Friday, April 9, 2010

SC/FL Camping Day 3 – Friday

We were on a bit of a timetable for Friday, since Papa had a Webinar to attend at 1:00. Hoping to be in Savannah in time to sit at a restaurant table for lunch and have Papa set up with his computer and cellphone, we planned to be on the road by 10:00 and eat on the run. I got up a wee bit early figuring I would need to do a little post-storm clean up. I was right.

You’d think the campground being entirely on sand it would have drained pretty quickly rather than flood. And, mostly it did. It just mostly drained toward our camp, which was located in a bit of a low spot on a VERY flat plain. But, by the time I got up all the water has filtered down through the sand. You could tell exactly where the rain water collected during the night, because those areas (i.e. our campsite) were covered in pollen sludge. As were all of the items we had left out on the ground under the “protection” of the awning. The feet of the campstove, the feet of the campchairs, one end of the table extension, the bottom of the dog feeding station and water trough and the cooler, the kitchen rug, and Brother Bear’s brand new hydration backpack. The hose came in handy for hosing off (literally) the nasty yellow pollen sludge that was on everything. Luckily, it came off pretty easily since it hadn’t dried yet.

We managed to get the kids up and dressed and everything packed up just in time to pull out at 10:00 am as planned. It helped a lot that I had stowed all of the kitchen gear (except the stove) the night before, and we had decided to eat on the road rather than cook breakfast. That approach, or simply having cold cereal for breakfast, will probably serve us well during our July trip. We didn’t quite make it to Savannah in time for Papa’s Webinar, but staked out a Denny’s which worked out just fine. Within a couple more hours, we reached Little Talbot Island State Park.

Papa Bear’s first impression was “This is just like a landscape from Disneyland.” It is sort of like Pirates of the Caribbean meets Dixieland. There is something incredibly magical and other-worldly about driving into this little park with the stiflingly dense trees and shrubs and srub on both sides, with Spanish Moss draped everywhere.

The drive into camp.

The sky from our camp.

My first impression was, “Whoever first took a look at this place and decided this would be a nice place to live was certifiably insane.” Sort of like the scene from “Princess Bride” where Wesley says about The Fire Swamp, “It’s not that bad. Not that I’d want to build a summer home here, but the trees are quite lovely.” I’m pretty sure there were very few wives who volunteered to play pioneer in this place.

So, impressions aside, I can say this about Little Talbot Island State Park. Small sites, tightly packed together. There’s just no sense of privacy, and we hadn’t even pulled in and set up the rig before I was stressing out about “what the neighbors must think.” I guess I have left-over ideals from my childhood of setting up camp in the middle of nowhere, where the kids can be wild banshees, running off to explore and collect dead snakes and firewood, without parents worrying about “breaking the rules” or “disturbing the neighbors.” I understand the rules and the need for them, and for the fees associated with utilizing public lands in the form of State and National Parks (although the necessity of paying $4-6 for a bundle of 6 pieces of firewood is beyond me). But, part of me – okay, a HUGE part of me – feels like a HUGE part of camping is about letting the kids be wild banshees for a stretch of time, and that’s just not possible in a rule-ladened, civilized, government operated (or even privately operated) camp ground. The Last Child in the Woods is not only deprived of unregulated nature on their own home turf, but now, also, in Public Parks. Bugger. Where’s a mom supposed to take her wild, flamboyant, exuberant, adventurous boys where she’s not having to constantly shush and correct and civilize them? Where, I ask?!? Okay, rant over....

So, after a dinner of Bubba Burgers (which were awesome) and baked beans, we cleaned up the dishes and headed out for a night hike. Booboo’s been hounding me for a night hike for several months (don’t ask me where he got the idea), and this was our big opportunity. We took the dogs with us, so they could get most of their wiggly whinies worked out before bedtime. We experimented with turning off all of our flashlights to see if we could still make out the dirt road we were walking on (we could) and with seeing how quietly we could walk (not very); stopped long enough to listen to a critter in the bushes rustling around VERY loudly, and to determine that it must have been an armadillo (no soft-sided critter could afford to make that much noise and not be turned into dinner); and identified some basic constellations. Then the boys played “Hit The Deck” with Papa while I wrote this.

We experimented with a new sleeping arrangement, whereby we kept the “table” in the outdoor kitchen, and Zak slept on the “couch” rather than on the “table bed”. All very confusing, I know. But, I wanted to see if we could make everyone comfortable, including the dogs, without partially dismantling the kitchen at bedtime. Didn't work out very well, so back to the standard arrangement.

And, on to Day Four!

1 comment:

  1. Oooh! Oooh! We know some places to camp where we won't disturb the (non-existent) neighbors! Of course, you'd have to hike there. . .

    But seriously, there are spots that are less crowded. It's hard to find them if you're looking for a campground with power and water hookups, but they're out there. Also, with practice you start figuring out the camper culture: what's acceptable behavior, and what's likely to annoy. Then it's easier to relax. You've already found rule number one: introduce yourself and be friendly. That solves many potential problems! :)