Edisto Beach, South Carolina

I spent a relaxing couple of days in Edisto Beach, SC. It’s a lovely little beach village. I had always known about them, from reading or watching shows, but I had never been in one until now. It looks like a fun place to vacation. I dird a little research and discovered most of the house are duplexes and are rentals. Each one has a name, some are cute: Eye Sea,  3 Gulls and a Buoy, Just Beachy, Seas the Day. And some were more traditional: Carolina Paradise, Beach Dream, Family Tradition, Southern Comfort

I stayed in the State Park that borders the town. It’s got two sections, one on the beach

and one back in the woods. I stayed in the woods cause it’s cheaper. I like the sites that have electric and water hookups. I can charge my laptop and DVD player, saving my inverter some power. I could have spent even less if I chose one of the walk in tent sites, but…I’m to old to carry all my gear more than 20 feet. LOL.

The trails are wonderful, solid ground pathways that are accessible to wheels (bikes and wheelchairs). They’re full of shells cause they use sand from the beaches which are full of them. Made it interesting to watch the ground as well as view the plant life.

       

There was a nature site that is a hill of shells, mostly oyster, that was once nearly twenty feet high. Supposedly it was used as a trash heap for hundreds of years. It has since been reduced to about six feet.

The education center focuses on sea turtles as they are prevalent in this area. In the mating season, people living on the beach are encouraged to turn off their lights after 10 pm cause that is when the females lay their eggs in the sand.

This park is on the ACE Basin, which is a bay with three rivers emptying into it. The Edisto River winds through the area.

      

You can see where it has changed course and left a huge marsh.

The campground was great. My site was right across the road from the bathhouse. Showers and flush toilets – hurrah! Even though boondocking is preferable (cause it’s free!) when I want a shower, a campground is a good choice.

 

Francis Marion National Forest

Do you remember the Swamp Fox? If you are around my age and watched The Wonderful World of Disney as a kid, you might. They made an 8 part miniseries about Francis Marion, AKA The Swamp Fox starring Leslie Neilson. Marion was a prominent figure in the Revolutionary War here in the USA. He was one of the first to use guerilla fighting against the British. And so, there is a National Forest named for him in South Carolina.

I’ve been staying here for a couple of days, soaking up the forest peacefulness and exploring the area. I camped at one of the primitive campgrounds called Half Creek. It’s a lovely site in the woods and there was only one other car here so I enjoyed the quiet.

The Palmetto Trail goes through the forest, stretching across the entire state from the ocean to the mountains. The section through here is called the Swamp Fox Trail. It begins at Buck Hall Recreation Area

       

which is on the Intercoastal Waterway that runs along the east coast from Massachusetts to Florida. Apparently, it was the first interstate “highway”, used by Natives and explorers for easy transportation.

       

Just north of my camp is the Hampton Plantation, which has been made an historic site. There is a walking trail around the property where you can see the locations of the rice fields, and an archeological dig of one of the slave houses. You can also tour the inside of the main house.

       

I was planning on going up the coast, but with the weatherman saying there’s going to be another winter storm in New England, I think I’ll go south instead.

 

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park in South Carolina is in my top five of national parks. It’s a huge old growth forest that was only designated a National Park in 2003. Before that it was made a protected area in the 1970’s. The Congaree River winds like a snake through the area and the watershed it produces becomes a giant flood plain in the winter. Known for the trees that grow here, the park is an educational bonanza.

Loblolly pines and Cyprus are the dominant plants. Some of the tallest trees in the Eastern US are here. Several have been named national and state champions for their age and height.

                

The main trail through the park is a boardwalk, half on the ground and half elevated.

                 

It is really well maintained. And what I love is the benches placed every so often.

The boardwalk is 2 1/2 miles long. There are other trails throughout the park in the wilderness area. It’s a definite reason to come back.

The ground is extremely wet because of the flooding every year.

     

Some places along the trail are higher so it seems more like the forests of the Midwest.

The state plant is the palmetto tree. Here are dwarf palmettos that love the moist soil.

I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon here. The weather was lovely, the forest was peaceful and I was fulfilled.