lemontwist: Photo of me in Yosemite (Default)
[personal profile] lemontwist
From October 18, 2012

When Jeff and I vacationed in North Carolina last month, one of our goals was to cross a national park off our visit list. Great Smokey Mountains was too far. Instead, we went to Congaree.

Congaree National Park

Situated about 30 minutes outside Columbia, South Carolina, Congaree National Park has "largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States" (thank you National Park website). Every year, the forest floods thanks to the Congaree and Wateree River. The Wateree River runs through the park. You can actually canoe through it.

Trail & Knees

For me, the most unique part of the park were the Cypress Knees. I'd never seen these before. They're like roots that grow up instead of down around Cypress trees. Scientists aren't totally sure what they do.

Elevated boardwalk trail

With its extensive boardwalk trail, Congaree reminded me of Kamikochi National Park in Japan. I love boardwalk trails. In Congaree, the trail is elevated for at least half its length. Presumably, this helps during flooding, so people can still observe the park. It also allows you to see more clearly evidence of feral hogs. Like many national parks, Congaree has a feral hog problem. The hogs tear up the soil, destroying small animals like salamanders, grasses, and smaller plants. When a hog has been through, the soil looks like it has been tilled. We did see hogs on our walk through the park. No pictures from me though. They were too fast. However, having never seen a wild pig in a national park before, it was so weird to hear squealing!

Though we had to drive far, Congaree was a nice day trip.

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