(Note added on 10/20/08): I am tired of everyone coming here for the photo of the copperhead snake, I am taking it off the post.)
(Note added on 6/8/08: over the past few days hundreds of people from all over the net have visited this post. Why? Where is the link to the copperhead snake photo? I'm really curious and would love to know. Would someone please answer in the comments? Thanks... Brenda)
Vacation is over, and we're home. It was wonderful and relaxing, and... just like an Animal Planet episode! It all began last Monday. J and I hit Publix at 10:30 to pick up the groceries for the trip. Two hours (and two carts) later we got back home and started packing, and loading the food and ice into the coolers. We were on the road by... 4:00. Not the best time to get on I-85 heading north, but it was okay.
A couple of hours later we were in Deliverance Country. the gorgeous cabin shown here wasn't the one we had, but we had the same wonderful screened-in porch and we had *two* picnic tables. Ours was painted a blend-into-the-forest green. Here are some highlights of the trip:
Dave arrived Tuesday night and we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows in our fire pit. Thursday we grilled steaks over charcoal on our outdoor primitive grill. Note: No other method of cooking a hot dog can hold a candle to roasting over an open flame. other Note: I am the undisputed champion of the perfect roasted marshmallow--golden-brown all over and evenly melted through. Marshmallows and Merlot.... yumm. Jessie doesn't like her marshmallows roasted at all, and Dave is a quick burn kind of guy.
Our cabin had a resident deer mouse I named Alphonse (heck, it probably had all of his sisters, brothers, cousins and living ancestors too. Mouse poop ahoy!). One night I was reading in the big chair in the living room and I looked up to see a mouse shimmying down the wall. When he got to the ground he dashed into our bedroom with me in hot pursuit. A couple of hours later I came face to face with him in the kitchen by the microwave. He was absolutely adorable, but I still would rather he had stayed outside. Every night after that we heard him partying till dawn--in the kitchen, in our room, even in the underside of our bed! Good thing we had big plastic totes to keep all of our food in.
The forests of South Carolina are being taken over by timber bamboo, and no one there--the park ranger included--has any idea. I was amazed at the proliferation of timber bamboo seedlings throughout the forest. It is by far the most common species of plant I saw and it all seems to be about the same age and grown from seed. Don't the park rangers and forest service see what's going on?
Yeah, right now it's all 2-5 feet tall and 1/4" in diameter. But they have mature groves of it (which must have flowered to produce the seed which produced all these seedlings), they can see how dense and tall it gets. I would think the native pines, oaks and maples don't stand a chance against it. Just wait another 5-10 years...
We were warned about the copperhead snakes, the cane rattle snakes and the diamond-back rattle snakes, but I really thought they were exaggerating. Nope. Jessie and I went for a walk at 9:30 last night to see all the toads that come out onto the road at 9:00 every night. A rain of toads every night at 9:00. But since we didn't get out till 9:30 we missed much of the rain and only saw five toads. Dave was nursing a cold and stayed in the cabin. As we were walking back along the road in the full dark we saw a copperhead snake in the road ahead of us--good thing we had our torches, huh?. It coiled to strike and we skirted quickly and carefully around it. It was just a little one, but still...
Thursday the three of us hiked to Hidden Falls from our cabin--about six miles round trip. There was a newly-fallen tree across the path 50 yards from the end that we had to go around (that was a bit hairy, but we all made it okay). We had lunch at the base of the falls and I picked a tick off my foot. South Carolina is just FILLED with critters!
Wednesday night we listened to the telling of the legend of the Guern (the bootlegger who owned the land the park is now on and he wouldn't sell. They destroyed the dam above his property to make the lake at the campground and the water took out his still--which exploded, cutting him to little pieces. He still haunts the place and there have been disappearances and even a death laid at his door). Then we watched fireworks over the lake put on by the Park Rangers. Grant Park it wasn't, but in its own way, it was better.
Lastly, but not leastly, sleeping in a hard little double bed for six nights was... interesting. Dave and I got it down to kind of a ballet of synchronized spooning. That was definitely better than the first night when I slept with J before Dave got there. She may be smaller but she packs a punch. I'm sleeping, minding my own business (by definition) and WHAM, a kick to the stomach. I recover from that, drop back off, and, WHAM a right hook flail to the eye. Jessie is a very restless sleeper.