I was excited. I was going to visit the highest state park in Georgia. Enjoy spectacular views and wonderful hiking opportunities.
But it didn't happen. The Mist happened.
I left Vogel State Park a week ago Sunday after a final creekside taco dinner on Saturday evening.
The rain started that night and continued for a week, pelting me as I drove through the mountains of northern Georgia.
I wound up at Moccasin Creek State Park.
There are 54 sites here nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains alongside 2,800 acre Lake Burton.
I took site 37 due to it's proximity to the showers and laundry facilities.
Hey, I was trying to stay as dry as possible while washing my clothes and myself. Maybe I should have just put on my dirty clothes and stood outside.
All the sites are close by the lake but number 17 is the best.
The lake is just to the left, right behind Lovell Pavilion.
Moccasin Creek flows alongside the campground and offers excellent fishing from several decks.
But only if you are 11 and under or 65 and over.
Yep, thems the rules, pardner.
The rest of us will have to make due with fishing in the lake itself.
In the office where you check in they have mounted a 50 pound plus Striped Bass that was caught there. I forgot to take a photo so you will have to just go yourself to see it.
Better yet, catch yourself a bigger one.
Which brings us to The Mist.
Black Rock Mountain State Park is situated along the Eastern Continental Divide at an elevation of 3,640 feet. I did not know there were two of them.
I believe that there are 44 campsites here, but I am not sure. It was hard to tell.
If the photo above looks a little hazy, that's because it was. As I drove up the mountain it got harder and harder to see.
This was my campsite on Tuesday afternoon.
The Mist continued to get thicker until I could not see my neighbor 30 feet away from me.
The Mist can play tricks on you. You hear strange sounds in an otherwise heavy dead silence. You think you can almost see dark shapes moving in and out of the trees but you cannot be sure if they are real or not. And you definitely do not want to find out. The Mist has secrets it wants to share.
I said no thanks, jumped in my trailer and locked the door and windows. I made a small batch of trail mix and hid under my sleeping bag.
I hoped the smell wouldn't attract something. Something different. Something that only lives in The Mist...
Since I didn't unhook my trailer it was a simple matter of making sure the coast was clear before I hopped into my car and headed out the next morning. Sorry, no campsite photos here. The Mist was still thick and alive.
I drove south out of the mountains and set up at a Thousand Trails campground for a few days. The plan was to use it as a base camp to visit four nearby state parks in South Carolina.
Here's an interesting sunset photo from Wednesday.
That white light is a single lumen solar one from Wal-Mart, 97 cents. I zip tied it to my roof rack. Makes a handy night/security light.
The rain paused on Saturday so I checked out Lake Hartwell State Park.
There are 115 sites here, several on the shore like number 43.
Lake Tugaloo State Park in Georgia is just across the lake so this place gets real busy in the summer with visitors from Atlanta as well.
Half the campground was open when I was there, the remainder opening on April 1.
Which made it kinda fun to make sure I had the right campsite numbers in the closed section.
See, most of the numbers are painted on the asphalt.
Sometimes I got lucky, like number 60.
Other times I had to brush away quite a few leaves.
That would be site 30. The numbers are painted so you can see them as you approach them. Not overly great for picture taking however. So just trust me that they are all correct on the website.
If you have another family that is going camping with you, nab sites 62 and 62A. They share a driveway and branch out into a Y on a private peninsula.
If your camping friends (and you) would rather stay in a cabin, sites 90 and 91 will fit the bill.
For day use there is a nice picnic spot jutting out into the lake.
I give this campground a five taco rating. (out of five)
Speaking of which...
I was almost out of taco meat so I added some refried beans to the mix for dinner when I got back. With the escalating price of meat nowadays this can help extend my food budget. As does using drink mixes like Tang and others. Why pay for the water? But keep an eye out for mold that can form inside the bottles.
Time for a new bottle...
The rain came back on Sunday which left sunny Monday to visit three more campgrounds and stay on my pseudo-schedule.
So I did just that yesterday. Three state parks, 200 miles, and almost 300 campsites.
Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway links these three campgrounds in an area called Upstate South Carolina. But my GPS had other ideas.
A 50 mile drive north brought me to Table Rock State Park.
The 100 sites here are in two separate areas, split 75/25.
A handy little store is near the larger campground. Can you see my car tire?
I liked numbers 13 and 81 among many others.
There is a nifty lake and beach for when the temperature warms up.
It will warm up, right? No more of those Polar Vortexes? I am wearing a down parka as I type this and my fingers are numb.
The park offers a lodge overlooking the lake and with a view of Table Rock.
If that lodge was open I would be there still. Relaxing in front of a warm fire while enjoying a plate of tacos.
But it was closed so I left.
Only 59 sites here but a few had lake views. Numbers 40 and 41 were good examples of them.
Realtors refer to these as seasonal views. Meaning that when there are leaves on trees the views disappear. Crafty folks, those realtors.
A big boat ramp and a snack bar are found on the lakeshore.
Now I am starting to sound like a realtor. Must stop.
Leaving Devils Fork, the road sign said 26 miles to Oconee State Park. My GPS said 8. Hmmm. Gotta trust technology, right?
Five of those miles were on a single lane dirt road that went through a river valley and over a mountain. Visions of "Deliverance" danced in my head. It was filmed nearby.
If I was dragging the trailer I would not have done it but everything worked out fine. I even came across a little waterfall on the side of the road.
And rejoined the highway a scant 3 miles from the park.
Spent an extra hour driving but saved a gallon of gas. Cool.
Oconee is one of the most popular inland campgrounds in South Carolina. I visited the four big coastal campgrounds back in late 2011 so if you want to read about those you will have to look them up on our website. I recommend that you do. Good stuff. Beautiful sunrises and Mutant Baby Feet.
Anyway, the park has 139 sites. 18 and 31 were next to one of the lakes.
Down by the day use area you will find a beach and boat rentals.
Definitely a destination campground.
That's it for now! Stay tuned as I visit more amazing campgrounds in the coming weeks.
Regards, Park Ranger