I’ve always lived in tourist areas. There is always, always something fun and interesting to do. So visiting somewhere with pretty much nothing to do is rather interesting…especially when those you are visiting still have to work during the day.
My parents, who drove their RV up here just to see
my brother and his family me, came up with a brilliant idea to take us to see the Congaree Swamp. I was intrigued, but a little nervous about that plan.
First of all, I was unaware that South Carolina even had a swamp. I always thought we kept them all in Florida and the bayous of Louisiana. Second of all, aren’t swamps the place you take people and then never hear from them again? Hmmmm….
Fortunately, the swamp we were headed to was actually a State Park and they have very strict rules against feeding guest to the gators. (Whew!) When we first entered the boardwalk that wove through the swamp, I was highly unimpressed. It looked like we were just heading into the woods…it was pretty, but it was no big deal.
As we walked further in, I started to notice these things poking up from the ground that brought to mind some sort of alien life form. Mom was quick to inform me that they were called “knees” that were thought to help the cypress trees breathe. (Mom never did have much imagination!)
The further in we walked, the more swamp-like (not to mention spooky) it became. The water started pooling up and we could see thick black muck underneath it. We could now see dark green moss growing up to where the water had come up to in the last wet season. (I’m not really clear on where the water comes from, my brain wants to connect it to the tide table somehow)
We had to be careful for snakes dangling down from the trees above us.
You probably think that’s a tree branch like Mom did…Dad and I knew better. I preferred to play it safe and just pretend to gaze at all the Spanish Moss hanging down while secretly watching out for Attack Snakes.
Nestled in the middle of the swamp was a steel box that had once been used by bootleggers. They used distilled “corn squeezings” through copper tubing and cleverly hid it among the trees, guarded by vicious snakes and ‘gators.
Another swamp hazard lives in hollow trees. Six species of bats inhabit this swamp. Fortunately, they only come out at night. When they do, they consume over 600 insects per hour. And trust me, there are a lot of bugs out in that there swamp.
Despite my reservations, I found that the swamp is really a magical place. I’m really glad that we went.
And I’m really glad that we managed to avoid that hungry gator lurking around in there…