When Is It Too Rough To Rough It?

We checked off five more state parks in June on our quest to visit all forty-seven and become “Ultimate Outsiders”.  That name in itself is humorous because we are traveling in a campervan, have yet to light a campfire, and generally put the bug screens up and stay inside the van when we camp at a park!  (You know what I think of gnats.) 

Yet many of our friends would say we are ‘roughing it’.  Annie would agree. 


We don’t worry too much about forgetting something we might need on a trip.  Years ago people would say “there’s always a Wal-Mart nearby” but the more common thought today seems to be that there is ALWAYS a Dollar General nearby.  On our last trip we tallied thirteen in two days.  (I’m not sure that’s much different from the seven we saw in a two hour trip from our home to Pelzer SC a few months ago.)


The real danger in ‘roughing it’ for us is the temperature.  We’ve managed to work out ways to survive mildly freezing temperatures but without an air conditioner the thought of 100+ degrees (or even 90) doesn’t excite us.  As I learned growing up in South Texas (with no air conditioning), a fan blowing hot air is still going to feel like hot air no matter how hard it blows or how close you get to it!


But the main point of this trip was to continue visiting state parks.  The first was King’s Mountain which had a living history farm as one of its offerings.  It was more like a ‘stagnant’ living history farm since nothing was happening and apparently doesn’t until November.  Still, the log cabins and barns were impressive. 

The next destination was Landsford Canal State Park.


Landsford was the main reason for this trip at this time.  It is host to a huge population of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies that grow in the Catawba River.  Back in the early 1800s a canal was constructed so boats could bypass the rocky shoals for a few miles.  It operated until the railroad was introduced.  To see the lilies you had to walk three quarter miles along the river to an observation deck.  We didn’t know this.  We took the canal trail through the woods which eventually intersected with the river trail.  But we didn’t know if we had missed anything along the way; the couple we asked was about to give up because they thought the lilies were bloomed out.  We pushed on a few hundred yards and were treated to an expansive display of lilies in the river.  Next time we should read the maps more closely!  We made it back to the van just as it started to rain.


Feeling like we had earned some ice cream, we tried to find some in nearby Lancaster but had to settle for a frosty from Wendy’s. (That was disappointing.)  I finished mine just as we turned in to Andrew Jackson State Park where we had a camping reservation.


The folks at all the parks have been so friendly and helpful—I just can’t say it enough.  At this one, they not only allowed me to book a SINGLE night rather than the required two night minimum, but then when the weather threatened to be a rainout they moved a few things around and allowed us to camp a day earlier than planned.  That evening we left a worn-out dog in the van and took a short stroll along the lake.  I took photos of a couple kayakers headed to shore and shared them with them.  They were impressed with the photos as much as we were with their collapsible kayaks.


The next morning we first hit Lake Wateree SP.  The woman at the front gate was classic Southern with her accent, phrases, and hospitality.  We did a short hike through the woods but couldn’t get out to the lake shoreline like we wanted.  Made it back to the van and it started to rain.  (We’re so lucky!).  We cut that visit short and headed to our final park of the trip.


Chester State Park offers a 27-hole disc golf course.  But we left our Frisbees at home so we just focused on walking beside the lake to a boathouse and bridge.  It was evident several improvements had recently been completed at this park. According to the couple I met, the fish were biting too!

Then it was backroads home from there.


Our routine once we get home is to unload clothing and food, clean the toilet, and empty any trash.  In doing so I discovered a hairline fracture in one of my fresh water fittings so it looks like there will need to be some repairs or replacements done before we venture out again in Wanda.


Stay cool this summer!

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