Monday, November 18, 2013

Sveiciens svētkos and another guest come and gone

Happy Latvian Independence Day! For a quick background, please read my post 18. novembris. Last year we invited our local Latvians over to celebrate, and the evening was such a success that we are hosting everyone again tonight; this means that as you read I am furiously scraping banana and oatmeal off the floor and vacuuming up cheerios from all corners of the house.

Brīvības piemineklis, the Freedom Monument in Rīga, Latvija
Last weekend was much more relaxed as a friend from the east coast was visiting, giving us the opportunity to play tourist in Greenville, do some shopping and eating out, and to take our usual tour of the Upstate. At our traditional first stop, Wildcat Wayside, we noticed several improvements have been made to the trails: in addition to informational placards and trail blazes, landscaping has drastically changed the formerly muddy slope at the base of the Lower Wildcat Falls. We hiked the loop to the Upper Wildcat Falls, enjoying the colorful foliage and fresh air. At the old chimney we learned from a brand new sign that this area was originally established as a Park during the Great Depression; the National Park Service was experimenting with small wayside parks along major highways utilizing a New Deal workforce and providing picnicking, fishing and hiking to newly mobile American.

The small falls above Lower Falls on the left, and Upper Falls on the right
The views from Bald Rock were different as well, the forests below dressed in the bright colors of autumn. The post Zinta and the Blue Ridge Escarpment explains the geography of the area for those interested.

A quick walk through Devil’s Kitchen (the long crevice that leads from the overlook on Caesar’s Head to the view of the park’s namesake rock feature) and a break for lunch at one of the picnic tables at Caesar's Head State Park left us refreshed but slightly chilly.

There was a bluegrass festival occurring at Table Rock State Park. Daina and I took the rare opportunity to view the interior of the lodge, one of the CCC built structures within the park. The second floor was packed wall to wall with bluegrass aficionados, but the first floor was completely empty, leaving us free to explore. This lodge is the first place I’ll reserve when we organize a family reunion here in SC; everyone can stay in the park cabins and come together in the lodge: drinking coffee on the deck, rocking in front of the giant fireplace or sharing meals in the beautiful pine dining hall.

A quick stop at the Visitor Center and lake, then on to Pumpkintown, after which we headed south back to Greenville and a huge dinner at Henry’s Smokehouse. We still had plenty to show our guest, but it would have to wait until the next day.


  1. Happy Independence Day…

    We have not been to the areas you pictured today… We know where the areas are --and need to go there sometime… As many waterfalls as we have seen, I'm surprised that we haven't seen either Wildcat Falls YET….

    Have a great day.

  2. Fall is looking beautiful over there. Hope your evening was a huge success. Happy Latvian Independence Day!!! Mel x


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