May 17, 2008

Congaree National Park, Hopkins, South Carolina

Today we visited Congaree National Park. Congaree became a National Park in 2003, making it one of the newest National Parks. It had previously been the Congaree Swamp National Monument since 1976.

Congaree is a 22,200-acre park and home to some of the tallest trees in the world, including giant sweetgum, tupelo, hackberry and many other varieties of hardwoods.

Approximately ten times per year, the Congaree River floods its banks and the Congaree Swamp acts as a giant sponge, by cleansing and filtering the water.
Marlon balances daringly over the Congaree River which comes as no surprise as some of his ancestors were circus performers...really!
Nearby, a deadly snake waits...hoping for Marlon to fall in the water so he can have lunch.

Every other Sunday here at Congaree, seven canoes are provided for free ranger guided tours of the river and swamp. Reservations can be made 14 days prior to the tours and, as we found out, tours are booked within 10 minutes of the park opening on that first day of reservations.

Here is a canoe on its own self-guided tour of the park.
Luckily, they made it past this snake.
Doug was looking a little pale.
An elevated boardwalk winds about 1.3 miles through the massive trees. In all, there are more than 25 miles of hiking trails in the park.

After leaving the elevated boardwalk, we then walked the 4.4 mile Weston Lake Loop Trail.
Did you know that turtles like Froot Loops? We found out they did when we saw someone sharing with them.
For a 7 minute video, click below. C'mon...it's ONLY 7 minutes!

To be continued...

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