this time it's outside of chester, SC. I landed here as if by design, after a botched attempt at going elsewhere.
Anybody thing the worlds too crowded for creepy desolation? I give you Woody Haven Recreation Area, sitting all by itself at the edge of the Sumter National Forest. This was my desstination, according to my trusty "Camping in the Carolinas" book, which has never failed me.. until now.
An unbelievable number of tunrs after I crossed the Carolina border, I finally arrived at the campground at about 7:15, or right on time, as we like to say.
The thing was—there was one shirtless guy there, with his pickup truck and a tent. Now, granted, I'm merely one shirted guy with his station wagon and a tent, but I had my doubts. I was prepared to stay, but there was something offputting about the place. Some desperation there. Maybe it was the decimation caused by the fir beetle plague that had struck here (many downed fir trees) or the fact that a forest fire was evident in the recent past, or the lack of another living soul… or maybe it was just the one shirtless guy.
Anyway, I split. I couldn't level the tent, so I split. The thing was, I had repeatedly considered going to Chester, because there was a state park there, and—you know— the dot on the map looked promising, and—hey—it's a place called Chester. So I hopped back into the very nicely-behaving Ms. Volvo (btw, she threatened to overheat at the desolation campground—bad sign) and we headed down the road about another half hour and had no problem finding Chester State Park, where the super waved me off when I asked to pay, and told me I could just pop the pin out of the park gate if I got back after they closed it. Did I mention that the place is a paradise of spruce trees, on a lake, with just enough campers to remove the creepy but not too many.. One thing: it is damned hot here. Shit, it's hot. I'm thinking about sleeping in the lake.