Neither rain nor sleet nor snow will stop a state park interpreter from taking a hearty group on a nature walk.
Sesquicentennial State Park
interpreter Stacey Jensen made a miserable weather day a fun trek through the woods recently. The Winter Nature Walk is about a half-mile stroll along Sesqui’s nature trail with Jensen pointing out plants, wildlife and other items of interest.
The nine-year veteran of the state park service knows her stuff, and it’s obvious she loves her work, which makes it all the more enjoyable for those attending. Jensen will lead Our Wild Neighbors
, which focuses on wildlife at the park, 2-3:30 p.m., March 10 at the park.
The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children 15 and younger and for South Carolina seniors and includes the price of admission to the park. The walk is free for State Park Passport Plus holders. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes for hiking. You can register by calling (803) 788-2706 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
For our walk, Jensen kindly pointed out what poison ivy looks like in the winter so we can avoid it year-round. It will give you a rash even without its leaves. We saw loblolly pines – the tall thin pine trees that are most common in South Carolina forests – other trees that serve as winter hosts for yellow-bellied sapsuckers and a cactus bed.
We didn’t see much wildlife on our day, just a few geese and ducks that were the only animals besides crazy humans willing to be out on such a nasty day. And there is the box turtle that lives the park office. But Jensen says the park has foxes, raccoons, deer and even a few coyotes have been heard on the 1,400-acre property.
For me, Sesqui is one of the more familiar state parks since I live just a few miles away in Columbia
. But the park has had several updates and upgrades in recent years that make it more accessible.
Sidewalks crisscross the main picnic area, which also includes new cemented pads. The Sandhills Hiking Trail has been paved to allow better access for park users who need a smooth flat surface and a new bridge has been built over Jackson Creek, which feeds the 30-acre lake at the park and provides a small waterfall.
Visitors can kayak and canoe in the lake and fish for bass and bream, though it is recommended that you do catch-and-release on the bass because of concerns about mercury levels in larger fish in South Carolina waterways. The bream, however, are fine for eating. Read more about Sesquicentennial Fishing Regulations here
Leashed pets are allowed in most outdoor areas and Sesqui offers an off-the-leash dog park for $4 a day. Owners are required to provide current vaccination records and proof that their animal has been spayed or neutered to be able to use the dog park.