Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dreher Island State Park, SC. Part I

Table of Contents for This Series

  1. Drive over and set-up
  2. A rainy day looking around Dreher Island SP
  3. Kayaking on Lake Murray from Dreher Island SP
  4. Another kayak paddle on Lake Murray from Dreher Island SP’s boat ramp

With health improving steadily, it’s time to resume regular camping trips with the Aliner. The poor thing has had a neglected, even reproachful, look these past few weeks, parked in the garage with nowhere to go.

Normally, for trips within and near South Carolina, I leave home late on Sunday morning, and return on Friday afternoon. That allows for five nights of camping.

Weekday camping makes it easier to reserve choice campsites, since campgrounds are less crowded. An ideal arrangement for retired folks! Add to that the 35 percent discount South Carolina’s state parks offer campers 65 and older, and the opportunity is irresistible.

Well ….. some otherwise normal people are able to resist the temptation…. Even some close family members! We’ll call them “campophobics,” for lack of a better term. Hard to explain … One can only hope …

Dreher Island State Park is located on the north shore of Lake Murray. One of the biggest man-made lakes around. A large body of water with the irregular shoreline that characterizes most lakes formed when power companies build dams that flood valleys.

I’ve camped here twice in the past, and thoroughly enjoyed both trips. That irregular shoreline also makes kayaking more interesting. At least for me.

(click photos for larger images)

Campsite # 16Many of the campsites in Campground A, the one on the left just after the Park’s main gate, are right on the shore of the lake. Including site #16 that you see in the photo above.

This site’s only disadvantage is its slight slope toward the lake. A slope it’s wise to keep in mind when maneuvering even a lightweight camper! Well, the slope, and a tree at the corner of the site that makes backing in a more precise maneuver than it otherwise would be.

As you see in the photo, I’ve turned the Aliner around to face the lake. That gives a better view while sitting inside writing on the computer. A lake view from all three sides, in fact. Hard to imagine, with electricity and water, for $13.00 a night!

Kayak Chair GrillHere you can see the Advanced Elements Expedition kayak draped across the picnic table ready for inflation, in anticipation of a late afternoon paddle. Just beside a collapsible reading chair and propane grill.

Clear Water at Shoreline This site, like several of the others in this campground, has a sandy, gradually sloping shore just made for launching kayaks. No need to travel to and from the boat ramps. No need to inflate and deflate the kayak. Just launch from the campsite. And look at that clear water!

With setup complete, it’s time to take a good book out to the chair and read until dinnertime, with the sound of waves lapping gently on the shore as background. Now, it doesn’t get much better than this. Especially when the book is a beautifully bound Louis L’Amour hardback!

I always carry at least one NOAA emergency weather radio when camping or kayaking. Just in case. NOAA provides highly accurate, hour-to-hour forecasts from stations around the country 24 hours a day. I’ve yet to camp in a spot where at least one NOAA station wasn’t accessible.

Today, NOAA’s automated announcer forecast rain late tonight and on through tomorrow. But it came earlier than expected. I had to abandon plans for the late afternoon paddle, and quickly get the kayak under cover. Dinner too was earlier than planned, to avoid getting wet while grilling hotdogs and vegetables.

Rainy Campsite View of LakeBefore long rain was coming down by the bucketful. And it looks like a wet day tomorrow. Well, the Aliner sure beats tent camping in such weather!

Stay tuned for more about Dreher Island State Park in the next episode, available by clicking here!

1 comment:

  1. How inviting, Bob. Looks like a wonderful place to get back into the swing of paddling and camping. Looking forward to reading about the rest of the journey. Thanks!