Congaree National Park: Boardwalk Trail


It’s been nearly nine months since we visited Congaree National Park on my “workmoon,” (What? They have babymoons now, so why can’t I have a workmoon?) and I still have not dedicated a proper blog post to it. Time to remedy that…

If you were reading the blog back in February/March when I secured my current job, then you already know that my workmoon destination was Charleston, SC. Congaree National Park falls just off the path when traveling from Knoxville to Charleston.

We’d really not heard anything about the park before. I did not know a single person who had visited, and only gathered my information from books (librarian, holla!) and the internet. For a National Park, Congaree is small, especially if comparing it to the expanses that are Yellowstone, etc.

Neither of us knew exactly what to expect or what trail options were available, so we stopped into the Visitor’s Center before doing anything else.  The park ranger told us about the types of trees in the park, which times of year were best to visit, and what trails were available for hiking.  We were shortish on time, considering we needed to make it to Charleston at a decent hour, so we opted for the Boardwalk Loop, which is about 2.5 miles long.

The hike leaves from behind the VC, and starts out on an elevated boardwalk (6 feet high).

Since we were visiting in early March, the sun was able to sneak through.  During other times of the year, the trees in Congaree form a conpy that is higher than those in the Amazon rainforest.  No lie.  The trees really are the pride and joy of Congaree, as it boasts some of our nation’s oldest trees.

After a bit, the boardwalk drops, and you find yourself surrounded by bald cypress knees coming forth from the ground.

Thanks to our time in the VC, we were easily able to spot tupelo trees along the trail.  Tupelo trees are known for their supporting buttresses at the bottom of the trunk.

And yes, I hug trees on occasion.

I really enjoyed the bald cypress knees.  To me, they added an eery feel to “The Cong,” as though it was some sort of tree graveyard.  I can only imagine how much the hanging moss would add to it.  They ought to have haunted boardwalk tours of this place in October….

For the last half of the hike/walk, we were surrounded by more standing water.  It was interesting to see the moss levels on the trees that indicated where the water line had been previously.

We also spotted some drawf palmettos, which seemed only too appropriate since we were in South Carolina.  (If you’re confused, find an image of the state flag).

I’m not sure if/when we’ll get a chance to return to Congaree, but I hope that if/when we do, the camping is still free and the trees are green!


 

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Filed under Hiking, Nature, Outdoors

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