Monday, October 5, 2009

Dreher Island State Park, SC. Part II

This is the second post in a series about South Carolina’s Dreher Island State Park. If you missed Part I, click here.

(And click photos for larger images)

Rainy Site 16 Well, the NOAA weather radio folks certainly were on the mark today. Rain from morning until well into the afternoon. Not as heavy as it was overnight. But enough to keep me off the water. And enough to discourage all but the most dedicated of hikers and fishermen here in the Park.

After lazing about most of the morning in the warm and dry Aliner, reading and writing – no internet Wi-Fi access here! – I finally donned rain gear and ventured out to take a few photos.

The first question many folks ask about campgrounds is “Are the bath houses clean?” Followed by “Is it safe to take showers there?”

Bath House Outside Both reasonable questions. Frequent campers are bound from time to time to encounter below-standard facilities. At state and federal campgrounds, and at private campgrounds.

But I’m pleased to report that facilities here at Dreher Island State Park are clean as a whistle, and well maintained. The photo above is the bath house for the A campground. There are several others throughout the Park. These facilities were built some time ago. Making them, undoubtedly, more difficult to maintain.

Bath House SinksBut the hardware fixtures inside are quite new, as you can see in the photo above. And kept in spic-and-span condition. Every morning around 7:30 a maintenance crew arrives with mops, towels, and disinfectant.

Shower Stall Showers stalls are even more difficult to keep in attractive condition. The photo above shows how clean the showers are at this Park. It doesn’t show, however, that a twist of the center knob brings an abundant gush of hot water down on the grateful camper.

So, if you’re reluctant to venture out camping for fear “the facilities” will be sub-standard, this would be a nice Campground for your first trip! All “campophobics” take note!

Waste FFacilities Speaking of facilities, a few readers have written to ask about RV hookups at state parks. Most I’ve visited have at least 30-amp electricity and water at each RV site. With some offering the 50-amp service required by larger RVs. And each park has an area like the one pictured above for dumping RV waste. As well as regular trash.

Pet Walk In the past few years, “pet walks” have become increasingly popular. Dreher Island features one that should please the most finicky pets and their owners. It’s unusual in that the path wanders through an interesting wooded area near the lake shore.

Main Sign Normally I take photos of entrance signs and kiosks upon arrival at each Park. And should have yesterday, when it wasn’t raining cats and dogs. Well, here’s Dreher Island’s sign. Taken today in the rain.

Rainy Entrance Kiosk And the lonely-looking entrance kiosk in the rain. Fortunately, nobody was inside today. Only the “Iron Ranger” was on duty, and he didn’t seem to mind the wet weather.

Activities Sign This sign lists many of the Park’s facilities. Though, surprisingly, it doesn’t mention the very popular “villas.”

These are condo-like units, four to a building, each with a lake view. The villa area has its own parking area and a nice dock reserved for villa residents. All of this comes at a cost considerably higher than the Park’s RV campsites, of course.

I’ll try to take a few photos before leaving. It was just too far to walk this time in the rain. Now, those condo-like “villas” may be a good first step for “campophobics” to begin their recovery program.

Campground A from Bridge in Drizzle Here’s a view of Campground A from one of the bridges that connect Dreher Island with the mainland. If you click on the photo for an enlarged image you can almost see the Aliner through the rain. It’s toward the end of the finger of land pointing into the lake. Pointing toward two of the small islands that make this lake so interesting for the ambitious kayaker. The island you see on the left hosts a campsite that looks as if it is used regularly by scout groups.

Marina I don’t fish. But Lake Murray is popular with those who do. Here’s a rainy photo of the Park’s Marina, and its surrounding parking lot.

Marina Dock The building houses the Park’s tackle shop and snack bar, as well as restrooms. That’s the pier and gasoline pump you see in the photo above. Though I’ve yet to visit the Park when the store was in operation. Probably for lack of a customer base that would justify the additional personnel. It must operate only on the weekends.

Marina Boat Ramp I’ve used the Marina’s boat ramp pictured above a number of times to launch my kayak. The surrounding water is well protected from waves. Making it an ideal place to launch in windy weather.

Second Boat Ramp and PierAnd there’s another pier and boat ramp on the other side of the road. It too is popular with fishermen. It has a huge parking lot, with those long spaces intended for vehicles pulling boat trailers.

So there you have a brief, rainy tour of just a few of Dreher Island State Park’s facilities. I hope tomorrow to get the kayak in the water for some paddling and photo-taking. So stay tuned.
Read Part III by clicking here.

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