Waiting on Perfect

Message From The Director

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Fall temperatures quickly turn into winter nights, hikes with no bugs, campfires and that perfect weekend at your favorite state park. How many trips have you planned down to the last detail, only to be disappointed or more often than not surprised by the unexpected? I’ve done this so many times. We plan camping trips, picnics or hikes in search of that “perfect” day in the park.  Much like life, it rarely goes as planned. 

Let’s take 2017 for example, a year of recovery from two historical disasters for your park system: the devastation of Hurricane Matthew and the Pinnacle Mountain fire that burned most of Table Rock Mountain.  It was not in my plans that a year after Matthew, campgrounds at Hunting Island and Edisto Beach would still be closed. And then to have both reopened in the fall, just in time for Irma to pay a visit. Far from perfect. We were so excited about reopening the campgrounds with new utilities and campsites. Campers were going to love it. We are still excited to reopen the campgrounds, but it’s going to be a little later than expected… first of January for Edisto Beach, and first of February for Hunting Island. The things we didn’t plan for in 2017 turned out to be the most impressive. Our staff for one- they did what they have done on so many occasions. They rose to the occasion, overcame one obstacle after another and worked tirelessly to overcome new challenges on top of old ones. Far from perfect but pretty amazing!

This year, I’ve planned hikes to waterfalls that were not perfect. Some could argue that on one hike there was not enough water and on the other there was way too much water. Then there were fall colors.  Have you noticed that the fall colors neglected to coordinate with the calendar this year? While most people think that fall colors start in October, in South Carolina is usually more like the first of November when our trees reach their peak, but this year November looked more like September.  I planned at least three trips to catch the colors at their peak this year and I think I’ve missed it. Fall leaf season was late this year. While I was waiting on the fall colors, I discovered something far more interesting than the annual breakdown of chlorophyll- when the green colors disappear, and the red, yellows and oranges colors become visible and give us magical moments that we anxiously wait for each fall. I discovered that waiting on perfect is a long wait, and if you are not careful, you’ll miss the magic of the moment. I’ve learned that sometimes less water over the falls reveals the rocks and the movement of the water that I had never noticed on trips before.  Hiking to the same falls after a rainstorm months later, the rocks were gone- covered by white water. The sounds of the forest were different that day, as the falls demand your attention and were the voice of the forest.

I’m making plans for some winter hikes, campfires and the unexpected. Perfect is overrated… the magic is in the journey, the unexpected and those moments that you can’t plan for. Waiting for perfect? Not me. That takes all of the fun out of trip!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year- a time of thanksgiving, Wishing you a happy holiday season!

See you in the parks!