Tales of Table Rock State Park
In many of our previous South Carolina camping adventures, we passed this massive rock formation and wondered what it was. Well, thanks to the power of Google and its all-knowingness, we discovered it was called Table Rock and that it was a state park complete with camping! Naturally, we had to check it out.
According to Cherokee legend, the mountain got its name because it was tall and flat, like a table. They believed the Great Spirit sat on the smaller Stool Mountain (the peak to the right) and ate his meals on on the flat table. Hence, Table Rock. If you ask me, Stool Mountain seemed a little pointy to sit on, but I guess if you're an all-powerful deity, you don't really care.
Pictures can't really do Table Rock justice. It was much more impressive in person. The panoramic mountain views and the massive stone face is so cool to see.
Anyway, we booked our campsite months in advance. Because Table Rock is so impressive, sites fill up quickly. So, when our weekend finally arrived, we packed up the truck and trailer and headed down south.
When we got to the campground, we were a bit surprised. Usually, South Carolina state parks are quiet, relaxed, and private—just how we like it. Table Rock was a little different. Driving into the park was fine, and the little camp store was adorable. We checked in and headed to our site.
When we pulled around the corner, it was a different story. It looked like they crammed as many sites into the woods as they possibly could! Sites were tiny and right up against each other. Kids were running around and everyone could see everyone else. It felt more like a family campground than a state park.
Our site (which looked like it was private on the map) actually faced the main road where everyone drove and walked. Anyone who came down the road (everyone) basically walked right in front of our camper. Being the antisocial people we are, it wasn't ideal, but we survived. We just had to drink our "sodas" in cups.
Table Rock State Park is renown for its hiking trails. So on the next day, we checked the map, made a plan, and headed over to the trailhead.
All the trails started at a central trailhead, which was kinda cool for navigation. The downside was that all the trails started at a central trailhead! Everyone in the world was there! I guess during COVID, hiking is one of the only things people can do. We pulled into the parking lot where literally HUNDREDS of people were getting ready for their hikes and swimming in the nearby lake.
Because the hikes are so intensive, you have to check in before setting out. It was so busy we had to wait in line to start the hike (welcome to nature, right?). We wanted to hike to the top of Table Rock, but with little LunaBear coming along, we weren't sure she'd be up for it. We opted for a shorter loop following one of the creeks. Maybe next time we'll climb Table Rock.
Once we got on the trail and everyone spaced out, it was a much better. We had to pass (or get passed) a few times, but we really didn't run into many people, which was surprising considering how many we saw in the parking lot!
It was a hot day, so everyone got nice and sweaty. Luckily, since we picked the creek trail, there were plenty of places to take a pit stop and cool off. Luna especially loved it.
In total, I think we hiked about 3.5 miles. It's not much for hardcore hikers, but for chunkers like me and Luna, it was perfect. I'm sure Rose could have kept going, but that's what happens when an in-shape person decides to spend time with couch potatoes.
After the hike, Luna was ready for a nap. We took a quick stop at the trailer for some lunch, got Luna nice and comfy on the couch, and headed over to the nearby lake for some canoeing.
We expected the lake to be as busy as the hiking trails, but when we pulled into the parking lot, there were only two cars there. I guess since everyone in the world was at the hiking trails, there wasn't anyone left to go to the lake!
The lake was small but perfect for canoeing. There weren't any waves like our adventures at Jordan Lake State Park. We paddled around for a bit, got some great views of Table Rock.
We found a nice quiet cove and decided to stop for a quick dip to cool off after our hike. We packed a cooler with "sodas," so we hung out and relaxed for a while, enjoying the calmness of the lake.
On the way back to the boat ramp, Rose wanted a picture of the two of us with Table Rock in the background. We headed over to the shore across from the ramp and hopped out of the canoe. We immediately sunk into the deep mud, and Rose brought her feet back to the surface minus one flip flop. They were the ones with puppies and anchors on them, so we couldn't just let them go!!!
We searched and searched, but the more we dug through the mud, the cloudier the water got. It seemed like all hope was lost. We decided to take a paddle around and let the sand clear. Luckily, on our way back through, we spotted something sticking out of the mud. It was the flip flop! We rescued the puppies and anchors and headed back to the truck.
The moral of the story is that if you're too eager to accomplish something, it'll just kick up dirt and make it harder to see the goal. If you take a step back and have some patience, it'll all become clear. Or that it's easier to see flip flops in the mud after the dirt settles. One of the two.
At least we got the picture!
After a long day of hiking and canoeing, we headed back to the campsite, started a fire, and enjoyed the rest of the night. Table Rock State Park wasn't quite what we were expecting, but it turned out to be a great trip. Some day we'll come back to hike to the top, but maybe we'll stay in a more secluded campground.
Until next time!
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He likes pizza.