Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Last Day at Hunting Island

Monday December 3, 2012
Site 83 Hunting Island State Park
South Carolina

 

After 16 days in this wonderful spot, we’ll be moving on tomorrow.

 

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David’s medical care requires our return to Florida. But it’s been a great stay here.

We had hoped to be able to kayak one of these last few days but now that the weather is wonderful, the tides are wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

So instead , on my last day, I decide to do that high tide beach walk I thought about a few days ago.

 

Last day at Hunting Island 020 I’ll walk down the beach through the high tide and over to the lighthouse and then take the Magnolia trail back to the campground.

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David has a number of medical related phone calls he needs to make and says after that he will come down the magnolia trail toward the lighthouse.  And we’ll meet as I’m walking back.   Great plan!

 

The weather is wonderful, the waves are great, the water is high.

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Off I go.  

I love these kinds of days when the surf is up.



I reach the River Jordan and it too is “up”.

High tide brings waves up “the river”.

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I cross at the same place as before, above the drop off.

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Wading across after removing my shoes and socks.

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Another successful crossing and I’m on the other side. 

Here’s the other end, the wavy end, near the mouth of The Jordan where I DID NOT cross

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Now the obstacle course begins.  It’s up and over and under and around.  At some points I wait a while to see the regularity and height of the tide and plan my next moves so I can do them without getting into water over my knees.

 

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It’s almost high tide and I’m doing quite well in spite of the waves when I discover that I left my sunglasses back on the other side of the River Jordan.

 

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When I bent over to take off my shoes.   They were on the top of my head and kept falling off so I set them on the shore.

SHOOT!   I’ll have to go back.  Oh well, no matter, if I made it this far once, I can do it again. 

 

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I’m back and moving on along the water front when I come to my biggest challenge.  There is no way under and no way around either end.  One is backed up to a too high sand dune and the other is too far out in the waves.   The fallen trees are chest high on me but it’s go over or turn back.

 

I try a couple of possibilities and finally find one that will work to get me up sitting on the top.  I’m in no hurry, I sit a while and enjoy the view.  Waves rolling under me.

 

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Once on the other side of the obstacle I’m pretty much home free.
I see these trees standing on their roots and wonder how long it will be before these come down and form yet more beach debris.

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Next stop, Lighthouse!

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Here at Hunting Island there are volunteer “Lighthouse Keepers”.  These days that means they sit in the little house in the lower section of the this picture and answer questions about the exhibits there and in other outbuildings and about the lighthouse itself.

They are there today so I stop in to chat with them.  They tell me the lighthouse is closed for interior painting which I knew.  I ask when will it be open.  They say it was only supposed to take a month and it’s been 6 weeks already.
They have been at Hunting Island for two months and will be  leaving tomorrow.  They come each year at this time from near Spartanburg and will be back in January as campers at the park’s reduced winter monthly rate which turns out to be $512 he tells me.  

As we are talking, Mark from the Nature Center comes up to tell them he’s going to walk up to the landing in the lighthouse.  Apparently employees are permitted but not visitors.  I laughingly tell him I’ll send my camera up with him and he says sure he’ll take it.  But I reply that I was just joking and will wait to take pictures when I can go myself.   At that point the lighthouse keeper says, well you are the only person here and didn’t you say you were Mark’s Aunt?  Put your shoes back on and go with him.  

Poor Mark!   What if he wanted to be alone up there in such a great space?   But he graciously agrees and I hop to and get my shoes and socks back on.

 

 

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It’s 196 steps to the tippy top.  We go to the top most landing which is 167 steps.  I’m thinking that my running does have more than a weight benefit when I have no trouble at all doing these stairs or keeping up with a 6’3” twenty something Nature Center ranger.

 

 

 

The views are fantastic!

 

The Lighthouse Gift Shop down below.
Closed for the season.
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On the railing is an explanation of what I am seeing.Last day at Hunting Island 077

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I look up and there is the light. They are still painting that area so we can’t go up to the very top.

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I’m high above the tree tops.  Even higher than the birds!

Thanks to Mark and the Lighthouse Keepers I’m the only visitor who has Last day at Hunting Island 090been up in the lighthouse in the past 6 weeks!
LUCKY ME!!  Thanks Mark!!

