Summer in National Congaree Park felt like we were walking through a mirror. Everything looked the same! Like LITERALLY.
When we first arrived at the National Congaree Park, it felt secluded. The only people we saw were the cyclists. We thought we were all alone in the park and it frightened us. We felt a little weird… Mobile signal wasn’t really good so we were wondering if it was the right place. We were literally in the middle of countless tall trees that stretched endlessly.
Fortunately, as we drove further in, we saw a pool of cars in the parking lot. We got out of the car and walked to the visitor’s center. The staff was very helpful and the information around the visitor’s center was plentiful! Luckily they warned us about the presence of Poison Ivy among the trees. It grows very well in the environment and thus, it’s literally everywhere!
Just in case, please do not touch any plants in that vicinity! Funny how the staff told me not to touch anything and immediately after, i touched one of the plants and luckily, it wasn’t a poison ivy! Yeah, that is me! (Haha)
Planning your Trip according to the Trails in the Park!
There were many trails available but since it was just a stopover, we didn’t spend a lot of time here. Although we really wanted to go to the River Trail (It looked really pretty from the photos outside the visitor’s center), the trip to the river was way too long (approx 8h to & fro) and it’s really easy to get lost due to overgrown trees. We did not have the time for that. If you are more adventurous and love long hikes, the other trails (as you can see from the picture below) are a must go for you! They have lots of scenic and beautiful sights along the trails. We were just too short of time and did not want to get lost in the woods.
We wanted to see the most scenic view so the staff recommended the boardwalk, the most popular trail. The moment we walked out, it started pouring but fortunately, it stopped soon after and we quickly grabbed our chance and hurried along the guided trail.
The staff will provide you with a map and a piece of paper providing information, both general and unique, about the park. It’s a really unique and interesting way to educate ourselves. The information is numbered and marked on the paper and the actual locations. I was thoroughly searching for it hehe. One such example is shown above.
The platformed trail was really easy to follow and although we had the map with us, we walked along the wrong route and almost got lost. (Although that may be due to our poor direction skills) But anyway, please note that there are 2 routes, one with a platform and the other without.
The trail without the platform may have led us to the lake’s loop but it’s really difficult to navigate as everything looks the same. Please do not try it unless you are experienced. We were lost and indecisive as to whether or not to follow the ‘trail’ that wasn’t there. Thus, we decided to let fate decide by playing rock paper scissors!
Hence, it helped us decide and we eventually turned and walked back. Thankfully, on the way back, we met some locals and they led us to the other way with the guided platforms!
Overall, I felt that the lake wasn’t that beautiful because it looked polluted. The watercolor seemed very brownish but if I’m not wrong and if you are lucky enough, you may be able to see some alligators! In addition, there are many wildlife creatures such as turtles, birds (although we only managed to see one, probably due to the rain), colorful lizards, butterflies and many more!
One interesting fact: People such as slaves that ran away stayed here in the past and the sounds that you hear today is the same as what they have heard in the past and this is only made possible because of Harry Hampton, a conservationist, and a journalist.
All in all, if you have time, do check this nature site as you pass along South Carolina, Sc!
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