My first “camping” experience was at age fourteen. We set up a tent in my friend’s suburban backyard, spent the night under the clouds and telephone lines, and went back inside whenever we needed to use the restroom or a glass of ice water. Needless to say, my family isn’t very outdoors-y. It wasn’t until years later, when I finally found myself hiking through a State Park that I understood the draw to be completely immersed in nature. I spent three nights under real stars and never wanted to leave.
This picture isn’t how my trip looked, but it’s how my trip felt.
What is the Ultimate Outsider Challenge?
South Carolina is home to 47 State Parks. To become an Ultimate Outsider, you need to collect a stamp from each and every one. It’s a wonderful way to truly get out there and explore our state in ways we may not otherwise. For camping/hiking fiends, it’s a great excuse to do it even more. Another reason to go, in the famous words of George Mallory: “Because it’s there!” As a fun bonus, you also get a special t-shirt once you succeed.
There’s a common myth that to succeed in the challenge, you must visit all 47 Parks in one year. You can visit the parks at any time, you just have to visit them all! (That said, doing it all in one year makes for some great bragging rights.)
For those who are already t-shirted victors, the Parks also issued a second challenge: The 19 in 2019 Challenge. This one is pretty straightforward: revisit 19 of the parks in the year 2019. It’s already nearly July… tick tock!
State Parks in Old 96 District
Old 96 District is home to six State Parks– that’s a lot of birds with one stone! Some particularly notable ones within that are Hickory Knob State Park (the only one in South Carolina that is also a resort,) Musgrove Mill (a historic Revolutionary War site) and Lake Greenwood (it’s just dang pretty.)
Seriously, who wouldn’t want to wake up to a view like this?
The SC State Park’s website has information on each park, including where you can find each stamp. While you’re in the area, also consider checking out the local towns and see what hidden gems you stumble upon. Go forth on your adventure, happy campers. The great outdoors awaits!