Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies - from the archives

May 30, 2015

 

The Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies in the Catawba River at Landsford Canal State Park are an amazing sight.  They bloom for a few weeks in May and June.  I had been there with friends a few times and always said I’d like to be able to get closer to the lilies for photos.

On a Saturday morning in 2002 (May 25) I decided at 7:00 AM to drive to the State Park in South Carolina to see the lilies and I was on the road by 7:30.  It was a solo trip that year – partly because it was spur-of-the-moment.  I got there about 9:30 and the parking lot was already full (though it is a small lot.)  There were about 5-6 people at the lily viewing area, a mile or so from the parking lot - one serious photographer with a lens as long as my arm.  It was a beautiful day and the lilies were amazing to see, but the sun was too bright and in the wrong direction and it was hard to get any decent pictures.  I spent a long time looking at the river, considered wading out to the area where the lilies are, thought the river was probably as low as it ever would be because of the drought we’d been having, and watched a kid about 15 years old fall several times trying to get out to the rocks where I wanted to go
.

 



Finally I decided to take the plunge (so to speak.)  It was slow going because the rocks were very slippery - I expected that, but had under-estimated how difficult the fast water would be in places and how difficult it would be to see the depth.  (The "route" I took wasn't deep - up to my knees - but I didn't want to take a step unless I could see the bottom.)  And of course I was going slowly because I didn't want to fall with my camera.  When I finally made it out to the area of the lilies, the 5 people who were on the bank all clapped.  I walked around the little area of rock and some in the muck taking pictures for about a half hour.  Coming back was a little easier - it was easier to see the bottom - maybe because of the angle of the sun – but still slow going.  When I got back onto the bank, there was an older couple there, very happy to see that I had made it back safely.  They were hanging onto each other and the woman said, "We were prayin' for you darlin'."  I thanked her.

 



On the ¾ mile walk back to the car, there were a LOT of people walking out to the viewing area.  I was glad I had gone early.  I'm not sure I would have waded out if there had been a crowd on the bank.  In fact I'm sure I wouldn't have.

 

The rocky shoalsThe rocky shoals


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