When Things Were Bigger

On a recent trip to Table Rock, someone asked me about the building on top of the hill near the swimming area.  I was eager to explain that it was the old bathhouse built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  I pointed out the classic
 “parkitecture” components of the building and the granite stairs that take you up from the parking lot.  My historical interpretation of the building then transitioned into memories of my childhood. I explained summer Saturdays filled withwarm breezes and weekends swimming in nearby Pinnacle Lake.  I remember “hiking” to the top of the hill, utilizing steps built by the boys of the CCC, although at the time I had no idea of the historical significance of the steps or the bathhouse.  The steps just led to the start of the weekend: leaving your stuff in a basket that you checked out in the basket room then grabbing a swimming ticket and it was back down the steps to adventure!  I have great memories of climbing those steps, but as I look up at the bathhouse today something is different.  I swear the “hill” the bathhouse sits at the top of was much much bigger, and those steps… how could we have lost steps? I know there must have been a thousand of them.  

And it’s not just at Table Rock, it’s at Paris Mountain too.  The last cabin before the staircase trail? That was my cabin. At least during church retreats it was mine!  Great times were had at Camp Buckhorn leaving the lodge to journey back to the cabin with friends. I distinctly remember my cabin being a lot further away from the Buckhorn Lodge than it is today!  The Adventure at Charles Towne Landing had to have been bigger, as I remember exploring below deck as a child where no one could ever find me, then climbing back on deck to look out on the birthplace of South Carolina.  I could go on forever with this list. So what happened? They say it’s perspective. It’s where you are on your journey.  Maybe things were bigger back then because I was just a kid, ready for adventure, a little fellow wide eyed and taking it all in. Yes, things where bigger then at least to a young “Phillip.” When things were bigger, life seemed simpler. There was less stress and no worries. When things were bigger, memories were made that last a lifetime.  

It is indeed about the journey and what I love most about seeing these same places today is the perspective I have of them as a kid. I love knowing that every weekend those same memories are being made by a wide eyed kid who can’t wait for an adventure in a state park.  Climbing to the top of the Hunting Island Lighthouse or seeing Atalaya and walking through its halls- now that’s big! I wonder what perspective I’ll have in the future of the wonders I get to see and experience today. There is only one way to find out…I’ve got to get busy! I’m still that wide eyed kid, just a little older. And I’ve realized it’s about the journey and the memories we make. 


“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
Greg Anderson


That about sums it up. The journey never ends. Things are pretty big today too, don’t you think?

See you in the parks!
Phil