From Lake to Desert
Since our first work trip up north turned out so well, we decided to give it another shot after a whopping one week recovery period. That's right, the weekend after we got back from our three week trip to Maryland and Massachusetts, we headed down to South Carolina for another weeklong trip to three more state parks.
Our itinerary for this trip included three South Carolina state parks:
Lake Greenwood State Park
Our two weekenders had already been booked early on in 2021. Once the surprise of becoming remote nomaders fell into place, we decided why not just link the two weekends up with a park in the middle!?
Lake Greenwood had been on our list for a while. It was a little further drive (2.5 hours) for us, but we were ready! The weekend weather looked great for some relaxing camping. We got there early evening and found the campground to be pretty tight to pull into. There were lots of kids and trees to avoid. Cameron did a great job not hitting either. The site was a touch small, but man, the view of the lake was perfect!
We settled in and decided the weather was too nice not to take a dip in the water! Cameron and I just got new float tubes and figured this was the perfect place to try them out. We floated for a few hours before drying off and having some dinner. It was a great first evening and we were excited to float all day tomorrow on the water!
The sun was out full force, and Cameron was ready for a lake swim. By the time we got back, our neighbors who had young boys were fully into our lake area, swimming and hollering around. Cameron was bummed, but we fixed some lunch and sat watching the goofiness, reminiscing about the stuff we did at that age.
It seemed like they weren't going to move anytime soon, but they finally did. We quickly changed into our suits and made our way down. Just as Cameron got into the water, a thunderstorm hit. No really... as SOON as he stepped into the water. Our neighbors nicely told us they saw lightning as they went running and screaming to their tent. Bummed and slightly annoyed, we made our way into the trailer to wait out the storm.
The rain hung around longer than we thought, or at least the thunder and lightning did, so we did a few more walks around the campground, checking out all the parties before just relaxing for the rest of the night. The next morning, we were headed to Hickory Knob for a week so we knew we would have plenty of lake time coming our way!
Hickory Knob State Park
Stop number 2 was Hickory Knob State Park. Cameron and I had visited in 2019 and, well... let's just say we weren't entirely planning on ever going back. Granted, the weekend we went wasn't great in terms of weather, but it was also a rough site, AND Easter Weekend so there were kids running around screaming everywhere. It was one of our more non-relaxing trips and left a bit of a bad taste in our mouths.
Hickory Knob was running a sale for 30% off camping in June, so I suggested maybe we give it another try with a new site. All I can say is, we are so glad we did! We spent an awesome week working, canoeing, walking and drinking "soda" with almost the whole park all to ourselves.
Weekday camping is so great especially before schools are out because it's usually quiet during the week. We would work during the day, and at 3:00PM head out into the lake for a swim and some "sodas." Our wifi was a success, yet again, and the weather was AWESOME. We didn't have a day of rain at all.
Cameron and I always try and do one "date night" activity a week, especially when we are in new places. While we love hanging out around the park, it is fun to get to see the area and try new things. We saw that a new brewery opened on the Georgia line called Back Paddle Brewing, so we gave that a shot! It was pretty good. Their food (we got a pickle flight!) was better than the beer. We ended our night/week visiting a classic that I am sure ya'll know by now: Michelles Pizza in downtown McCormick! It was an awesome 2nd experience at Hickory Knob and we definitely are glad we tried it again.
Aiken State Park
Our last stop for the weekend was Aiken State Park! It was another one on our list of SC State Parks we wanted to try. The terrain was a lot different than the area we came from, which was wild considering it was only an hour away, if that. The park had almost a desert feel. It was sandy and incredibly hot. The weather didn't look as perfect as last week but we couldn't complain.
When we pulled in, our site had neighbors on both sides but was fairly private. We set up camp and finished up the little bit of work that we had. Cameron didn't have any service, but oddly enough I did, which usually never happens.
Cameron and I decided to take a walk and explore the park. It was set up different than most of the parks. The campground was in the middle and there was a road that went full circle around the whole park. There was a lake (pond) and a black water canoe trail also within the park that Cameron was curious about.
One of the main attractions of the park was the old artesian well, where you could fill up your water bottle. We decided to take a walk and find the well while looking around.
It was a really cool park, mostly because it was not our typical lake and mountain views. We filled up some bottles at the well before heading back to make some dinner and relax. On our way by the sites we spotted a really nice looking Ford truck that, of course, I had to send to Phil and John so they too could admire! We actually talked to the owner and it turned out it was his wife's!
So much excitement in the morning called for recovery in the afternoon. AKA lots of "soda"! The rain was coming in anyway, so we decided to head into Aiken to check out the brewery there. Fun fact: we never made it to the brewery.
When we got into town, it was so cute! There were shops all up and down the road that we explored. The sky opened up into a down pour while we were in a leather shop poking around, and good thing too. It just happened to be connected to a saloon! We scooted over for some drinks, Ostrich stew (yes, really!) and a fun time!
Once the rain stopped, we checked out a few other places including a trip to Mellow Mushroom for Cameron to get some pizza, and ended with a beer at another local spot. If you're ever by Aiken, SC definitely check out their awesome downtown. It was time to head back and pack up, but it was a great way to end our exciting 10 days on the road!
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He likes pizza.