One more post about my CGOA trip, because I saw some cool things on my way home that I want to share with you!
I took my time driving back from South Carolina so I could see some sites. I had three things that I really wanted to do: play in the ocean, hike to the top of Clingmans Dome in the Smokies, and visit the National Quilt Museum.
Sunday morning I headed to Edisto Beach, South Carolina to visit the Edisto Beach State Park. The drive there from Charleston was gorgeous, with giant trees lining the winding road and lots of marshy areas. It was a stormy day, which made for a pretty cool sky over the beach:
I played in the water for quite a while, and had a great time. I was worried that the beach might be crowded since it was a weekend morning, but there were only a few other people in the area I was, so I had lots of space to float on the waves and just relax. The water was the perfect temperature and, since I took a little in from a surprise wave, I can also tell you it was pretty salty.
I love the way the water made this pattern in the sand on the shore:
There may be a surface pattern design in there.
After the beach, I headed to Congaree National Park outside of Columbia, SC. I don’t have any pictures of the park because my phone overheated while giving me directions from Edisto Beach and I thought it needed some cool down time, but it was a really amazing place—like no place I had been before. It was also super humid, as storms had rolled through and more were approaching. I hiked the Boardwalk Loop Trail, which took me through the muggy forest. I saw a couple of deer, and then the wind picked up and limbs started falling off the trees, so I picked up my pace and managed to finish the trail before the heavy rain arrived. I did get to drive through that rain on my way to Columbia, where I stayed for the night.
I stopped at the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden before I left town Monday. Because I wanted to get on the road, I only went to the botanical garden. I found some cool colors and patterns there:
I even found a turtle!
From Columbia, I headed to Cherokee, NC, just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway for part of the trip, which was just lovely:
There was a bird singing to me while I took this picture, but I never got a good look at him.
I had to do some laundry when I got to Cherokee because my semi-dry beach clothes from the day before were stinking up the car. Then I got some rest in anticipation of my big hike the next day.
I’ve been to the Smokies a few times. A couple of years ago Mike and I went and tried to hike up Clingmans Dome, but I don’t think we even made it halfway. Last year, I went with some friends and it was very foggy, so we didn’t even attempt to go up because we wouldn’t have been able to see anything.
I should say, the trail up Clingmans Dome (the highest point in the Smokies) is only a mile, half a mile up and half a mile down, and it is paved, but the trail is incredibly steep. I figured I had all day to make it to the top, so I started early and went slow. I stopped at every bench along the way and rested on a few rocks and trees, too. Fortunately, there were a lot of pretty things to look at while I caught my breath, and I listened to tons of happily buzzing bumble bees. I did finally make it to the top. I was tired and excited as I turned a corner and came to this:
Ugh! I still had to climb to the top of the observation deck! I drug myself up that big ramp and was rewarded with scenes like this:
Yay! I looked across the mountains for a while, hiked down the dome, and then got in the car and drove to Kuttawa, KY to spend the night.
Wednesday morning, I went to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. It was so cool! Photos aren’t allowed in the gallery, so I don’t have anything to show you, but if you head over to their website, you can see a few images. One of the exhibits at the museum now is “Art Quilts of the Midwest.” I just loved it! There were so many unique and beautiful pieces in this collection.
After the museum, I headed back to Kansas City. I was bummed that my trip was over, but I was happy to sleep in my own bed again.
Until next time,