It's Springtime

Message From The Director

Ahh Spring….AhhhChew! What was all that yellow stuff on the ground, on the car and in the air? It was one of Mother Nature’s sure signs of spring here in South Carolina! There are other, less bothersome and more inspiring signs of the spring as well, like the blooming of azaleas, the yellow Jessamine and the dogwoods that dot the understory of a resurrected forest after a long cold South Carolina winter.

Spring is time for adventures in your state parks. If you follow us on Facebook, you know I just completed a spring time adventure to the Top of Table Rock Mountain, at night!

The goal was to experience the sunrise from the top of the mountain.  The moonlight’s magic is in itself worth the trip.

But there are stairs made of granite laid out by the Civilian Conservation Corp to climb and stars to see. At the “halfway shelter” there’s time for a long break, not only to catch your breath but to venture out on the rocks and see the sleeping landscape in the distance. Beyond the shelter are more “steps” to the top.

If you have hiked the Table Rock Trail in the daylight, you know it’s not an easy hike, but if you’ve hiked the trail, you also know the rewards of the journey. There’s not another trail like it. As I walk I reflect back on the trek thus far and hike with anticipation of what lies ahead. The rising of the sun.

The summit is reached with time to spare; it’s still dark with the exception of the stars and a moon that commands your attention. As our group sits on top of the mountain and celebrates the accomplishment, there’s also time for reflection, as the sky begins it’s transformation from darkness to light.

As the sky slowly begins to change, a memory is caught in time. The sky suddenly becomes like an Artist’s pallet that seems to change every 30 seconds with amazing colors that have you questioning that such colors even exist.

Pinks, purples reds and oranges that change the horizon in a burst of brilliance that you not only see but feel.

Then as if on cue, the fiery ball that we call the sun makes it way into the horizon signaling a new day. As quickly as it bursts over the mountain in a moment caught in time with its brilliance and amazing colors the moment is over, a new day has begun. The view from the top has exceeded my expectations. Now that the sun has signaled a new day there’s time to take in the view from the top of the Mountain, Caesars Head, the Table Rock Reservoir, and the Oolenoy Valley below. It’s time to make our way down the mountain.

On the way down I see many of the things I missed on the way up as darkness and shadows hid many of the wonders of the trail. Spring wildflowers blanket the edge of the trail as the waters of Carrick Creek still holds on to the cold as long as it can.

At the end of the trail is the brand new Carrick Creek overlook, our first Check Off for State Parks project that you made happen! Your tax donations made this project possible, a project that we think you are going to love!

It blends into the landscape complimenting the natural environment while mimicking the craftsmanship of the Civilian Conservation Corps. It protects a very sensitive riparian area around the falls that had suffered from severe erosion and compaction over the years. This project will make an impact for generations, I’m sure it will become one of our most photographs spots in the entire state, and you made it happen. Thank you! If you forgot to check off this year, remember to next year!

As I put my pack and walking stick back in the car, the sunrise experience has changed my perspective of everything below, a night hike, the sunrise and a memory that will last a lifetime.

I’ve got to get to the coast and watch the sunrise over the ocean at one of our beach parks! Oh, and the sunset at one of our lake parks, and the stars beside a campfire, A kayak trip down the river, and the Spider Lilies bloom next month at Landsford Canal - so much to do. It’s springtime in state parks! Enjoy!

See you in the parks!