2/28 – Drove from Ocala N.F., FL to Reed Bingham S.P. in South GA, basically just up I-75 a few hours. WACS is a group of women who own and camp in Aliner Campers like mine. Except really most of them don’t! They had been at the park I think 6 days before I got there, a few had already left, I think about a dozen or more of us in all. There were 3 Aliners there when I arrived, at least one had left, about 3 teardrops, 1 RPod, 1 Airstream, 1 Class C and 1 larger travel trailer.
Our list we made and took pictures of to help us remember. Notice we’re listed with our camper type and our dogs!! That’s what’s important, we’ll remember each others dogs before we’ll remember each others names! The group picture was on a walk on the River Trail the day after some had left and not everyone walked. Others took pictures of the larger group that I have on texts but don’t know how (or if) to move over here.
Most of the women had owned Aliners at some point before and WACS was formed years ago from members of the Aliner Owners Club. So anyway, not strictly Aliners, but all (at least at this gathering) are women camping solo. Most of them have known each other and camped together for years, and most of them are retired. Most it seems have grandchildren and that’s a big topic of conversation. There are several of these gatherings a year and it seems most of them mostly camp with this group or with someone from this group. I felt a little of an outsider, but they were very welcoming and inclusive and after awhile I felt very comfortable. I got there kinda late, around 5ish, and 2 of them came over to introduce themselves (and their dogs) and welcome me. There was a campfire that evening after supper, I love campfires and it’s always nice to have a group of folks, especially women, around a fire. (can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures of a campfire, we had one every night except one when it rained.) The next day (and every day thereafter) we took a couple of short hikes together, more like dog walks, around the Gopher Tortoise Trail, which was right behind where several of them were camped. I saw Gopher Tortoises twice, both times moving pretty fast scurrying into their holes. They are endangered and there’s a large restoration area here, as well as all over FL, for them.I think there were 6 dogs. Oh, and one cat, who didn’t go on the walks with us. :). Yes, people do camp with cats. That first day I also took another longer hike on a loop trail consisting of the Little River Trail and the Bird Trail that met at the far end to make a loop. Really really nice trails, about 2.4 miles. (When I finally got reset with data I started occasionally using Map My Hike). River trail went partially over boardwalks through swamps and wetlands and eventually along the Little River with a few really nice viewing areas.
I learned how to take a panorama picture. This is the wetlands area taken from the boardwalk. The right side of it is the same as the one above and the 2 sides are basically at right angles with each other, that middle isn’t an island. I guess a 180 pan isn’t going to look very realistic.
The native azaleas were in full beautiful bloom, along with lots of yellow Carolina Jasmine.
We went out for dinner that night at a nearby catfish restaurant, enough food for 2 meals. The next day I had to go into town for some shopping and an errand or 2 and some of the others went shopping also. That evening some of them went out for dinner again. I think they’d been there long enough they were tired of staying at the campground but I’d just gotten there, plus eating out very often isn’t in my budget. One of the women had unlimited hot spot box and she invited me (and others) to use it (wifi party!), so that’s what I did. Got caught up with email and banking and other on-line stuff, but not enough time for blog post.
I had a really nice campsite, under nice big spreading oaks, lots of space, backed up to woods. It was still hot so shade was nice.
Pollen is really bad right now, my car and camper are covered, even the table cloth and rug get covered every day. Met some nice folks across the road from me, newly retired and newly fulltimers from Canada. Enjoyed hearing their travel stories. Again I was there over the weekend when it absolutely filled up, large campground, then emptied out on Sunday. There was a lake there, so lots of boats and kayaks. One day I walked around the pretty large lake.
As I said, we had a campfire every night with good conversation, mostly around getting to know each other and dogs (and grand children!). And we hiked the trails together every day. I like to camp with a group of people sometimes, and I also like camping alone, both have their good and bad points. I like having more natural or historical sites to explore. This campground was very nice, mostly centered around the lake, and one (two short ones put together) really really nice trail, one of the best I’ve seen. But I think I need more of that kind of thing. And possibly being with a group might have been a bit more enjoyable if they’d been a group of my friends, even tho I enjoyed meeting these women, and next time will already know them.
I didn’t have reservations from that point on and was having trouble getting any. I was able to get one at Frances Marion National Forest in SC so off we went.
3/5 – Buck Hall Recreation Area in Frances Marion National Forest, near Charleston, SC.
So much different scenery in such a short period of time. This place is wonderful!! A very small campground right on the Intercoastal Waterway.
It’s old, bathhouse in need of repair, only one volunteer host (no other staff), but I love it, one of my favorites. What a find. Has H2O and elec hookups, but is only $20/night – $10 with senior card. It would be a great place to camp and then venture into Charleston and other island and sites off SC coast, as well as enjoy it’s own gifts. I sat on a bench and watched boats big and little pass by and watched for dolphins, saw pelicans sitting on the water and leisurely grab their meal from the water instead of diving.
You could see the ocean, looked like the water level was higher than the waterway or the sand banks and islands between. Lots of very nice trails, the Palmetto Trail, another of the mountains to sea trails, goes through it. We hiked some of it. Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is right over the waterway, Bull Island, with a little ferry to take you there. No cars, no roads, no development.
I didn’t have time for all that, I was able to get a last minute reservation at Huntington Beach State Park, a campground I’ve wanted to go to ever since I first saw it, for a couple of nights, but I think I’m coming back here to Buck Hall to see more. They even have an overflow where you can boondock if there are no campsites available, which is the way a lot of National Forests work it.
So off to Huntington Beach, which in real time is where I am now. Tomorrow I’ll try to post some about it before I leave, then backtrack down 17 for a couple more days at Buck Hall.
Til then, Happy Trails and Happy Tails
Lynn and Xena