Posted by: Karen (Betty Bear) | December 31, 2011

the Congaree Swamp

I started the below post two days ago, now for the second time. Let me explain. First I lost custody of the computer to a bored 12 year old. Then there was the packing up, then the driving 11 hours back to New Jersey. THEN, I wrote all of this except for the first paragraph which was what I wrote two days ago and then WordPress didn’t save it. So I’m trying it one more time. We are home and have gotten almost unpacked, the dog has been picked up and smells good since they bathed her (yay!) and the tasks that piled up or had been left undone for the last week are getting done slowly. We’re going to a party tonight, so if wordpress screws me again, I’m going to quit.

I’m not ready yet to process the emotions of the holidays, so today I’m just sharing with you where we walked. The Congaree Swamp is a national park located just outside of Columbia, SC. Just about every time we come down here to visit, we go there to walk the boardwalk trail. We canoed there once which was totally cool and I keep hoping we’ll be able to do it again. The boardwalk trail is about 2 1/2 miles long and needs to be a boardwalk because (duh!) it is a swamp and floods regularly.

You go through the visitor’s center first where there is this sign: We never did have any mosquitoes this visit, but we were there once when it was a bit rainy and the meter was at 5. We ended up having to jog the entire way, hands tucked up inside our jacket sleeves, hoods pulled up and over as far as they would go. That was not a quality visit. This one was.

It was good to be outside, it was good to spend time with happy family members, it was good to be able to walk two and a half miles without complaints from my back except for a few “remember me?” twinges.

Just a view of the general swampiness of it all. It’s dry in some places, boggy in others and downright wet in others.

Trees reflected in the water. I don’t know if you can see in these pictures, but from ground level to about 4 or 5 feet up the tree trunks are all darker than the rest of the trunks. That mark is the high water mark from when the swamp floods which it does several times a year.

This is an area of mostly cypress trees with their funky knees poking up out of the ground. They look weirdly cool.

A dead cypress in the water with more live trees and knees surrounding it.

A bit of the Spanish moss which decorates many of the trees.

The boy child and girl child embracing a loblolly pine. This is one of the larger ones, but they are huge trees, and isn’t loblolly an excellent word?

These are saw palmetto trees which don’t get any bigger than these fan shapes near the ground. The state palmetto tree grows much taller but isn’t found in the swamp.

The boardwalk stretching into the distance. It protects the swamp from the depredations of the visitors and protects the visitors from the repercussions of walking in a swamp – mud, water, snake bites, etc.

The tracks of a raccoon on the boardwalk. Other evidence of animal life was seen in the piles of acorn shells left by squirrels, the scattering of wood chips by pileated woodpeckers, the dug up ground by feral pigs and tracks of snakes and turtles.

I saw this at the very end of the walk, a teeny-tiny star about 1/4 of an inch big shining in the sun like a reward for completing the walk. To see more pictures go to the link and then the photos link. There are snakes and turtles, mammals and birds, plants and other stuff.



  1. Great pics! Swamps are always such mystical places where anything can happen (I’m in south Jersey where the cedar swamps reign supreme). Thanks for sharing!

  2. You got a prize at the end! I love that boardwalk look, so different from our woods here, I’d love to visit something like this. Also, sorry you had to deal with WordPress issues, been there-bitched at that. But look, you’re up now!

    Great post.

    • It’s very different from my NJ walks, too, probably one of the reasons I like it so much. And seriously, did you go look at the snake pictures?

      • Of course!

  3. That mozzie meter is awesome!
    If only it could be automated 🙂

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