Exploring SC, Strawberry Loves The Great Outdoors

Well I tried to hike this weekend

#Snowmageddon2016: After working from home on Friday, then staying inside binge-watching Jessica Jones all day Saturday while the Upstate de-iced, I was itching to get out of the house and spend some time outdoors. It didn’t go so well.

I intentionally waited a few hours later than I would usually leave, because it had gotten cold overnight and they were saying black ice would be a problem. It was sunny and in the upper 30s when I headed out towards Dupont State Forest. The roads weren’t bad, except in shaded passages, where I slowed a bit to allow for the possibility of ice. I headed up Locust Hill Road, then US 25 to Highway 11, before making the turn onto 276 which would take me over Caesar’s Head and into North Carolina to Dupont.

First fail

I had wondered what condition the tight winding road up to Caesar’s would be like, and I was right to wonder.

Kind of like your typical Michigan road in Winter, right? Michigan roads generally aren't this steep

Kind of like your typical Michigan road in Winter, right? Michigan roads generally aren’t this steep

I had just passed a plowing crew that consisted of a road grader and four (!) plow trucks, scraping the snow down a bit and spreading dirt. There were two cars ahead of me heading up, and we didn’t pass a single car coming down. I thought that was interesting.

I rounded a bend and took this picture of the sloppily packed snow:

That patch between the shadows looks particularly troublesome

That patch between the shadows looks particularly troublesome

And then promptly got stuck in that sloppily packed snow. After about 5 minutes of reversing/low gearing, I was headed back uphill. Thankfully no cars had come up behind me during this time.

You could consider this foreshadowing

You could consider this foreshadowing

Yep, definitely foreshadowing

Yep, definitely foreshadowing

As I rounded the corner towards the Cliff Ridge subdivision entrance, a small car pulled out of that sub and headed up the mountain in front of me – slowly. After getting stuck earlier, I knew this could be a problem.

And it was.

As you can see above, I got stuck shortly after that subdivision, because I was going so slow that I was sinking in the melting top few inches of the snowpack. I spent about ten minutes reversing down, then making tiny progress up, then getting stuck again. I finally gave up and reversed all the way back down to the subdivision, where I had an amusing conversation with a couple of old guys standing there. They said helpful things like “Man, you’re almost to the top – the flat part is right around that corner.”

But I gave up and turned around, heading slowly back down the winding mountain road, passing the plow crew and many other cars heading up.

Fail #2

I was not deterred, nor even really frustrated at this point. I figured I’d head a few miles west and go to another of my favorite spots: Table Rock State Park. Highway 11 was in excellent shape, so the drive only took a few minutes.

Closed.

Closed! I had not even considered the possibility that the State Park might be closed. I saw this as an opportunity to head further west and visit a park that was on my list but I had not made it to yet: Keowee-Toxway State Park.

You know where this is heading: Fail #3

Yep, this park was also closed.

So I kept heading west and….success

Further west, there is another park on the list that I had yet to visit: Devil’s Fork State Park. And this one was open!

By this time, I had been the car for more than two hours – hardly the hike I had geared up for, but I was thankful just to be outside.

I actually never got to hiking, but I did a couple hours in the sun taking photographs of the lake and some of the scenery at the boat rental/beach area.

I made a few long exposures with my Lee Big Stopper to smooth out the water:

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Then grabbed several faster ones once the lake settled down a bit:

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And then thought I’d get the rental kayak fleet into a few pictures to add some color:

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Then I took a selfie (well, sort of):

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I then took a bunch of pictures of the Fuji lenses I had with me for an upcoming blog post series:

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While I was there, several people put boats in and took boats out, including two kayakers. This guy was heading out to fish:

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There were also some pretty pissed seagulls hanging around.

I packed up and started the now 90-minute drive home, since I had wandered so far west.

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