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It’s getting close to lunch time.  We head down and out the door. David called me while I was on top of the lighthouse to see where I was since he was on the trail.  Unfortunately by the time he gets to the lighthouse, we are nearly down and he doesn’t get to share in the fun.  Just ANOTHER reason to come back to Hunting Island Light.

 

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With another round of thank yous, we set out for our last hike.

This is my favorite trail, The Magnolia.  I’ve only walked it two or three times since we’ve been here but every time it is different.  The pines are towering and you feel very small.

 

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Up in the canopy are fall colors.  Fall in the first week of December.  The colors are long gone and the leaves all off the trees by now where I come from.   But here, further south, there is less color and later fall.  So every find of color here is exciting. 

 

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Fall color closer down as well.

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There are always so many beautiful things to discover.

 

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Can you identify what David is holding?  He’s just picked it up from the ground.

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In the afternoon, the fabulous weather continues. 

It is so fine that after lunch I take my beach chair and sit out on the water front and read.  A VERY favorite pastime of mine.

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I’m not the only one enjoying this day and the waves this afternoon.

 

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When I see this final image from our hike I recognize even more what a grand send off day Hunting Island has given us. 

It just doesn’t get much better than this.  With great reluctance we will be leaving tomorrow. I’m already thinking about another even longer stay – maybe a month???

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But for now we’re headed for Florida’s Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area, another park right on the Atlantic. 

What a wonderful life!

21 comments:

  1. Ok, let me get this straight. You snuck up the lighthouse when it was closed and then posted your crime on the Internet.

    Your goose is cooked now, you've given the Lighthouse Police enough evidence to convict you and throw away the key...

    Hopefully you move on down the road before they come for you! ;c)

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  2. I love the photo into the tree canopy. Hopefully, no bosses will find your blog and no one will get in trouble for your summit. Thanks for sharing about your stay at Hunting Island.

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  3. What a lucky girl you are to get a private viewing of the lighthouse!

    That last photo is incredible!

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  4. Another wonderful hike, i like the Magnolia Trail too!! And u got to go up in the lighthouse, right place, right time, lucky you!!!
    We don't get near logs or trees in the ocean in Oregon, they roll and kill people, which is not a good thing...
    Safe Travels.....

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  5. Love your pictures. Idaho has cold, clouds, and a few snow flurries.....bbbrrr! Have a safe trip & hope David has lots of positive news! Liz

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  6. Love that pod or whatever it is David is holding...

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  7. What an adventure in and out of the down trees. And such a bonus to go up into the light house where those views are just amazing. Love the fall colors along the trail. Safe journey.

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  8. What a beautiful area! You sure took full advantage of your long stay there. I need to put Hunting Island on my to-do list! Safe travels to Florida.

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  9. It is a wonderful life, Aunt Sherry:o)) So glad you got to go up the Lighthouse!! Wonderful hike as well. Yes, Life IS Wonderful!!!

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  10. What a great day. A wonderful life, indeed!

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  11. Wow, Sherry, these pictures are fantastic. What a gorgeous place and a gorgeous day. I especially love the fall colors. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

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  12. Aw, lucky Aunt Sherry. :D And young Mark would have been dragging his Aunt Roxanne the last 150 steps.

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  13. Right place, right time is well ... right. They told us when we were making reservations that they hope to have the lighthouse open around Christmas. Beautiful views and thanks for sharing them ... even if it does land you in the brig ;-)

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  14. beautiful pictures...!!! what a great day!! good luck with the medical appts...will be watching for update :)

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  15. How nice of them to make an exception for Aunt Sherry :) Lighthouses are such marvels of mankind. I would love to be able to visit each and every one someday :)

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  16. You sure packed a lot of great photos into this one post - I sure liked the surf shots and the lighthouse. Great stuff.

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  17. What a great day. Thanks for taking us along.

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  18. You sure live on the edge, I would have left the Sun glasses for some Heron to wear. Great pictures and story. Lucky you got to go up the light house.

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  19. Hunting Island is definitely on my list for our east coast sojourn! Loved your day.

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  20. Well, well, well - you got to go up in the lighthouse - lucky duck! I love Hunting Island too so I'll be happy if you go back and stay for a long time :) Great pictures and quite a water adventure over the River Jordan. It is great to see you having such a wonderful time. Yippie!

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