I walked through this park a few years ago with friends, and decided then that I would return with my Sony DSLR camera sometime in the future. This park has a southern magic all its own, hard to explain but I’ll try…
There are trails throughout the park, so I started off on one of those, the Firefly trail, with the trailhead conveniently at the visitor center (which also has water, water bottle refilling, bathrooms, and a nice little gift, as well as rangers to help you plan your exploration of the park). Most people choose the boardwalk trail (more on that later), so I met very few people and was free to enjoy the bird song and the swampy vegetation and trees. The light was amazing, highlighting all the spring green leaves and I kept stopping to try and capture that. I think I got close with this one.
The water level was much lower than on my previous visit, but I still had fun taking photos of the reflected trees. Those Great Blue Skimmer dragonflies were harder to catch with my camera, and it turns out I missed them all, fast fliers that they are. Trees don’t move, so much easier to photograph 🙂
The boardwalk trail provides an easy, ADA-accessible way to experience the park. It’s usually a loop through different environments, starting and ending at the visitor center, but due to a reconstruction project, it’s blocked in the middle, making each half of the loop an out and back trail. This visit, I went left at the split a few minutes out from the visitor center. There were fewer people on this side and I went for minutes at a time without encountering another soul. Remembering how crowded the Utah National Parks were, I celebrated my solitude at Congaree!
It’s spring for the caterpillars, too, dropping like rain from the trees (a hat would have been a great idea, I realized too late…). They land on the boardwalk and its rails, which made for a cool close-up shot. (Don’t ask me what they will turn into, I have no idea.)
The day heated up after noon, closing in on the predicted high of 88F, so I decided not to do the other half of the boardwalk loop and save that for another time. I’d filled up my eyes, my senses, and a lot of my camera’s SD card with images from my explorations, so it was time to head back home and share my finds with all of you.
Related post: Congaree National Park (2021 visit)
The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.
6 thoughts on “Congaree National Park, Redux”
We are planning a stop this fall at Congaree National Park on our way to Myrtle Beach. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I am excited to see it in person!
I had to look up what state you were in. Then, since I was at the Congaree National Park website anyway, I notice they have a Firefly Festival. I’d love to see that. Their website says: “Every year, Congaree National Park hosts synchronous fireflies for approximately two weeks between mid-May and mid-June.” I’d like to see the tiny invitations that go out for that. (https://www.nps.gov/cong/fireflies.htm)
We’re in Colleton State Park, Walterboro. The caterpillars!!!! Everywhere! All the time!
I enjoyed this visit to Congaree, Annie. We haven’t visited yet, but we intend to as we continue our quest to visit all of the national park sites. We especially love the less people-y parks, and it looks like this one will foot the bill. Happy spring!