Congaree Swamp National Park, South Carolina

Congaree Swamp; Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; Click to enlarge.

The swamp lies within 20 minutes of Columbia, and the locals seem to take full advantage.  The parking lot was packed at lunch time as were the nearby boardwalk trails.  Several enthusiastic fishermen occupied the river bank.  The temperature was significantly cooler than one might expect, probably in the 60’s.

Congaree Swamp; Palmetto and Water Tupelo.  Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; Palmetto and Water Tupelo. Click to enlarge.

By early evening it was just me and a group of 4 young Canadians.  We camped at opposite ends of the otherwise deserted campground.  I set up well ahead of them and directed them to the water – a dingy drinking fountain running at low pressure.  Every aspect of the park was free.  While several national parks allow free admission, free camping is virtually unheard of.  I was very appreciative and so, seemingly, were the Canadians.  Outside of Kel and Julie in Big Bend they were the most courteous people I have ever shared a campground with.

After dark I headed into town and spent a couple of hours in the Starbucks wifi lounge.  The girls let me stay and work even though they were closing down the shop.  When I arrived back in camp the Canadians were already in bed.  I ran into an opossum on the way back to my tent.  I walked along side him, inches away, for 15-20 yards.  It took him some time to realize I was there, even though my headlamp was shining on him full-bore.  Eventually he took off into the woods.

Congaree Swamp; Bald Cypress and Water Tupelo trees.  Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; Bald Cypress and Water Tupelo trees. Click to enlarge.

The next morning I spoke with the ranger, an articulate blond in her early 20’s.  We compared notes on opossums and water boatmen (bugs that swim in groups on the water surface).  “So you enjoyed the swamp then?” she asked with anticipation.  Of course I had.  Still, I was tired and beat up from 7 weeks of traveling.  I had surpassed my limit of endurance.  I decided to head home that morning, saving my remaining plans in Georgia and Florida for another time.  The ranger asked about my route and wished me safe travels.

The drive west through Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi was beautiful, featuring warm sun and brilliant green forests.  After entering Arkansas the temperatures became progressively more frigid.  The cold helped to confirm that I was, eagerly, nearly home.

Congaree Swamp; palmetto.  Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; palmetto. Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; switch cane and water tupelo trees.  Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; switch cane and water tupelo trees. Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; vines on water tupelo trees.  Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; vines on water tupelo trees. Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; Bald Cypress and Water Tupelo trees.  Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; Bald Cypress and Water Tupelo trees. Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; Click to enlarge.

Congaree Swamp; Click to enlarge.

Advertisements

About Jerry
Working in Corporate America for many years, I wanted to break free of the office walls for a bit and explore the world. Having put the pieces in place, I am first exploring the USA by road. Colleagues and friends expressed interest in my travels, giving rise to Office Escape. It is my honor to share my adventures.

2 Responses to Congaree Swamp National Park, South Carolina

  1. TBM says:

    I still haven’t been to a swamp and it’s on my list. Sounds like a place that’s just alive/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: