I’m just getting too old to be doing this stuff.”

— Radio reporter Ray Snader on “Popcorn” Sutton, 2009
He appeared in various documentaries and feature films including Mountain Talk, and This is the Last Dam Run of Likker I’ll Ever Make. In 2007, a fire on Sutton’s property in Parrottsville led to firefighters discovering 650 gallons of untaxed alcohol there, for which he was convicted and put on probation again by Cocke County authorities.
In March 2008, Sutton told an undercover federal officer that he had 500 gallons of moonshine in Tennessee and another 400 gallons in Maggie Valley that he was ready to sell. This led to a raid of his property by the ATF, led by Jim Cavanaugh of Waco siege notoriety, In January 2009, Sutton, who had used a public defender as his attorney in the case and had pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 18 months in a federal prison for illegally distilling spirits and possession of a firearm as a felon (a .38-caliber handgun). Sutton, 62 and recently diagnosed with cancer, asked the U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer to allow him to serve his sentence under house arrest, and several petitions were made by others requesting that his sentence be reduced or commuted, but this time to no avail. The judge noted that Sutton was still under probation in Tennessee at the time of the federal raid, and said that putting a man on probation again after being convicted five times of various crimes would not serve the community interest. He also noted Sutton’s appearances on film surrounded by firearms and demonstrating how to make illegal moonshine. He said he had considered a harsher sentence of 24 months, but had decided on 18 months after considering Sutton’s age and medical condition.
Sutton committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning on March 16, 2009, apparently to avoid a federal prison term due to begin a few days later. His wife Pam, whom he had married about two years before his death, returned home from running errands and discovered her husband in his green Ford Fairmont (which was still running) at the rear of their property in Parrottsville, Tennessee. Mrs. Sutton said, “He called it his three-jug car because he gave three jugs of liquor for it.” His daughter said he had told her in advance that he would commit suicide rather than go to jail, adding that “the strength to die the way he lived: according to his own wishes and no one else’s.”
A conventional grave marker was used the head of Sutton’s grave, reading “Marvin Popcorn Sutton / Ex-Moonshiner / October 5, 1946 / March 16, 2009”. He had also prepared a footstone in advance for his gravesite, and for years he had kept it by his front porch and had kept his casket ready in his living room. The epitaph on his footstone reads “Popcorn Said Fuck You“.

A bottle of the namesake whiskey

On November 9, 2010, Hank Williams Jr. announced his partnership with J&M Concepts LLC and widow Pam Sutton to distill and distribute a brand of whiskey named after Sutton that was asserted to follow his legacy.

They were quickly sued by Jack Daniels due to the similarity of the bottle and labeling. The two parties settled out of court. The terms were not disclosed, but the bottle changed.

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I’m sure this stuff is available near me. I’ll have to give it a try. Cheers Popcorn!

Linville Falls

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Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway lies Linville Falls. The hike to the falls is a moderate one, according to the park service. It turned out to be a bit difficult for us flatlanders. Jeez, we’re out of shape and have no mountain legs whatsoever.

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The Upper Falls is the first viewing point along the trail.

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From there it’s up, up, and up to see the falls from the highest vantage point.

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We got quite the workout climbing to the top and checking out the different overlooks along the way. Coming back down was much easier. I wanted to go down to the base of the falls, but didn’t want to climb back out, so we skipped it.

The drive from our cabin was forty minutes and quite scenic. The hiking part was no walk on the beach, but well worth it.

When we got to Florida, I gained an interest in Florida history, the Everglades, etc. Now that we’re in North Carolina, I have a sudden interest in waterfalls! Look for more waterfall posts in the future, but not too soon. I need time to recuperate.

The Porch

Our first post at Creekside Musings was about the Creek. We sit on our porch and watch the little brook and listen to it babble by. We’ve made the porch into a pretty cool hangout spot.

I didn’t want Kim to miss the old lounge area we had on Leap of Faith.

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We started stacking wood today. This is about 1/4 of the pile we had delivered.

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The porch runs the length of the house, about 32 feet. It’s 8 feet deep with an additional two feet of overhang. We can sit out here in the rain without getting wet.

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And of course, we view and listen to the creek all day long.

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The Creek

The little stream running through and around the property was a big plus when we decided to move into a log cabin.

Welcome to the new blog! (Formerly Quityourjobandliveonaboat.com)

The following pictures were all taken within a few hundred yards of our door. We’ll explore the interior of the cabin in a future post. Today, we walk the creekside.

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It’s a real pleasure to listen to the proverbial babbling brook. I could sit and watch it all day.