Sunday, May 14, 2017

Part Two: Cumberland Island

Tuesday morning we headed to St. Mary's to catch the ferry across to Cumberland Island.  This is a painless process that the staff explains really well and even I-someone who tends to need a good bit of information-felt totally unconcerned about the undertaking.

The only functional dock on the island since Hurricane Matthew is at Sea Camp.  This meant that after we landed after noon, we had a 7.5 mile hike up island to our site for the next 2 nights.

The island is fairly flat, other than the dunes, we were expecting an easy walk.  It turned out to be harder than we thought it would, harder even than the similar distance we'd walked climbing in and out of the canyon just the day before.  Part of it was weight-with 2 liters of water each plus 4 days of food, all our gear and swim stuff meant we all had heavy packs.  Chandler came in at about 20 because I set her up with the lightest stuff I had to help with her knee issues.  Matt likely had over 30 and I was somewhere in the middle.  I did not even want to hand him his pack, it was HEAVY.

One thing we both did was carry more clothing than we had to.  I also had us all carrying sleeping bag liners, which we did not need, but I wanted to combat sweat.  Matt carried his full down quilt, Chan and I had swapped to a much lighter down throw.  It was so hot I did not need my insulated pad, so I just hauled that 2 pounds around like a crazy person.  We didn't use the first aid kit and I didn't use my extra shirt.  So.  Dang.  I am still not great with packing, I doubt I ever will be.  I was glad to have my scrubs and long sleeves against the skeeters, though.

The van stayed covered in a light coating of ash.  Blergh.

Shots from inside the salt-crusty windowed ferry, we decided we'd be in the sun enough so we hid out in the cabin.

It's $7 per person for a 7 day pass.

The trails alllll look like some version of this.  I took loads of photos because it was just so different from the trails I usually hike.

We arrived at Yankee Paradise and found a spot to set up.
Ironically, after all those miles of oaks, we camped in pines.
The ticks were so bad that if you stood still, they would crawl up your feet.
Matt and Chandler had dozens on them over the trip, I had 2.  It's the only time having a near zero heat signature comes in handy.

Wednesday morning we left Chan lounging and Matt and I walked the 2 miles to Plum Orchard to get water.  We ended up staying and doing the tour of the house.

I took nearly no photos on the tour, which lasted an hour.
I did see these horses out the window.

And I liked the basement, particularly the elevator.

These bricks are in arches to support the tiles for the indoor pool.

There it is!  It was a diving pool.
It was set up in this complicated way to heat it from spring water temps of 68 to a balmy coal-heated temp of 75.  Brrr

There were more horses outside as we left.

Back at camp, we sat in the shade of our rain flies until we'd sweated out nearly all the water we just went and got.  So, I decided we should hike to the beach.  The nearest one for use was a mile and a half one way.  We started walking.

The water was in the 70's, which was quite nice to get cooled off.  I made us get out and put on more sunscreen every 40 minutes, despite the bottle saying it was sweat and water proof for 80 minutes.
It was 3 when we arrived, we stayed until after 6.  The sun was still quite high, but we were getting tired and really hungry.

Tired.  Hungry.

This horse hogged the trail and we could not get past.  We ended up hiding in the bushes while it wandered back and forth, snorting and pawing the ground.  Then it saw us and ran.  GAH. 

At camp, we ate burritos and they were so good!
We hung out in our skeeter netting.  Matt and Chan decided to walk back to Plum Orchard for the sunset, I thought about it but opted to just brush my teeth and get some rest.  They came crashing back a while later, full of tales of more horses and armadillos.

Thursday morning we got up before the sunrise and packed, then walked a mile a half back over to the beach so we could walk on it and avoid the brushy narrow trail.  There is QUITE the climb through the dunes to get there, which was not fun with a pack on!

horses off in the distance

deer prints.
They only ever led up from the water, never toward it.
Selkie Deer.

We walked 4 more miles down the beach to Stafford and cut back to Pratt's Trail and then to the Parallel Trail from there. 

The hike from Stafford to Sea Camp is about 3.5 more miles.  It was easier going this time, it was before the heat of the way and we didn't have as much food or water weighing us down,
Chan did the entire thing barefoot.  I did all but the last 3 miles barefoot as well.

Our site at Sea Camp, site 12.

TWO tables, nice!
And a food cage.  Which we needed.

site 12 has a private trail to the bathroom
the bathroom has a spring fed shower.

The boardwalk to the beach

After it cooled off a bit, we decided to go for a walk.  Because the 9 miles that morning with full packs wasn't cutting it for this family. ha!

We walked the half mile to the dock and watched the dolphins and the fiddler crabs for a while.

We headed down island to Dungeness along the River Trail.

osprey nest in the chimney top

I switched to black and white because there's nothing else for it.

We cut back across to the beach from Dungeness, passing the cemetery and salt marsh

and more horses

and turkey

The final mile back was along the beach, giving us a 15 mile day!
I enjoyed my icy shower afterward.

4 days of sweat and sea water.  My hair was FRIED.
I didn't bring shampoo, but I had a bottle of this stuff which worked really well.
Will buy more!

Friday morning, we packed up and took the 10:15 ferry back to avoid that sweltering part of the day!

Goodbye, Cumberland Island!

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.