I meet the cute guys, NOW?

Trip Start Feb 22, 2006
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Trip End May 2006


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Flag of United States  , Georgia
Sunday, March 26, 2006

Cumberland Island, GA

March 23, 24, 25

Rejected Titles:

Back where I started
Six inch holes, again??

For my last stop, I added Cumberland Island to my country-wide loop. I was lucky to get a spot with such little notice but with the rain came openings. I was able to camp one night in the backcountry and another in Sea Camp, the organized campground.
In St. Mary's, I met the ferry to leave at 11:45am. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the island, where it makes two stops. Both are on the western side of the island, not very far apart. Campers get off on the second stop to take the 10 minute walk to Sea Camp or further up to the backcountry sites.
On the ferry, a guy came and talked to me. His name was Eric and he goes to Ohio State, on a road trip with a couple of his buddies. We hung out a little bit, but they ended up in a different backcountry campsite than I did.
I was assigned to Hickory Hill, which by my best estimate, was about 3 to 3.5 miles from the dock. With my heavy pack on my shoulders again, I headed out along the Parallel Trail alone. Along the way, I ran into a few armadillos. They really are oblivious, which is why they get run over so much, probably. You can walk all up on one and it won't even notice.
On the same trek, I got my first taste of the wild horses. Four of them were on the trail heading towards me later in the afternoon. I could tell they were much shyer than the wild ponies on Assateague Island, so I stepped off the path to let them pass. It turned out to be a little band of horses, one stallion, two mares and a foal. Though they were a bit skittish, the band eventually passed and I continued on my way.
I got to my campsite at about four, I think, and set up my tent. The ranger had warned us pretty heavily about the raccoons, so I climbed a nearby oak to hang up my food after dinner. I also realized that I had left my trowel and my flashlight back on dry land. Digging the famed six inch hole was bad enough, but doing so with a stick when I really had to go was not fun.
It continued to rain through the rest of the night, and even though I thought I was protected under the canopy, my tent leaked again. What luck, huh? I was thankful it was relatively warm, however.
On Friday, I hiked back to the main dock (no raccoon encounters, yay!). The ranger hadn't assigned me a specific site at Sea Camp, so I had to meet up with her. She wasn't there yet, but my pals from Ohio State were, so we exchanged wildlife stories and I found out that they had a fight with one of their travel mates and they didn't know where he was. Later they went out on the dock to have lunch and I headed further south (leaving my pack at the station) to the Dungeness ruins.
The Dungeness was a mansion back in the day and now make for nothing more than picturesque ruins. I went in search of more horses and was not disappointed.
In fact, I saw the same little band I had seen the day before. Except this time, a gray stallion had stolen the mares and foal from the bay stallion. They even began to fight a little, which was exciting to watch.
After a pleasant walk around the ruins and through some of the old slave quarters, I returned to the dock to get my campsite assignment.
I was assigned site three in Sea Camp and headed off with my pack. On the way there, I found the lost Ohio State guy who had ended up walking the wrong direction for six miles before he found someone to tell him which direction south was. He said his buddy had all the food and water, too. I had to try hard not to laugh. Silly boys.
Sea Camp is a cool campground because while the sites are close together, the thick palmettos provide a good privacy barrier. Plus they have bathrooms which meant no more six inch holes!! Yay!
With my camp set up, and plenty of day left, I spent the afternoon on the eastern beach. Another band of horses were on the beach, grazing on the dunes. So I laid back on the sand and people/horse watched.
That evening, I made my first fire of the whole trip-mostly palmettos leaves and small twigs. While it did provide me with warmth (it was supposed to get into the 30's that night), all I really got for my trouble was an outfit that reeked of smoke.
I cooked my last meal of beef stew, s'mores and hot chocolate to the Beatles. A group in the campsite across from me treated us all to their music. To be honest, I didn't mind. It was cool because a few people from other campsites started singing along, too.
As luck would have it, the one time I didn't have a flashlight, I had to pee in the middle of the night. I tried to hold it, but when I realized it was just 2:30 in the morning, I tried to brave the darkness. My campsite, however, was a good ways from the (lighted) bathrooms, so going without a light was not an option. I did have my "six function survival whistle" and one of its six functions is a light. Considering the size of the whistle and the light, I thought it would be like holding a match and I would have to walk bent over with my nose to the ground. But it was pretty darn bright, and I made it to the bathroom and back safely (and considerably lighter!).
Saturday, March 25, 2006, I got up and packed up. After one last visit to the beach, I hiked back to the dock to catch the 10:15 ferry back to St. Mary's and drive on home.
Now I'm back in Tally and happy to be so. This adventure is just one of many to come, I can promise you that!
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