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The two RV Gypsies
went to Congaree National Park
Columbia, South Carolina
March 24, 2019

Congaree National Park is a 26,276-acre American National Park in central South Carolina. The park received its official designation in 2003 as the culmination of a grass roots campaign that began in 1969. The park preserves the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States. The lush trees growing in its floodplain forest are some of the tallest in the eastern United States, forming one of the highest temperate deciduous forest canopies remaining in the world. About 15,000 acres were designated as a wilderness area. The Congaree River flows through the park.

History: On October 24, 1988 it was only designated as a National Monument. It became an Important Bird Area on July 26, 2001. Congress redesignated the monument Congaree National Park on November 10, 2003, dropping the misleading word "swamp" from the name, and simultaneously expanded its authorized boundary by approximately 4,576 acres . As of December 31, 2011, approximately 26,021 acres of the park are in federal ownership.

Most quotes are from From Wikipedia, the free internet encyclopedia. Other quotes are from brochures obtained from the Harry Hampton Visitor Center.

Congaree National Park entrance sign Mosquito Meter at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center

The Boardwalk Loop is an elevated 2.4 mile walkway that passes through old growth forest of bald cypress and water tupelo. However, on this date, there was a broken part of the boardwalk, Rangers roped it off shortly after the two RV Gypsies stepped past that point.

Lee Duquette on the boardwalk broken slats on the boardwalk

Environment: The park preserves a significant part of the Middle Atlantic coastal forests ecoregion. Although it is frequently referred to as a swamp, it is largely bottomland subject to periodic inundation by floodwaters.

It has been designated an old growth forest. The park also has one of the largest concentrations of champion trees in the world, with the tallest known examples of 15 species. Champion trees include a 167-foot 361-point loblolly pine, a 157-foot 384-point sweetgum, a 154-foot 465-point cherry bark oak, a 135-foot 354-point American elm, a 133-foot 356-point swamp chestnut oak, a 131-foot 371-point overcup oak, and a 127-foot 219-point common persimmon.

Large animals possibly seen in the park include bobcats, deer, feral pigs, feral dogs, coyotes, armadillos, turkeys, and otters. Its waters contain interesting creatures like amphibians, turtles, snakes, and many types of fish, including bowfin, alligator gar, and catfish. Although the two RV Gypsies did NOT see any of that type of wildlife here on this date.

The Environment dark collored mud

Below: The dark colored mud on each side of the boardwalk is a mixture of clay and old leaves. This mud, called Dorovan muck, is 8-feet thick and plays an important role in the health of the floodplain. It filters water, traps pollution and turn pollutants into harmless compounds, keeping the flood plains and the Congaree River clean

Dorovan muck

Cypress Knees: It is believed that they provide the tree with extra structural support during floods and high winds. Bald cypress trees can live to be over 1,000 years old. Bald cypress wood is rot and water resistant.

Cypress Knees
Cypress Knees Cypress Knees
Cypress Knees trees and reflections
trees and reflections looking up towards the sky

cool shapes

a funky critter and reflecting twig

cool shapes a funky critter

There are nine trails here, ranging form 0.3 miles to 11.7 miles long.

Wilderness boundary sign trees starting to bloom again
burl bridge on the trail
Cypress Knees
Lee Duquette by the Weston Lake sign a glimpse of Weston Lake

Karen Duquette loves the shapes and reflections in the waters.

shapes and reflections in the waters shapes and reflections in the waters
flowers a flower
cypress knees, trees and water trees reflected in the water

Weston Lake

Weston Lake Weston Lake
Weston Lake Weston Lake
Weston Lake and tree branches reflections in Weston Lake
tree branches in the sky the two RV Gypsies -  Karen and Lee Duquette
lichon in the tree

Below: a burl face

a burl face

Below: Leaving Congaree National Park, the two RV Gypsies briefly drove by Wateree River and a fish hatchery.

Wateree River Wateree River
a fish hatcheree

Leaving Congaree National Park, the two RV Gypsies stopped to eat at Hola Mexican Restaurant and the food was amazing. If interested in local restaurants, please read the review, otherwise scroll down for other options.

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go to the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesPlease continue on to Hatcher Garden in Spartanburg, SC.


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