Melissa R.
Easley , SC
Joined April 2019
We made the best of a terrible weekend

I don't think we could have picked a worse weekend to try out a new camping spot than we did this past weekend. I had made my reservation online last week and didn't even bother checking the weather information - after weeks of great weekends I'm sure it sound continue right? Lol! Mother nature didn't agree! So we made the best of a bad situation - finally out of the house and kids at home with babysitter - 100% chance of rain all weekend….. ALL WEEKEND. Lol yep it was perfect planning (insert facepalm). It was very easy to get to and find. We had stopped at the main building but it looked as if a wedding was setting up (rain is good luck at a wedding!) so we continued down to the second building - the distillery! The lady there was so friendly and a Clemson student. She gave us the info on the farm, on were we needed to go and of the lovely distillery that we of course took samples of. I believe it was $7 and we could sample all of them and keep the shot glass. They were so good! We bought two mini bottles and followed the trail around the back of the store to get to our camping spot. Again everything was labeled to easily know where you're going. I do say it's been pouring rain this whole time and is still pouring rain when we get to the site. We knew before we left that it was going to be raining so we decided to skip the tent and the hammocks (this mostly because we didn't know the tree situation) and try something new. A new camping spot and a new camping situation - we're camping IN the jeep! We quickly got the shelter up and get comfy. Hubby waited no time at all to throw a rod in the water - we're near water and he's got fishing poles… He's fishing! We caught a good many of them in spite of the terrible weather. I believe the whole weekend we got maybe 2 hours of no rain. The area is a nice size and no one else was there (I'm not sure if they book multiples at this spot but we had the whole place). The only concerned I had is that there was a very large fire ant hill really close to the tree and fire pit that may be a hazard to someone not paying attention - luckily the rain kept them in their home. We're already planning on going back with nicer weather so we can really enjoy the fishing. It doesn't get any better camping on the lake!

Ranger Review: Gregory Women's Jade 53 in Mayan Teal on the East Fork Trail

Trail/Campground Review:

The East Fork trail at the end of Burrells Ford is quite an easy trail!  It's 2.5 miles one way from either end of the Chattooga Picnic Area adjacent to the Walhalla Fish Hatchery and at the end of Burrells Ford and following the Chattooga River.  The terrain is at times muddy with the natural streams cutting through, rocky with the many river rock stones lieing around, and just good ol' natural dirt.  There were some hard spots from fallen trees we had to travel over, and at one moment i thought i would tip over by the weight of my bag - but everything stayed put!

The Burrells Ford has several different camping options… you can drive in and park and hike a small bit to a spot near the river (this parking lot has a community pit toilet), you could go past that to the trail head where you park on the side of the road and hike in to MANY hiking spots off the trail (just stay on established trails!), or you could follow the road through and find several pull off drive in camp sites along the road.

We choose the hike in and we didn't have to hike far before we found out perfect camping spot on the river.  After looking over the area we set up camp and got our fire started for the many meals we had packed in (one thing is for sure camp food is the best!!).  We tried our hand at some fishing but the fish just wasn't biting that day - maybe some other time.

A little backpacking tip for those looking for cheap DIY fire starters: cardboard egg crates, dryer lint, and candle wax. it's still the same concept as the toilet paper rolls stuffed with dryer lint, but you're using the egg crate as your holder. Granted it won't burn the same as the original but it's still great for starting fires!

It was just so perfectly peaceful!

Product Review:

As a ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test out new gear that I might find useful for my upcoming trip.  For my trip I purchased the Gregory Women's Jade 53 in Mayan Teal.  This bag couldn't have been more perfect!  It was just the right size in size XS/SM for me.  I'm 5'6" tall and probably about 140 pounds give or take.  I've provided a photo to show how it sits on me.

I loved how the whole inside of the bag is just one large opening that can be accessed from THREE different points= top, middle, and bottom.  A bonus feature I didn't know of until I started to pack is that there is a detachable shelf that will separate the bottom section from the rest of the bag but still remain accessible if needed. This came in handy as I was able to keep my shoes separate from my spare clothes. 

Another thing I really loved was the many pockets and straps and bungees that were easy to put stuff in and strap on.  Nothing fell off even as I was hitting branches!!

My husband is very jealous right now and is searching for his own very soon!!

Sumter national forest is so beautiful

Such a beautiful place to camp, fish and hike! They have hike in campsite in the park as well as the trail and even secluded drive-in campsites. Only downfall is that it's becoming a little too popular with teens (and/or immature adults). We've been there on a few occasions where there's been an issue of loud noises, illegal hunting, and bags of trash being left behind. please take care of our parks!

Falls creek trail hike

We did a short day hike to check out the camp sites and look at the waterfalls. We went on the weekend and was pretty late start so we did have to wait a good while to be let in the park - minor annoyance but it was OK. The trails and the park are so very well kept up! Was a beautiful day and hike. We are definitely coming back and looking into getting the year pass since it's so close to home.

August 2018 - OK park but Fire Ant infestation

It's a really great park. We stayed in the rustic tent site T8, and was quite surprised it had a water spicket (faucet) for easy water access. (Something we may have overlooked as a site feature, as it was our first visit). Our only complaint was the entire campsite was one large fire ant hill! We had to travel to the local dollar general to get ant spray to help with the infestation. We only camp rustic so we're used to bugs but this was insane. Every step we took or every place we sat would soon be swarmed with ants as that's what fire ants do. Once we sprayed the area we were finally able to safely enjoy our campsite. The view was wonderful! Besides the ants it was a fantastic campsite! (BTW I would not recommend hammock camping here as the ants were also on a lot of trees, ropes we had were covered when we took them down) Will provide photos I took off all the rustic sites: T3 - T8