Beaches

23 Mar

Spring is certainly beginning to bloom and as we drove north into South Carolina we began to see more and more trees covered with the purple blossoms of Wisteria, not cultivated but growing wild and in some cases twenty to thirty feet high, maybe more in old trees.

Our first coastal stop was Hunting Island State park, what a treat to have the beautiful sandy beach and the trails where we could both walk and cycle.

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The Magnolia trail took us through woodland back behind the beach to the Visitor Centre, not a difficult walk but certainly one where you needed to look where you were putting your feet, lots of tree roots and a twisty up and down path. The Visitor Centre gave us opportunity to cool off and rest while we watched a film about the lighthouse and its history and took in the information from the displays on wildlife and the locality in general.

Standing close to the beach the lighthouse is just a short walk from the visitor centre

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It was moved to its present location when erosion threatened its position further out and north on the coast. Erosion continues today which we discovered when we cycled from the campground towards the lighthouse on a nice tarmac road which deteriorated as it had crumbled onto the beach, there was fortunately enough space for us to cycle around otherwise it would have been a very long detour to get to the Nature Centre at the opposite end of the State Park to the campground. We had already cycled 3 miles when we got to the broken road and a further 2 miles on bought us to our destination, only to discover it closes on a Monday, the day we tried to visit ( of course)!

We cooled off by taking a stroll along the fishing pier before cycling back to the campground to complete my longest –so far- ride. I felt sore but proud of my accomplishment, the only part I did not really enjoy was when we had to ride on the highway with other traffic.

Far more relaxing were our strolls along the beach, to the north maybe a mile, or, to the south about the same distance, at low tide. This was maybe the most interesting direction as a forest of water warn trees uprooted many storms ago lay in a tangle on the sand, great photo opportunities especially when a sea fog blew in!

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The beach is also littered with tons of broken shells and for the ardent hunter a few complete ones, the most prized for us being complete whelk shells. The first Robert found on our very first day, just a tiny piece poking out of the sand which he thought looked like a pigs nose, digging with his fingers into the sand revealed an intact shell maybe 3 to 4 inches around its largest circumference and with only a little damage to its points. We found a few smaller ones on other expeditions but lots of broken pieces battered by the undercurrents just off shore.

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This little creature is a sand dollar, we had previously found their shells on the west coast and broken ones on the beach here but were fortunate to spot this little guy alive and happily digging his way back into the sand, or maybe out of it.

After five nights at Hunting Island we had booked a three night stay at Edisto Beach just along the coast. When we came to work out our route Robert calculated that as the Pelican flies it was ten miles but for us to get there it took 82 miles by road, such is the nature of the coastline here with the marshy inlets working their way deep inland.

Arriving at the beach campground we were very pleased with our spot, a nice open wide site backing on to the marshland but to the front a glimpse of the sea a very short walk away. Another beautiful beach, we were in heaven!

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and so are these little guys off for a paddle!

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We got on our bikes for a ride to the Edisto Nature Centre, checking first the opening times and that the trail was intact! Another bit of a highway ride but this time with a cycle lane so a bit easier on my nerves. Again the nature centre film allowed a rest with the luxury of a rocking chair to sit in!

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(yes, I have had my hair cut rather short and yes Jennie, I know, I need to colour it!)

As we continue our travels (now in our third year) we realise how lucky we are, we are constantly learning new things about the world around us, history both US, British and world, we have a better understanding of the US political system, geography and geology, the natural world… and we have learned an awful lot about ourselves.

We have come to realise how comfortable we are beside the water, whether it be lake river or ocean, all the better if the sun is shining and we have ‘treasure’ to search for, but, beside the water is our happy place.

Leaving Edisto and the beach was not too much of a chore as after a week-end to visit Charleston we knew we were off to Huntington Beach for a whole week.

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2 Responses to “Beaches”

  1. Susan March 23, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    how cool to see a live sand dollar. Glad to hear you are using the bikes- we are trying to use ours too, since hiking is limited some places that we go.
    Paul and I also know that water is where we are happiest. We’ve been boaters most of our lives and when we look for a new place to settle, we are hoping it will be lakefront.

  2. Jennie March 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    i can see im going to have to get a flight and come dye your hair for you!
    also dad looks like an australian….

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