Monday, June 21, 2010

Givhans Ferry State Park, South Carolina. Part II. Arrival and a look around the Park.

Click here for the first post in this series.

The drive from Columbia to Givhans Ferry State Park was ideal. Just over two hours. Skies were sunny, but not oppressively so. The secondary roads here are well maintained. Well signed too. No real need for the GPS. Well ….. Anyway, they’re easy to drive.

Best of all, those secondary roads take the more observant driver through some of the most beautiful farmland imaginable. Enormous level fields. But not the sort of unending corn fields one encounters in the Midwest. Fields that seem to go on forever without break.

These fields are huge. But hedge rows of tall old trees in the distance decorate the scene. As well as houses. Some grand; some modest. With their lawns, fences, trees, and gardens. Large-wheeled irrigation rigs move lazily back and forth. Here and there you’ll see farm vehicles large enough to tend those huge fields. Now, we didn’t have anything like that OverHome!

Route 601 South feeds into Route 78. Another beautiful strip of South Carolina highway. And well before you’ve seen enough of the natural and social scenery along Route 78, it’s time to turn right onto Route 61. I’ve got to learn more about the these secondary roads that criss-cross South Carolina. Many of them must have interesting histories. Some, I’ll bet, hundreds, if not thousands, of years old.

front gate The Givhans Ferry State Park main gate is just off Route 61. As always, click on any of these photos for a larger view.

front sign Now, here’s a great idea. Especially during these months and years of State budget austerity. One of several signs along this access road recruiting Park Volunteers. I don’t recall seeing such signs at other Parks. Let’s hope they attract some eager and capable folks.

facilities sign I was surprised to see the efforts of the “Iron Ranger” at the gate supplemented by a competent couple issuing day passes. How many people would be visiting Givhans Ferry State Park today? I didn’t expect many.

facilities sign The drive in from the main gate is beautiful. Here’s the facilities sign, with directions to most activity areas.

entry trees Nicely tended trees and wide green fields on both sides of the road.

volleyball field Including one of several well maintained volleyball courts around the Park.

Driving on a ways, I was surprised to see dozens of cars. Overflowing the small gravel lot near the Office. Parked wherever they could find space. This explained the couple issuing day passes at the main gate, I guess!

The parking area swarmed with people dressed variously for swimming. Some of them carrying large colorful floats. They were here, obviously, to enjoy the Edisto River!

I also noticed three sheriff’s deputies, fully suited and equipped. Two of them standing near the entrance to the path leading down to the water. They came as a surprise.

As I watched, the deputies stopped groups headed toward the river bank carrying anything that looked like it might be a cooler. Apparently cautioning and checking for alcoholic beverages. Prohibited at all of South Carolina’s State Parks.

The crowd in and near the water seemed to reflect the efforts of those deputies. Having lots of fun. But not at all rowdy or especially noisy. Good to see.

park map I drove slowly through the River swimming crowd to the Campground area. As you see on the map above, site # 11 is on a corner of the loop. If loops have corners.

site 11 side And here’s a view of the site itself. Note the barrier of trees and shrubs behind the Aliner. Between site # 11 and the next site.

another site And site # 11 isn’t unusual in that regard. Here’s another across the road. A nice barrier of trees and shrubs on both sides, making nearly every one of the sites a bit smaller, but nicely private.

bath house A single bath house serves the entire campground. It’s one of the traditional models seen in many CCC-built Parks. Modest-looking on the outside. But clean on the inside.

Also, all RV campsites here are hard-packed earth and gravel. Every one of them is as level as that you see above. No BAL Leveler needed at Givhans Ferry State Park.

Stay tuned for another post on Givhans Ferry State Park.

Click here for the next post in this series.

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