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

Henry David Thoreau

Hunting Island Hiking

Wednesday November 21, 2012
Site 83 Hunting Island State Park
Hunting Island, SC


I really dislike having to make reservations. It takes away the footloose and fancy free feel of full timing.

But if you want to be along the coast on a holiday, you pretty much have to make reservations in advance.  Especially if you are picky about your campsite.  I wanted to spend 3 of our 5 winter holidays on the water so I made reservations for 2 weeks which included Thanksgiving here at Hunting Island one of my very favorite parks.

It turns out that Carrie could get a much less expensive air fare from Baltimore to Savannah by coming two days before our reservation starts.  I try to extend our site back two days.  No dice.  So I pick another site, #59 which was equally close to the water and also very nice.  But today is the day to change sites.  We pack up and move into Site 83 after breakfast.


83 is an even nicer site and we can get the park internet here which is a bonus.


Thanksgiving 024


Thanksgiving 025



How about this view of the ocean right out our front window.
Not quite a front row seat but plenty fine.


Thanksgiving 029



After the move and lunch we set off to hike the Magnolia and Lighthouse trails.


This is a map of the trails at Hunting Island.  We, of course, hope to hike them all and should be able to with no problem in our two weeks here.

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 002


The Maritime Forest trail leaves from just outside the campground.  It is in white.  The lighthouse trail connects to it just before it ends.  We’ll take that over to the lighthouse and then walk the beach back to the campground.   Sorry for the photo glare.

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 002A


The trail starts off up hill which surprises us since we have become pretty used to the flat lands of Florida.  But these are the dunes of low country South Carolina.  It is a nice change.


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 005

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 006


Beautiful sights everywhere we look in this predominately pine forest.


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 010


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 011


 Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 059


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 019 


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 020


On a long flat stretch Carrie starts skipping so then David skips.
You have to be having a fine time to go skipping along.
And we definitely are.


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 035A


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 046A


We’re a family that loves to hike together. 

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 051


Caution!  Tree huggers and kissers at work!!

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 056



The Magnolia Trail takes us to the Lighthouse connector trail and then, of course, to the Lighthouse. 


Carrie has never seen it and I am doubly sorry we can not go up and get the great view.  But that just means we’ll all have to come back.

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 062


The original lighthouse was brick and constructed in 1859 to guide ships along the coast between Charleston and Savannah.  During the Civil War the confederate troops destroyed the light to keep the Union troops from using it for navigation.  It was reconstructed in 1875 and designed to be moved in case of barrier island erosion.  Not sure what they did for a light in the mean time but it was good planning to make it “portable”.  It was moved to its present location in 1889 and shone until 1933 when it was decommissioned.  It is the only lighthouse on the South Carolina Coast open to the public.
EXCEPT of course when they are working on it.  L

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 063


We are able to look around the grounds and go into what were two storage sheds.  They are now used for historical displays about the lighthouse, the Lighthouse Keepers, their jobs and equipment.

We see the outline of the lighthouse keepers house which burned down in 1938 during a fire which also destroyed 2/3rds of the maritime forest.  Marines assisted the CCC for 3 days in putting out the fire.

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 068


Now it’s off to the beach.  I love a totally natural beach.

The last part of the hike will be back along the ocean front. I think I’ve mentioned before that this beach is left perfectly natural.   I love this!  All the fallen trees, detritus, everything is left just as it is.  So wonderful to be on an undisturbed beach.


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 074


We are walking up the beach toward the campground.

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 073


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 075


We’re heading North toward the campground when we come to what we affectionately now call the River Jordan. 

The tide is up and this little inlet is full.


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 076


Wouldn’t you know that none of us, not one of us, could think of one song about crossing the River Jordan. 

We weren’t crazy about the idea of walking back the 3 miles we’d come over the trails when we could practically see the campground on the other side.   It’s there in the distance among the trees on the left.


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 077


So we take some advice from the permanent residents and decide to cross over in the shallows.  It doesn’t look too deep on them.  Does it?

