The Calm Before the Storm

Back at the end of October I posted an image of a beautiful church in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with the promise of more pictures and stories to come. This post will bring you some of that.

Today’s image is from my camping trip back in October. I went to Calhoun Falls State Park in South Carolina. Upon my arrival to the campground, I setup my tent and got some of my campsite essentials setup as well. Table – check. Chairs – check. Cooler – check. Air mattress inflated and in the tent – check. Spectacular view of the lake – check! All that was left to do was to walk around the site, take it all in, snap some pics and just relax and enjoy the breathtaking beauty. Sounds easy enough right? Sure let’s go with that.

My specific campsite was surrounded by water as it was situated right at the edge of the lake. Rule number 1 when you camp in a tent: Anytime you are going to leave your campsite you should always zip up all open doors and windows to prevent water from entering said tent. Remember this rule and everything will be fine. So after taking care of that business it was time to explore the park as a whole.

I drove around checking out all of the other campsites so I could pick out my faves for my next visit. After that I proceeded to the day use area of the park for some exploration. This was such a beautiful park that I didn’t want to leave, but after making about a 10 hour drive to get there, all I could think of was getting some food. One of my favorite things to do is grill out. However I didn’t feel like doing that on this night so I had to drive over to the next town to hit a grocery store for some grub. Abbeville, South Carolina was about 25 minutes away from the camp. Insert rule number 1 here!

When I got there I located a nice grocery store and went inside. After perusing the store, I found some good-looking sandwiches in the deli, and a big bottle of tea. A perfect dinner to take back to the campsite and enjoy the beautiful scenery and sounds of nature. As I walked out the door and across the parking lot I was noticing how the full moon was illuminating the night sky. I thought to myself that would be so beautiful rising over the lake at the campsite. Again, we need to insert rule number 1 here.

As I started my Jeep I saw a flash of bright light. Surely that wasn’t lightning! I thought. Naw couldn’t be. I just saw the moon. As I made my way back down the road I saw light flashing again. Now I know that was lightning. Crazy! Then it started sprinkling rain. Do you remember rule number 1? “Anytime you are going to leave your campsite you should always zip up all open doors and windows to prevent water from entering said tent.” Yes, yes I remember that rule. I always practice that rule. Right?

Well under normal circumstances I follow that rule to a TEE. Except this time. Oh no! It absolutely did not look like rain when I left. I am still about 20 minutes away and by now it is raining so hard I can’t even see the road. I pull off into a parking lot to stay safe. I decided to check the weather radar. WOW! Heavy rain is just all over the place. I can tell by the map that the campsite is being hit really hard. I get back on the road and lightning is hitting all around me. I have to drive slow because of the deluge. I kind of figured by this time, what’s the point of worrying about it anyway. Whatever has happened is done and I can’t do anything about it.

As I finally pull in the park entrance, my headlights are no match for the driving rain pounding the darkness. I make my way slowly back to the campground and to my site. I pull into the driveway and just sit there. The rain is blowing sideways into the tent! The good news is that it is still standing. Only thing to do is sit and wait. And wait… After consuming my dinner in the Jeep, what seemed like hours of waiting, the rain finally quit. Once the lightning disappeared for good, I got out to survey the damage. My air mattress was covered in water as well as the whole tent floor. Looks like I’m sleeping in the Jeep tonight.

After a not so restful night, I awoke to birds chirping at the sunrise, signaling a new day. Looks like today will be awesome! Right after I dry everything off and get some breakfast. Now where did I put that towel?

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Please consider leaving a comment as I always enjoy hearing from my visitors! 😀

Please click on the image below to view full-screen.

This was taken at sunset right before I left to go get dinner. C’mon this does not look like a monsoon is about to let loose!

A beautiful sunset reflects upon the water in South Carolina at Calhoun Falls State Park.

A beautiful sunset reflects upon the water in South Carolina at Calhoun Falls State Park.

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Moonlight Sonata

This past Saturday, I spent the day at one of my favorite local parks; Fort De Soto Park. Situated on an island in Tierra Verde, FL, this park features miles of beaches, nature trails, a boat ramp, and a large campground just to name a few of the amenities. The namesake of the park comes from the fort that was built in 1898 as a coastline defense during the Spanish American War.

After spending the better part of the day exploring the fort and walking the beach, I headed over to the other side of the island to get setup for the moonrise. For this shot I wanted the Sunshine Skyway bridge in the background. I had already scouted out the area earlier in the day, so I knew about where the moon should appear on the horizon. I patiently awaited for it to show itself, but due to atmospheric conditions, it wasn’t actually visible until it had been up for about 13 minutes. I really liked this shot with the light reflecting on top of the water and just a hint of clouds above the moon.

For more information about the park and it’s interesting history click here.

To enjoy a larger view, please click on the image below!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I encourage you to join the conversation by writing your thoughts below as I truly like to hear from all of my visitors! 🙂