June 22, 2009
Poinset State Park
It's been a quiet week here at Poinset State Park. There is a peacefulness to this place that is very rejuvenating.
We left Savanna, GA early last Monday morning and headed North on I-95. Along the way were the usual stops for food, supplies and gas. At S.R. 261 in SC we headed West towards the park. It was nice to finally get away from Interstate routes. How many McDonalds, KFC, South Of The Border and motel billboards can one see without going totally brain dead? Along 261 we passed through farms, forests and the small towns of Paxville (pop. 248) and Pinewood (pop. 459). While waiting at the only stoplight in Pinewood, we read that the local gas-mart offered liver pudding, butt meat and souse - not items you come across everyday. For those not familiar with rural Southern cuisines, souse is a headcheese sausage made from the meats of heads and feet; usually pork. I asked Deb if she would like to sample some of the local fare, but she passed. It's an acquired taste.
Poinset State Park is about as far from everything as one can find. It is bordered by both the Manchester State Forest and a large U.S.A.F. gunnery range. Even after turning off of 261 there is an almost two mile drive to the park entrance. The nearest convenience store is almost ten miles away. That kind solitude may seem inconvenient for many people, but what a beautifully quiet atmosphere it provides.
The park was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corp. during the years 1937-38. Covering 1000 acres, it has a unique ecosystem that blends elements of both the upstate and coastal regions. We spent one morning hiking a 1.7 mile trail around the lake that was downright rugged at points. For this part of the country, the trails have a very high mountain feel to them. The campsites are clean and level, the staff friendly and the facilities spotless. The best part is the cost. An eight night stay, including 30 amp. electrical hookup and water, is only $113.00.
The only noises we did hear were weekday practice maneuvers of a fighter jet squadron over the gunnery range. At times they flew low enough to shake the ground. But they reminded me of thoughts I had while in Savanna. During the weekend mornings there we heard the sounds of mortor explosions from the National Guard Training Center. My first thought in both places was a reminder of the awesome powers of our armed forces. Then another thought arose. Unfortunately in too many places today around the world, and for too many people, these sounds are a routine occurrence - but it's not practice. Perhaps this was precipitated by the fact that my nephew's Army unit is scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan in August. Let us hope that all of our troops can return safely as soon as possible.
Update you later on our travels from somewhere down the road.
Photgraphs by Debbie
copyright 2009 Lane A Geyer