SOUTH CAROLINA – ASHMORE HERITAGE PRESERVE
Photo Experience: Along the trail, on the way to Lake Watacoo, I found a couple of nice stands of mountain laurel as well as some pink lady’s slippers that were in excellent shape. Upon reaching the lake, I recommend going to the right, counterclockwise across the stone/earth dam. If you are there early in the morning on a clear day, a lake reflection may be something you want to try. (However, in the past, I’ve found a neutral density filter of about two stops necessary to get the sky and the reflection in the same tonal range.) I continued on across the dam, where I found mountain laurel in both bud and bloom. And then, a little further along, I encountered some beautiful grass pinks.
Other Info: This location is a part of the extensive Mountain Bridge Wilderness in upstate South Carolina. From the eastern intersection of US 276 and SC 11, go approximately 3.6 miles west on US 276/SC 11. Turn north (right using the above direction) onto Persimmon Ridge Road. Go approximately 0.8 mile to a parking area on the right. (After a short distance, Persimmon Ridge Road goes from asphalt to well-graded gravel.) The most commonly used trail is “up” Persimmon Ridge Road from the parking area, just past a large, wooden sign. However, I suggest going “down” Persimmon Ridge Road 50-60 feet to another trail that slopes down from the right side of the road. I’ve found this path to be both a more pleasant walk and more scenic, especially with respect to mid-spring wildflowers. (See the first sentence in the Photo Experience section above.)