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Flooded Lilies

posted May 28, 2018, 3:49 PM by Justin P   [ updated Jun 8, 2018, 3:49 PM ]
Saturday, I met up with Justine for some hiking and camping in South Carolina over the Memorial Day Weekend.  We left Chapel Hill a little after 8 and took I-85 to Charlotte and then south on I-77.  In South Carolina, we took US-21 south to Landsford Canal State Park.  The Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies should have been in peak bloom this weekend.  However, heavy rains in the NC mountains had caused flooding on Catawba River and the water level was really high.

Arriving at about 11, we had lunch and then started our hike.

At the guard lock, we went left at the split for Nature Trail, which follows the river closely.  Although many of the spider lilies were underwater, a number of spiderwort were blooming along the trail, safely above the water.

At one point, we spotted a large worm that I initially thought was a snake.

A ranger helped later identify it as a shovel-headed garden worm.  It had rained earlier but was mostly dry for our hike.

In a short ways, we came to the Spider Lily Overlook.  Although the water level was way up, a number of lilies were above water.

It wasn't really what we were hoping for, but at least we got to see some of the lilies.

Other flowers were blooming on dry land.

Near the overlook, we saw more spiderwort and other flowers blooming.

Continuing on Canal Trail, we passed one of several culverts used to divert water from tributaries to the river.

Further on was the ruins of the mill complex where the trail ran between stone retaining walls to protect the mill.

At the far end, we came to the Upper Locks.

The stonework was really beautiful and this was a fun area to climb around.  A stone bridge led over the locks at the far end.

It was really interesting seeing how much the locks went up.  After some pictures, we began making our way back.

After passing the mill complex again, there was another culvert here.

At the split, we headed back on Canal Trail.  At the end, we stopped to see the guard lock.

The trails rejoined back at the river.

We stopped at the ranger station to inquire about the worm and then concluded our hike.  From here, we headed to our home for the weekend at Kings Mountain State Park.  There was quite a storm on the drive over, but it had cleared up by the time we arrived.  A group of scouts had taken our spot so we called the park office and moved to primitive group site 6.  The scouts mentioned a reenactment at Kings Mountain National Military Park, so we made the short drive over there.  The reenactments were over, but the Military through the Ages exhibits were still up so we could walk around and talk to the people.

Military setups from different wars were on display.

We saw some of the rifles and small arms used in World War II.

They also had parachutes from the war, including one packed in 1943.  One "soldier" let me get a picture holding an M1 Garand rifle, but I had to put on my best "war face".

These early semi-automatic rifles gave American troops an advantage over the enemy using bolt-action rifles.  Food rations, a precursor to today's MREs, showed each meal, breakfast, dinner, and summer, came with four cigarettes, but only supper came with toilet paper.

A doctor from the 18th century displayed many of the herbal remedies and crude medical devices and herbal medicines used at the time.

He had a working blade machine used for blood-letting, a cure-all remedy from the era.  Another exhibit had a portable belt-fed machine gun that was transported and operated by five men.

After exploring the exhibits, we stopped by the visitor center and then made our way back to camp.  It was dry throughout the evening and we were able to make a campfire.  Looking at the forecast, it was likely to rain heavily Sunday evening and throughout the day Monday, so we decided to head back Sunday night.  After dinner and hanging out around the campfire, we retired to our tents.  Almost immediately after getting in, it started to rain heavily - great timing.  The rain died down over the evening and stopped by morning.