What a great weekend! We had site #4, which had plenty of shade and was near the bathhouse. The park was well-maintained and the bathhouse kept very clean. The hosts for the park have been there for eleven years and seem to work very hard to keep it clean and attractive. They have many repeat guests.
Rain was expected off and on for most of our time at the campground, so we utilized only our privacy tent for changing clothes. We were set-up and ready to go quite quickly, which was nice.
The first night, we grilled steaks with our friends and turned in rather early. The temperature was cool in the evening and we slept very well with only our fan and the windows open.
On Saturday, we took a ranger-led tour to the Marble Mine, one of the park’s main attractions. It had gotten warm by that time and the heat plus the steep incline to get to the mine made it quite challenging. We saw a very large rat snake along the way that remained very still for about ten minutes. We estimate that he would be about six feet long if stretched out. Needless to say, we were very careful where we stepped after seeing him! He is not venomous, but still scary to me.
The hike was steep at the end, but we made it to the top. The waterfall with its crystal-clear water was worth the effort. It was quite beautiful and the water ice-cold. We were so hot by then, we would have liked to wade in it.
The afternoon was spent playing Mexican Train Dominos and then dinner at The Crushed Tomato in Summerville, which features pizza, calzones, and several flavors of ice cream for dessert. We highly recommend this place! Our pizzas were excellent with perhaps the best crust I have had in the U.S. Also, it was quite inexpensive.
Saturday night brought torrential rains in the middle of the night. We had our fan vent opened widely and it rained in some on the middle of our bed. We have left it partially open before in the rain without it coming in, but it did not work in this case. We woke to a slightly damp middle of the bed and a very wet campsite, so the Rainy Day Plan was evoked for breakfast. When we returned, the sun was shining and our campsite was beginning to dry out.
In the afternoon, we visited a local attraction, Paradise Gardens. It is a collection of folk art by Howard Finster, who has been called the Andy Warhol of the South. Mr. Finster passed away in 2001, but he has achieved quite a bit of acclaim for his work and his art is displayed at the Smithsonian. He also designed album covers for groups such as R.E.M. We were very surprised by the number of people visiting the gardens. As you can see below, his art is very eclectic.
We rounded out the day with games of Rook and Mexican Train Dominoes. Dinner was grilled hamburgers at the campground. This was our last night and we took down most of our gear before going to bed because my Big Guy likes to leave early going home. This is a long-standing habit of his. Not my favorite, but he does a lot to make me happy.
A few lessons learned:
- Rain will come in the fan vent if open and it rains hard enough. We should just leave a small opening if rain is expected.
- Peggy should always come because a I get to play lots of games when she is around. 😃
- Put chairs in the car if it might rain. I knew this, but did not take the time.
- A minimal campsite can be great if you are in the shade. We don’t really need a tent if it is just the two of us.
Looking forward to our next trip to Arkansas and Lake Catherine in Hot Springs!