Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hunting Island State Park, Part I

Table of Contents for This Series

  1. Drive down, arriving at a soaked campground.
  2. More information about 19th century Asian gardener “Oqui” at Botany Bay Plantation.
  3. Quick visit to Beaufort, S.C.
  4. Touring Beaufort, S.C.

On the road again today for another five days -- or nights -- of camping. Weather here in South Carolina, like the rest of the East Coast, has been wild for the past couple of weeks. Though ours, fortunately, came in the form of rain and wind rather than snow. Serious rain. For several days. Including a heavy soaking yesterday. Flood warnings all over the place. So I didn’t know what to expect this trip upon arriving at Hunting Island State Park.

By 11:00 a.m. all was packed and connected. Then down I-77 South to I-26 East. Again, I avoided I-95 and its frenetic traffic by following 26 east nearly to Charleston. Then south on Route 17. You can see the difference on the map below.

Route 1I’ve mentioned Route 17 before here, if memory serves. It has the disadvantage of quite regular construction projects here and there. But it’s far more interesting to drive. Both natural and social scenery abounds! And traffic is nowhere near as frenetic.

The more pleasant drive comes at a cost, however. It takes just under an hour longer to reach Hunting Island from Columbia than does the I-95 route.

Weather was pleasant and sunny for most of the trip. Temperature by 1:00 p.m. or so around 60 degrees. So maybe, just maybe, Hunting Island’s campground will have avoided the soaking the rest of us experienced.

No serious road construction delays this time. In fact, no delays at all until downtown Beaufort. There, for a mile or so, traffic inched along on the main route through town.

Beaufort Map This turned into a treat, though, rather than a frustration. Since the stop-and-go pattern gave more time to look at the interesting houses and shops along the way through town. Click the map above to see the route.

Beaufort is a beautiful historic town. During this trip to Hunting Island I hope to make time to visit Beaufort for some good old-fashioned sight-seeing and photo taking. So stay tuned!

Too soon, almost, the last light before the bridge turned green and I was on the final leg of the trip, on Route 21 across the various islands to Hunting Island and the campground.

Soaked Campsite Well! Much of this beautiful campground was soaked. Campsite after campsite, so carefully maintained, now looked more like small ponds. Talk about sites right on the water!

Reservations are fairly heavy even at this time a year at Hunting Island State Park. One can imagine the disappointment of folks arriving with the hope of a few days’ camping at South Carolina’s most popular Park. Having made their reservations months in advance.

AND, the difficulties faced by the check-in staff as they tried to find alternative accommodations for those disappointed campers. I was pleasantly surprised to find the desk staff as cheerful and helpful as ever. Even after having spent what had to be a hectic day.

Swamped Trailer However, their problems shrink to insignificance when compared with those of campers already set up on their sites before the rains came! This poor soul, for example. In a nearly-new shiny Airstream with all the bells and whistles. He had to go buy high-topped rubber boots just to get back and forth to his tow vehicle!

Site # 39 Site # 39, my favorite here, is just a few inches higher than many of the other sites. So it was dry and inviting. This site also offers an ideal view of the ocean, as well as pull-through convenience.

Its only disadvantage is an irregular, sloping surface. Which requires the BAL leveler at set-up. You can see that handy RV camping gadget under the driver-side tire just behind the blue water tank if you click on the photo above.

In less than an hour I was set up, looking out the front window at the ocean, enjoying a good cup of tea. Almost ready for dinner. The rain is over, according to the NOAA weather radio. Soon the sandy soil of Hunting Island will absorb the extra water and we’ll be back to normal.

Click here for the next post.

No comments:

Post a Comment