Friday, November 20, 2009

Twin Lakes COE Campground, Lake Hartwell, S.C.

Off for another five-day trip with the Aliner. Normally, I leave on Sunday afternoons and return on Friday mornings, or early afternoons. That schedule is ideal, since it avoids weekends when the state and federal campgrounds are most crowded.

This time Thanksgiving Day changed the regular scheme. To be back by Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I had to leave on Friday morning. 

Main Sign Twin Lakes is one of the several campgrounds the Corps of Engineers maintains on the string of four lakes running from Jocassee in the north to Strom Thurmond [formerly Clark’s Hill] in the south. I’ve been to campgrounds on three of those lakes a number of times, but this is the first time camping on Lake Hartwell.

GatehouseAn experienced camp host couple was at the gate for check-in.

ScooterA scooter or golf cart parked near the gatehouse nearly always indicates that the camp hosts are on the ball, and will be an active presence in the campground.

The hosts mentioned that the campground was nearly full this weekend. “This is Clemson Country,” they explained. Seems Clemson football fans camp here to attend games. Since the stadium is only a few miles away.

Indeed, the Clemson football fan presence here is so strong that since last year Clemson alums have been able to persuade the Corps to keep this campground open through November. An additional month!

Road In I took the photo above from the gate house, looking up the road into the campground. Just before driving out to look at the boat ramp.

Right after getting back in the car, two very nervous deer crossed the road there, near the top. Glancing left and right. No time for a photo.

Deer here normally are more friendly. But this is hunting season! Judging from their jumpy behavior, these two young deer, a doe and a buck, must have been aware of that, and didn’t stick around to investigate.

Boat Ramp Dock Drive up this road a short distance and turn right to reach the Park’s boat ramp. It, like the rest of the Park, is beautifully maintained. Lots of longish parking spots for vehicles pulling boat trailers. Restroom facilities.

And the new fishing dock that you see in the photo above. Click for a closer view. It’s relatively new, and is even handicapped-accessible. Good news for everyone.

The camp hosts said a fishing tournament is scheduled for Saturday. So I may wait a few days to launch the kayak.

Site 31 Here’s the Aliner all set up on site # 31. Look at that view from the reading chair! Now, site # 31 is not at all unusual here. Nearly all of the campsites have a lake view as nice as this. Most, better!

Site Overview As you see in the photo above, this is a two-level site. With the picnic table, grill, and fire ring all down a flight of steps. An arrangement required by the steep bank to the shore.

Site View So no direct kayak launches from this site! But the view up the lake is spectacular. It’s worth the drive to the boat ramp.

Twin Lakes COE campground appears to be another winner. Have a visit while you’re in the area. Whether you plan to attend a Clemson football game or not.

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