So, that was the boring stuff. I started straightening out storage bins inside after lunch, while Al went through the basement, consolidating and re-arranging stuff. Most important, he got the fishing equipment stored and out of the inside of the trailer, so I don't have to keep moving it :-). We also transferred alot of CDs to the laptop, to put on the iphone, and then I can get rid of all those. Space is at a premium!
I did a little research about Hunting Island as well. The coastline of South Carolina actually stretches a total of 200 miles south of Charleston, dissolving into a honeycomb of peninsulas, channels, and subtropical "sea islands" that make-up South Carolina's lowcountry. Hunting Island is a pristine 5000-acre state park, and was once a private hunting resort...hence the name Hunting Island. Thankfully, it is now protected as a nature reserve, and is home to loggerhead turtles, alligators, herons,and oystercatchers, among the many species found here.
The town of Beaufort is the gateway to the lowcountry, and is the second oldest town in South Carolina. It is a well-preserved antebellum town stretching along a harbor, much like a small Charleston. The town is best known as the home of the massive U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, where new marines undergo their basic training. Graduation ceremonies are held every Friday and are open to the public. As recently as 1960, the population of the lowcountry was predominately African-American; 10 to 1 an average. Now, with the recent "plantation-style" vacation resorts in the area, the proportions have effectively been reversed. As a last defense against developers, traditional Africa-American "Gullah culture" is celebrated in summer festivals and tourism literature. St. Helena Island, which we passed through just before arriving at the campground, is home to the Penn Center, established in 1862 as the first school in the south for freed slaves, and is the nerve center for the area's Gullah community. The Penn Center anchors a historic grassy district with 19 buildings related to Gullah heritage, as well as a nature trail and a museum.
The campground here at Hunting Island is great, and is very large. It took us an hour to walk around the different loops. There's 2 sides, we're on the ocean side which is a little more open, but still very shaded by the tall palms. The marsh side is heavily wooded, with most sites a little closer together. Navigating a large trailer is a little tricky because of the heavily wooded roads, but the roads are paved and smooth. It has been wonderful, even with the gloom, to have an ocean view right out my window :-)....what would that cost back home?!
There are several trails here as well, and late yesterday afternoon, we took a walk down a couple. It felt good to get outside and moving after spending most of the day inside at the desk. As we drove through the park to the far end, you can tell South Carolina does an excellent job maintaining this park. Everything is clean and neat, the buildings for visitor use are nice and well-maintained, the landscaping is beautiful, and everything is clearly marked. This must be a popular area for locals to go swimming, there are several areas with parking lots and beach access routes. As it is back home, they are very protective of the dune areas, and ask that you stay on the boardwalks leading to the beaches. Sadly, it looks like they have lost alot of beachfront to erosion this winter.
Here is the entrance sign to the main visitor center
The Nature Center and visitor information at the southern tip of the park. I stopped in here before starting off on the trails to pay our trail fee, but as a camper at the park we have full use of the facilities without additional fees...sweet! She also told me that if we wanted to go fishing off the pier behind the office, they have spinning rods they loan to park campers as well. That's nice to know, as I'm sure we'll be back this way again, we'd like to spend more time here.
The fishing pier extending out from behind the nature center.
We started our walk on the Nature Center Scenic Trail. From this trail you can connect to several other trails in the park.
View from the trail looking over towards the lagoon.
Approaching the bridge that will take you over to the ocean. We turned left here and started walking the Lagoon Access Recreation Trail. This trail runs along the lagoon and will end at the "J" parking area of the main visitor center. We crossed over, though, on the Marsh Boardwalk Crossover, and returned to the Nature Center on the Maritime Forest Trail.
Foggy picture of the lagoon. You can launch canoes and kayaks at the "J" parking area.
Hunting Island Lighthouse. I wanted a picture, just in case we don't make it back tomorrow in the sunshine!
Today we have visitors, Al's cousins Bill and Denise. They are coming up to spend the afternoon with us, and we should have a great time. Until tomorrow, then!