We are two weeks into our adventure, and with each day I am realizing that I could have never planned this trip out. Every day something happens and I think back to the planning process and say, “I would have never thought that would have happened.” Like when I was stressing about wanting to have several campfires, but didn’t want to spend $5 on a stack of firewood each day. I would have never known we would be tearing down fences and be told to take the remnants because it’s great firewood. Or that we would find such fun in driving around the campground after campers leave and grabbing the left behind wood. Now, after many months of worrying about firewood, we have a stack that would get many through a whole winter.
Much of what we stress about never happens. Such a waste of time!
Like how I worried so much about Gunner barking and upsetting the neighbors. What I didn’t know is that we would have THE WHOLE CAMPGROUND TO OURSELVES!! Literally, 1 out of 75 spots are taken. He can bark all day and only the passing Ranger will hear it.
As you can tell, things are going quite well for us. We have been working on some interesting projects. We couldn’t have asked for more fitting jobs. Our first couple of days we spent building a stone walkway with Mike, a maintenance worker here at the park. The walkway leads to the Nature Center and the major Trail Heads. Given the location we would see several people an hour, and it was so rewarding to hear each person compliment us on how good it looks. Such a satisfying job. We also loved the fact that there will always be a part of us left behind at Table Rock State Park. We can come back years down the road and look at the walkway, remembering how we fit each piece like a puzzle! We were able to learn a lot about setting the stone, and also about Mike. He was so interesting and we listened to his stories of walking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail, all of which he walked several times along with his wife. So amazing.
We celebrated Thanksgiving with a hike to the top of Pinnacle Mountain right here in the State Park. This was technically considered “work” since we were scoping and clearing the Ridge Trail along the way. Again, this was a day I worried about for several weeks prior to the trip for no reason. I was concerned I would be homesick being away from home for my first holiday ever and spending it at a campground. Luckily, I think the excitement and beauty of our surroundings made it ok. Plus, we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with both my family and Erik’s the weekend before we left, so I didn’t feel like I was missing it. So, Thanksgiving was a day full of hiking, cooking, and football.
We spent this past Saturday exploring Greenville, SC. We first stopped at Paris Mountain State Park, the other park we considered staying at. We really liked it, but we were happy that we chose Table Rock. The campground was much more crowded and small. Also, you cannot beat the views we have here. However, this park is a known mountain biking park and we could see why. The trails were fast and winding and looked real fun. We will go back there soon to ride!
After a nice hike, we went into Downtown Greenville. This is an area I have wanted to visit ever since I saw it listed as the #1 Place to Live in Outdoor Magazine. The minute we walked into this city we LOVED IT. I don’t know if it had something to do with the fact that we have been in such a secluded area for so long, or if it really was THAT beautiful, but I think it was the later. Falls Park on the Reedy was so enchanting. I have never seen a city like this. It seemed to be so well planned out from the river to the waterfalls, to the restaurants and the layout of the streets and signage. There is a restaurant for every taste, flavor, want and need. From first glance we fell in love with Greenville, SC faster than Asheville, NC…something I didn’t expect!
(Click on pics for slideshow)
Back at the campground we continue to work jobs we love. I have been given the task of painting letters for a sign, which has been so fun for me. They brought it right to our campsite so I spend time at night, listening to our music, campfire going, Christmas lights lit, losing myself in the task of staying within the lines.
We have also been cutting down small trees around cabin 5 and cabin 7, giving each better mountain and lake views. Just what I had wanted, physical labor! I usually run every day, sometimes in the trails and at times on the road that goes around the park. This road route offers some great climbs, which don’t seem to get any easier. The trail route I usually do combines two separate trails, Carrick Creek and Lakeside Trail, both amazingly beautiful in their own way.
The mix of having the whole campground to ourselves, jobs that challenge us physically and teach us something new, a camper that feels like home, our backyard the most beautiful state park I have ever seen, free use of all facilities, maintenance equipment, boats, fishing equipment, etc….this mix has made for an amazing first two weeks.
What I really love is how I am just surrounded by such love and reminders of friends from home. We drink coffee every morning out of mugs given to me by best friends. The cards I received from friends hang on the walls of the camper. The key to the trailer is on an awesome key chain given to me another bestie, Trish. I wear head bands, tanks and shorts given to me by clients. I burn candles from friends while we play board games given to us by Annette and Mom and Dad. We eat sweets at night that my book club girls gave me. A prayer flag and Tibetan statue surround the sink given to me by Loren, so I think of her every day. I write in my journal every day given to me by my best friend Bridget. I could go on forever. The point is, all day, every day I use something or see something that reminds me of home. This makes me happier than anything. While enjoying the solitude and alone time with my boys, I am still surrounded by so many of my loves at home!
With that, I would say that the only negative has been NO CELL SERVICE and only Internet at the visitor center. I think this has been a blessing and a curse. I don’t want anyone to think I am not thinking of them or not reading their emails/texts/instagram messages but I literally cannot get any reception for more than 30 seconds. Very annoying, but forces us to disconnect, which is probably a blessing. So, please don’t take it personal that I have not reached out. In a few weeks we will be in Florida and I will catch up with you all!!!