Friday, May 31, 2019

#LeapFrogs: The Boondocks, A Library, and Charleston

After our visit with Santa Claus, we headed toward Charleston. We'd found a free campsite online (at in the Francis Marion Forest so we headed for the town of McClellanville.

The campground offered vault toilets, and the listing had also said water, but when we got there, discovered the water pump had been removed. But the peace and quiet there was priceless.

Huge campsites, and only about ten in the whole place. We were surrounded by forest.

We loved being in the forest for 14 days, but we had one serious problem while we were there. 

These critters - caterpillars, tree worms, etc - were in abundance. They got in our clothes, on our tent, in our car. They were everywhere. At one point, Tim said one of our tent arms looked like I-75 in Atlanta during rush hour! And yes, I attempted to take a close up photo of this one crawling on my arm. This is the clearest shot I got with one hand. Ha! [In case you're wondering, NO! We did not kill any of these, intentionally, anyway. I kept thinking how beautiful they would eventually be. And in a future post, you'll see!]

After we set up camp, we went exploring for supplies. A Dollar General store was 8 miles away, the library 9 miles, and then we found this:

Then town provides free, clean drinking water for the public. (ALL TOWNS SHOULD DO THIS!)

We carry 4-5 gallon water bottles with us at all times (we wore out a couple of them, and haven't yet replaced), so we filled them up and refilled here every time we needed water. Such a blessing.

I fell in love with the town of McClellanville, for several reasons. It's not a touristy kind of town - it's laid back and family-oriented, and the people are hard working, primarily as a shrimping community.

Our favorite part of McClellanville though was the library - and the two librarians there. Michele and Pat became friends, and our time with them was very special. They're not only librarians, but they serve as role models and guidance counselors to the areas children who are left to fend for themselves all day. We visited the library several times during our two week stay, and every time, Michele and Pat were mentoring, teaching, guiding a group of active boys who visited daily for video games. Michele and Pat served as their caregivers, and they did it with more patience than humanly possible, and they did it with hearts of love. I'm so glad we met them.

We finally visited Charleston for a day. It's a beautiful city, but much newer than I expected it to be. I've always heard everyone compare Savannah and Charleston, with Charleston winning the "battle" of which one is best, but I have to disagree with that. Charleston seems like a cookie-cutter town of many other coastal cities. I didn't find the unique in Charleston that I find in almost every corner of Savannah.

And yes, that's my opinion, so I realize many won't agree with this assessment. Just remember, I was only there a day, and on a tight budget, so my vision may have been skewed a bit.

I found the Sweetgrass Highway intriguing. I saw various signs - some called it seagrass, others sweetgrass, others sawgrass. I asked a couple of basketmakers the difference, and never got an answer. The thing that intrigued me most was that all along this highway between Charleston and McClellanville sat little "huts" where basketmakers sold their goodies on weekends and special events. While we were there, most of the huts were empty - too early in the season - but they were fascinating to see.

I failed to get a photo of actual baskets. We saw them in the Charleston Visitor's Center and in the City Market, but I needed smelling salts after seeing the prices. They were beautiful though, so the craftsmanship is worth every penny. Here's an article that shares more about them.

Tim took up a new hobby while we were in McClellanville, too. He decided to start woodcarving again. He'd done a little of that years ago - he carved me a couple of beautiful crosses for my desk and pocket - but hadn't done much since. But we started talking about him having a hobby and he said he'd like to take up woodcarving again.

His first project was a "Really Rare Rabbit" inspired by Peggy Cunningham's beautiful series of children's books. Meet the beginnings of Chi Chi:

After two weeks in the woods, we were ready to hit the road again.

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