Monday, September 26, 2011

Visit to Table Rock State Park, Pickens, South Carolina

table rock and stool pano

We’ve been here before. Last year, in fact, in early August. Click here for the six posts made during that visit, including an interview with Park Manager, Poll Knowland, and Park Interpreter, Scott Stegenga. Well, Table Rock is just as beautiful now as it was then.

2011-09-25 Pano of Table Rock and Lake SmallerThe photo you see above is much of what draws visitors to Table Rock State Park. And visitors are drawn! Last weekend well over 3,000 folks visited the Park. Well, in addition to the views you see above, there was also a well-known folk arts festival. But that’s still a lot of visitors! Be sure to click on that photo to see the lake. More on that in a moment.

First, have a look at this! The grounds of the Visitors Center and Park Office where the Festival was held. I took the photo yesterday, Sunday, the day after the Festival. Not a scrap of paper or trash in the whole area. I looked! And that’s Table Rock again that you see in the distance. It’s hard not to keep taking pictures of that incredible sight.

Be sure to stop at the Office, by the way, to check in. The folks at the West gate don’t have the check-in materials, and you’ll just have to turn around.

hdr of table rock from lakeThis trip – first time in a while – I brought the Advanced Elements kayak along. Hoping to dip a paddle once or twice while here. The weather forecast isn’t promising for this afternoon. So I went over to have a look at the Park’s boat access in preparation. As you can see above, it was just impossible not to take another shot of those mountains!

dockBut you also can see the fishing dock near the boat ramp. Here’s a better view of the dock from halfway up the stairs.

restrooms and parkingThere’s plenty of parking at the top of the boat ramp site, and even clean restrooms! Don’t forget to tip the Iron Ranger if you’re not checked into the Park, of course.

rampAnd here’s the boat ramp. Now, you should notice a couple of things about this boat ramp. First, it’s quite long and steep. Don’t plan on trotting up and down very often from the water to your vehicle parked in the lot. Especially if you have something heavy, like an inflatable kayak, to carry. The second thing to notice is the surface of the ramp. You’ll have to click on the photo to see it clearly. It is roughened to make it an ideal surface for traction up and down. So, there are trade-offs!

Now, this lake is larger than it first looks when viewed from the porch of the Visitors Center. In fact, it’s 67 acres, if memory serves. So, it’s well worth the effort to bring along a boat for a paddle. Hopefully tomorrow. Table Rock has an upper lake too, Pinnacle Lake, accessed from its swimming and boating center just across the road from the Nature Center. No private boats are allowed in Pinnacle Lake. You must rent the Park’s boats, when they’re available. This is the lower lake, Oolenoy, near the Visitors Center. Which looks to me the more attractive. If only because it is larger.

So, stay tuned for a report on kayaking in Lake Oolenoy. Maybe tomorrow. Depends on the weather.

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