Congaree National Park, South Carolina. Or, It Turns Out That the National Park Service Has a Sense of Humor

NPS Humor, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

NPS Humor, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

I intended to stop by Congaree only for the day and do some of the short trails around the visitor center before continuing east. What I knew I was really interested in doing at Congaree was the ranger-guided canoe paddling trip but those book up weeks or even months in advance so I will have to plan my actual visit next time. Still, I wanted to stop and at least see it because I love Cypress trees and I’m fascinated by bottomland swamp: it’s so different from any other ecosystem I’ve seen. What I actually got to see was pretty different from the flooded swamp I expected since a dry spell had left the ground dry and the extensive root systems exposed. I also got to view up close many examples of “knees” or aboveground roots that are believed to provide extra stability to the massive trees when inundated with sudden flooding. It was pretty great. Luckily I have a plan to return so I will most likely see the park in a different state and hopefully be able to finish the Boardwalk Loop Trail, part of which is closed for repairs necessitated by the February ice storms. I also know that even though the mosquito meter might have been a tame four out of six, mid-June is NOT the time to go walking in the swamp in South Carolina. I believe I lost approximately a gallon of water weight in three hours.

Boardwalk Loop Trail, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Boardwalk Loop Trail, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Boardwalk Loop Trail, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Boardwalk Loop Trail, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Trees with buttressed roots and knees, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Trees with buttressed roots and knees, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Closeup of Cypress tree knees, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Closeup of Cypress tree knees, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Boardwalk Loop Trail through the Cypresses, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Boardwalk Loop Trail through the Cypresses, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Me on the Boardwalk Loop, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Me on the Boardwalk Loop, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Bamboo along Weston Lake Loop, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Bamboo along Weston Lake Loop, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Weston Lake Loop, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Weston Lake Loop, Congaree National Park, South Carolina

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