You may have heard people talking this week about how there was going to be a Super Moon on Saturday night. My family and I went in search of the Super Moon on the side of a mountain with a spectacular view. We visited “Pretty Place” Chapel at the YMCA Camp in Greenville, South Carolina.
Our story began a year ago when we took a chance and ventured out on a day trip to the Greenville area. Being the planner that I am, I packed a full day’s worth of sightseeing and picture taking of waterfalls in the area. I read about “Pretty Place,” but I had never seen it for myself so I just “had” to do that while in the area. It was the same night that a Super Moon was to appear last year as well.
We made our way around the mountain last year with visions of what it would look like when we arrived. We hadn’t checked the weather forecast, and even if we had, it was so high up that the weather is so unpredictable at that level. We took a chance anyway. Once we reached the top, there it sat in all of it’s glory; “Pretty Place!”
Once out of the vehicle, and still very much in awe, we walked slowly to the chapel that stood before us. As if showing reverence, we bowed our heads as we entered the structure. There were pews like a regular church, only this was open on the sides, unlike a regular church structure. At the very end stood a magnificent wooden cross.
The weather started to quickly change just as the sun was setting, but we waited still with others who had gathered that evening to catch a glimpse of the Super Moon. As we waited, we met a gentleman and his girlfriend. They were a friendly couple, and we struck up a conversation about our cameras. He shared his camera with me and how it worked, and immediately I fell in love with it and knew I HAD to have one just like it. He provided the name and where to get a good deal, and that very week I set off in search of a camera just like his for my very own!
Disappointment set in as we realized that storms were rolling in. Just at the time we had hoped to see the Super Moon, we saw clouds and fog rising instead. Then the rain started pouring down, and we were forced to vacate “Pretty Place” and make our way down the mountain. We couldn’t be too upset, though, for we spent the evening with some mighty fine people. They lived in the area and had attempted to photograph the Super Moon three times already without any luck. However, they did take some pictures prior to our arrival, and they said they would email those to us since our pictures only captured the rising clouds and fog behind the cross. Sure enough, the next week, our new found friends emailed pictures, and we connected on Facebook! That night, we certainly did make two new and precious friends!
We went to “Pretty Place” expecting to see something spectacular, when what actually happened is that we ended up feeling it instead. We felt the sacredness of the chapel, the strong connection to God at that elevation, and our hearts were humbled.
We made new friends that night, and they weren’t just friends in passing. No, they have proved to be true as THIS year when we heard of the dates of the Super Moon, we sent them a Facebook message asking if they were going to try for the fourth time to capture the Super Moon at “Pretty Place.” Sure enough, they were planning on trying again, and they said, “See you there!” That was all it took, and a road trip was on!
All week long I looked forward to this event, and I made sure to pack my camera with an extra battery “just in case.” My oldest daughter is really getting into photography now, too, so she had her camera ready as well! Then, we set out Saturday for our adventure.
As we arrived, the same feelings enveloped us as we made our way to the chapel. Sure enough, our friends were there waiting with their camera in hand. He, wearing his cowboy hat, with her seated just a little ways from him knitting. These people just make me smile. They are the nicest people, and who would have ever thought a friendship could have been formed like this! It has been, though, and we couldn’t be happier!
They greeted us as they saw us enter the chapel to walk down to take our seats. The gentleman said they almost had given up on us due to how close it was to the time for the moon rise. We explained about our long travel to reach our destination, but we were determined to be there for this Super Moon. He, then, said that pictures would be up to me that night as his batteries were dead. I reached into my bag and produced an extra battery for him to use, since we now have the same camera, and his face lit up! He thanked me for “saving the day!” And within a few minutes, as we waited with our friends and several others that had gathered, the Super Moon made it’s presence known. It was subtle at first, slowly rising faintly in the sky, to which I wanted to squeal with delight when I saw it before our friends did! Then this beautiful moon, in all of it’s brilliant colors, rose higher in the sky and appeared closer as it positioned itself perfectly in the sky. We were in awe! How absolutely marvelous it was to see the Super Moon in all of it’s glory at “Pretty Place” surrounded by our family and friends! How reassuring to know that our Father in Heaven made ALL of this with His strong and mighty hands, and yet gently formed us, every detail of us, even knowing how many hairs we have on our heads … there are no words!
In the distance you could hear all of the wondrous sounds of nature as if the creatures were celebrating alongside us and praising God by raising their voices as well. We sat quietly listening, allowing it to calm us and speak to our very souls.
The ranger came to advise us that they needed to shut the gates, so we would all have to vacate the premises. Ah, but it was so very beautiful while it lasted, and our friends were successful on their fourth trip to “Pretty Place” and were able to finally capture the Super Moon! We were thrilled that we were able to do so on our second trip!
We took one more glance, one more picture …
We followed our friends down the side of the mountain, and halfway down, they turned off to a place called Bald Rock. They messaged us, and soon we turned around and joined them. We thought “Pretty Place” was breathtakingly beautiful, and it is … but standing on top of Bald Rock looking out at the vastness of the sky and the depth below us with this giant spotlight of a moon above us … it was absolutely amazing! My youngest daughter was so taken with Bald Rock, she said it was as if she was walking on the moon for the rock had “craters” that you could imagine being like those on the moon. We decided to lay on this massive rock and just “be” … be one with nature, be one under the beautiful sky with our family and friends, be one with God! What a wonderful feeling to just “be” surrounded by such beauty and such love from God.
We had a wonderful evening and could not wait to share “Pretty Place” with you! If you are ever in the Greenville, South Carolina area, whether it’s on a night of the Super Moon or not, please be sure to check this jewel out! Be prepared and forewarned as it will take your breath away! Pictures do not do this place justice!
I will lift up my eyes to the hills … Psalm 121:1