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 084A


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 102


We’re going around that top edge since when the water drops off it is half way up my calves.

Carrie blazes the trail. 

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 088


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 091


I follow her lead.  David’s getting prepared to bring up the rear.

Jordan Crossing SLB1


Jordan Crossing SLB



Here he comes.

Jordan Crossing DGB


Oops a little adjustment mid stream.

Jordan Crossing DGB1


Now what in the world is he looking at?

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 092


We all make it across safely.  This is the other end we
decided not to wade through.


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 096


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 098


Cold feet.

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 109


Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 113


We don’t make it back in time to get over to the marsh to see the full sunset.

But we do get some colors as we close in on the campground.

Hunting Island Sunset 008


The lighthouse looks lovely in the distance.

Hunting Island Sunset 024



After wading through the Jordan, we find we have a lot of gray mud that needs to be cleaned off. 

No need for a shower I say and demonstrate how to clean your feet in a basin in the kitchen sink.

Carrie finds this hilarious.
She has apparently forgotten some of her farm girl ways now that she lives in the suburbs.  :-)


Carrie's last day 006


But she remembers pretty quickly.

Carrie's last day 001



While David is making dinner,  it’s time for a little canasta.


Let’s see….she’s winning

Thanksgiving 020


I’m winning…….

Thanksgiving 022



Actually everybody wins. 

It’s a Great day!  Great hike! Great river crossing! Great card game!

The End!!!!

Magnolia, maritime, lighthouse trails 053


  1. I smiled all the way through reading this! The pictures are great and capture the mood of a really great day :) We are a family who has a good time for sure! Can't wait for the next trip in only 3 weeks!!

  2. Looks like you had a great day!! Love the skipping!

  3. You remind me of that kid that got his tongue stuck on the flagpole in the movie "A Christmas Story". I could just see you stuck to that pine tree with your lips in a gob of pine sap! ;c)

  4. I smiled all the way through it because it made me feel so good to see David feeling so good and the three of you having so many laughs.

  5. Huntington Island is now on our list when we head east this spring...

  6. Great hike, great day. Really loved the skipping part:o)) Hey, we crossed the same river...tons of fun!!!

  7. What an awesome day.... I loved the beach and the shortcut!! You guys certainly don't lack for adventure! I added this spot to my want to see someday thanks to you.

  8. Great family time. Love that you waded through the water. And I've put my feet in my bathroom sink, nothing wrong with that. Although, last week at the refuge someone cleaned off their feet or shoes in the public restroom and did not clean out the sink, left all the mud and leaves in there.

  9. I just love the youthful spirit you all have -- skipping and wading. You're definitely an inspiration!

  10. What a delightful day! Glad you took the rustic route back to the campground. Perfect :)

  11. Boy, are you guys limber! I don't think I could angle my leg like that to get my foot in the sink! Definitely have to get that way so I can get some long pine needles!

  12. Lovely, lovely walk and Crossing of the Jordan!!!!

  13. What beautiful pictures and what fun you all had together.

  14. I feel like I went along, skipping through the pine forests and wading across the river. I can see why this is a favorite place.

  15. Great park ... I'm really liking this place ... we'll have to look into it as a stopover as we make our way down to FL or on our way back from AL.

  16. Oh gosh, what a fun day! So cool to see you all being playful! Lovely, lovely surroundings!

  17. What a great hike and wonderful photos - I'd love to do that one sometime. Looks like you have a real nice spot there.

    Just curious, the date on your blog seems to be a week behind - i.e. this one is dated November 21st. Is there a reason for that or have you explained that previously?

  18. A room with a view....stunning! Best of all, I love a gal who hugs and kisses trees - SWEET!!!

  19. oh wow Sherry! loved this ... wanna go - I still haven't gotten back to my big old trees... what great family time ... loved all the pictures ....


Your comments are the best part of this blog for me.
I LOVE hearing from you!