[Click any photo for a larger image]
With temperatures routinely rising about 100 in Columbia, it was time to plan camping trips to cooler climes. Oconee State Park, up in the mountains, seemed a good bet. And it was a little cooler. A little, but not much.
Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area too seemed a good bet, located as it is on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Hartwell. Well, I arrived here on Sunday afternoon. And by Monday this was the situation:
That 107 outside reading was in the shade, now. Thank heaven for a reliable air conditioner. Even on medium temperature and low fan it keeps the Aliner comfortable.
Still, even with outside temperatures like this, Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area is a great place to visit. This has to be rated one of the very best, if not the best, South Carolina state park for RV camping in the whole system.
According to Park personnel, the Corps of Engineers built this Park and campgrounds for the State system. Compared with the South Carolina state park system, the Corps has piles of money. Which may explain why Calhoun Falls has such beautiful RV campsites.
Click on the photo above to see site # 28, the one I reserved for this trip. Beautifully situated, smoothly paved, well designed, and as private as it could be made and still have lakeshore access. Yet, compared with the other RV campsites here, it’s nothing special. They all are at least as nice as this one.
I first visited Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area toward the end of March last year, if memory serves. [click highlighted links for related material] Park Manager David Drake then was in the midst of building a state-of-the-art fish cleaning station, out behind the office building. Well, David and a crew of workers, since this fish cleaning station includes ample rinse water, huge grinders [required because Lake Hartwell fish grow so large, doncha know …] and even its own septic tank system.
Click on the photo above to see the result. It didn’t take long for a smiling fisherman to come by with with a nice-sized fish he caught just casting off the bank of his campsite. Not large, for Lake Hartwell, but ideal for a nice meal for two.
I asked several Park personnel if visitors were using this new facility. They all said it gets a lot of use. That some folks living nearby even pay the Park’s $2.00 admission fee just to come in to clean their fish!
Most important, it has reduced fish cleaning debris in the area of the boat ramps, and in the trash dumpster areas throughout the Park’s three campgrounds. Fish cleaning residue dumped there in the past attracted flies, bees, and inevitably generated an unpleasant odor around the dumpsters. See the sign above that discourages disposal in the trash dumpsters.
Lake Hartwell is a big lake that provides diverse habitat for fish. That makes it a favorite location for those fishing tournaments we sometimes see on television. It’s hard not to catch fish in Lake Hartwell. Even from the banks of the Park’s campsites! So, some method of coping with fish cleaning debris was essential.
While wandering around the Park Office area yesterday, I came across this little sign. S’mores! An established favorite of campers throughout the country. Trouble is, we often forget to bring the “fixins.” Don’t worry. The store at Calhoun Falls has S’mores kits in abundance! They sell very well here. Undoubtedly encouraged by this sign.