MAdventuring – South Carolina
This adventure took us out of Massachusetts to visit my parents in South Carolina. We decided to drive down and camp along the way. Driving so we could bring back two beautiful little canoes, and camping so we could bring the dog.
Day one we made it down through Pennsylvania via 84/81 and stayed at Gifford Pinchot State Park. It had just opened for the season and there were plenty of available sites. We really lucked out with warm weather for mid-April and very few bugs.
Day two we headed to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to take in the winding roads and beautiful views of Skyline Drive. We discovered that it was National Park Week and admission to all National Parks was free! (Will have to remember that for an adventure next year.) Because it was midweek and early in the season there weren’t many people out and we had the road virtually to ourselves. And what a beautiful road it was, I can understand why motorcyclists come from all over for a drive on it – undulating curves up and down the sides of the Blue Ridge mountains with gorgeous views in all directions.
That night we took some more winding country roads to Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina. A very pretty CCC park, and another good night weatherwise.
The next day we made it to my parents where we had a lovely stay and enjoyed homecooking. Mom and I worked on getting her tomato plants and herbs planted in the garden, while Peter and my dad worked on how to get the wee lassie canoes secured to the roof of the wagon for the ride home.
Dad took up boat building in his retirement and built these little beauties, among others. Since they’ve moved south they have not been getting much use, as the waterways near them are home to alligators and poisonous snakes that my mom is not keen on. I am thrilled to get to use them on the many local lakes near us. They are lightweight, draw very little water so I can meander the swampy places, and look at that beautiful wood! And I know I’ll get well acquainted with that wood as I’ve got some repair and varnishing to do this summer on them.
On the way home we stopped at Prince William Forest Park in Virginia. This was a great find of a park, right off 95, not far outside of the DC beltway. This was another CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) built park. It’s also national parkland – so again, we got free admission for National Park Week.
That night we had a visit from an overly friendly raccoon. I heard him shuffling in the leaves near the site, Peter shined the light on him and made noises and he just stared back, maybe fifteen feet away. Olive barked and growled and Peter shuffled toward him and he reluctantly retreated. He came back about a half hour later after making the rounds to other sites. Peter again shooed him off. This is why you never feed the wildlife.
That was not our only wildlife encounter of the evening though. A very persistant whippoorwill called to mates all through the night. Have you ever been awoken by a car alarm going off multiple times in the night? That is nothing compared to a whippoorwill. This bird has some serious lung power.
Despite this we got enough sleep to get us by for the all day drive back home. Olive, our intrepid road dog, enjoyed Sheetz cheeseburgers along the way, but was happy to be home, as were we.