We pick up our adventure as we depart Myrtle Beach and head south. But first we had to cook up a new batch of taco meat:
On the way to Edisto Beach State Park, we stopped by Huntington Beach State Park about 15 miles away to take photos. Below are the beach, boardwalk, and a campsite:
A sweeping Grand Strand beach, pristine and wide open. Sea-breeze camping and fishing from a jetty or in the surf. And some of the finest bird-watching on the East Coast. That?s not all Huntington Beach State Park has to offer. There?s also Atalaya, the picturesque, Moorish-style winter home of Anna Hyatt and Archer Huntington, sculptress and philanthropist, respectively, who left the park and adjacent Brookgreen Gardens as their legacy. Nature lovers also will enjoy the park?s Environmental Education Center and wide variety of programming, including the chance to see loggerhead turtles and other endangered plant and animal species up close. The park?s freshwater lake is a sure-fire place to see alligators and sometimes even a mink or two.
Another 100 miles south was Edisto (pronounced ED-isto), where we would be camping for two nights, Saturday and Sunday. Below are photos of our campsite and the beach:
An oceanfront campground on a palmetto-lined beach famed for its shelling is just one highlight of Edisto Beach State Park. Only an hour from Charleston, the park also offers another campground deep in the maritime forest full of live oaks and some of the state?s tallest palmetto trees, as well as a row of comfortable cabins nestled in the woods but with a front-row view of miles of pristine marshland.
Edisto Beach State Park also offers the state?s longest system of handicapped-friendly hiking and biking trails, including one leading to a mysterious, 4,000-year-old shell midden alongside a secluded bend on a tidal creek.
It was also our first chance to put the canoe in the water. We launched from the state park pier into Big Bay Creek, leaving just as the tide was turning from low to slack. This gave us a free ride out and an easy paddle back. Some photos:
Driving 80 miles south, or 12 miles as the crow flies, we arrived at Hunting Island State Park for 4 nights of camping, Monday through Thursday. Below are some photos of our campsite:
The lower photo was taken at dusk from the path to the beach that ran right alongside our site.
Hunting Island is South Carolina?s single most popular state park, attracting more than a million human visitors a year. Also attracted to the semi-tropical barrier island is an array of wildlife, ranging from loggerhead sea turtles to painted buntings, barracudas to sea horses, alligators, pelicans, dolphins and deer, raccoons, Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes and even the rare coral snake.
What they all enjoy is five miles of beach, thousands of acres of marsh, tidal creeks and maritime forest, a saltwater lagoon and ocean inlet. Amenities include a fishing pier and some of the state?s most desirable campsites.
I woke up before dawn on Tuesday morning and walked down to the beach to take some sunrise photos:
Below is my favorite one. There was a fishing boat crossing through the sun?s reflection. Look close:
Adding to the natural history of the big park is a piece of man-made history: South Carolina?s only publicly accessible historic lighthouse. Dating from the 1870s, the Hunting Island Lighthouse shoots 132.5 feet into the air, giving those who scale its heights a breathtaking view of the sweeping Lowcountry marshland and the Atlantic Ocean.
The hike to the lighthouse was almost 4 miles round-trip through a very primeval looking forest. The weather was foggy and damp and I saw no one else on the trail. Actually, it was kinda spooky. I kept waiting for a pack of man-eating dinosaurs to come crashing out of the ferns and nibble on me. Below are some photos of the trail and the lighthouse:
A fellow camper told me that the Vietnam scenes from Forest Gump were shot in this area.
On the hike back I noticed an alien spaceship hiding in the trees and what looks suspiciously like a clump of baby?s feet growing from a tree trunk:
We are leaving here on Friday and spending two nights camping in Georgia or Florida. We are not sure which campground yet. Then we spend the next month in Florida with reservations at all our stops.
Regards, Park Ranger