Almost Fall

September 17, 2014.  It’s cool this early morning on the low boardwalk. The moon overhead is a sliver of pale yellow. The muck swamp, guts, and sloughs have been recharged with flood waters from recent rains, the river rising five feet in less than twenty-four hours. As I cross over Cedar Creek bridge, heading out […]

Essay: Loblollies and Cowpens

Although the hardwoods are the main show at Congaree, it doesn’t take long for the first-time visitor to become impressed with the number and size of the giant loblolly pines found scattered throughout the Park. Probably nowhere else within the range of this species do they get as big, and as old, as in the […]

Bats Alive!

September 2, 2014.  Like June 1, the first of September always signifies for me a changing of the seasons. It means fall has arrived (even though officially three weeks away) because we always started back to school the day after Labor Day. The only reminder of fall right now is the numerous brown leaves that […]

General Huger’s Ferry and Joe’s Lake

August 27, 2014.  I’m walking south this unseasonably cool morning on a long-vanished roadbed through the swamp. More than two hundred years ago there was a primitive road here, the road that led to General Isaac Huger’s ferry over the Congaree River. Huger is better known today as a famously mispronounced street name in downtown […]

Cooner’s Mound

August 23, 2014.  The skeets are noticeable on the Kingsnake Trail this morning, perhaps rating a “3” for “moderate” on the park’s mosquito meter. I finally lather up my bare arms, neck, ears, and face. I’m walking in from the South Cedar Creek Landing. Shortly, I see growing in the sun on the side of […]

Morning on the Boardwalk

August 19, 2014.  As I pass Duffies Pond on the way to the swamp early this morning, I see the makings of a beautiful sunrise in the eastern sky. Unfortunately, it is not possible to enjoy sunrises or sunsets in the swamp. Scenic vistas are lacking for the most part, except for a view of […]

Down the Creek

August 14, 2014.  It’s almost chilly this pre-dawn morning as I paddle down Cedar Creek. It feels more like April than August – the only thing missing is a turkey gobbling. Bull frogs and green frogs are calling from the big slough on the other side of the creek bank that has been recharged with […]

A Summer Shower

August 9, 2014.  There is a light, steady rain falling in the swamp this Saturday morning. On the drive to the visitor’s center I stop to move two box turtles crossing the asphalt road. The rain shows an entirely different side to the swamp, providing a subdued, evocative atmosphere that invites contemplation and reflection. I […]

August Dog Days

August 3, 2014. The summer of 2014 is starting to wind down. The days are getting shorter, but we can probably expect another six weeks of warm, if not hot, weather. The warming trend we’ve experienced the last twenty-five years seems to have pushed the months ahead – September weather is now more like August, […]

Little Buckhead

July 30, 2014. This afternoon I’m back at Congaree East, this time the neck of land east of the Highway 601 causeway within the perimeter of Bates Old River known as “Little Buckhead.” Although small in size, only about 260 acres, Little Buckhead has some of the most interesting geology in the park. An aerial […]