Tuesday, August 5, 2014

An Unencumbered View

Todd and I recently took a short trip to celebrate our anniversary.  We decided to stay local this time, so we spent a long weekend in the Savannah area.  Sunday was spent on Cumberland Island.

Cumberland Island National Seashore (about 90 minutes south of Savannah) is a pretty unique place.  The 18 mile-long island is only accessible by boat.  There are no paved roads or trails, and no more than 300 people per day can be present on the island.  The Carnegie family originally owned about 90% of the island, building huge mansions there, but eventually donated the property to the National Park Service.

It's a beautiful ferry ride, about 45 minutes long, to reach the island.  We traveled on the Intracoastal Waterway, with Florida on one side and Georgia on the other.  We saw dolphins!

 The island is home to about 200 wild horses.  They were brought to the island by the English in the 18th century, and have thrived.  They're tame, but they bite!  We saw several of our old friends, the dung beetles, taking care of their leftovers on the trail.

The old Carnegie mansions are in ruins.  They were something, though, in their day!

Thomas Carnegie died before their big 59-room mansion was completed, but Lucy Carnegie and her 9 children lived there full-time.  She employed 200 servants to keep things running smoothly.  Two hundred servants for ten people!  Forty of these little cottages served to house them.  They almost remind me of English cottages, minus the palmetto trees, of course!

I fell in love with the live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss in Savannah.  They're at the island, too, and some of the gnarled branches went all the way to the ground!

We saw deer and raccoons, but no alligators, armadillos, or wild pigs, which also populate the island.  Now, picture this:  a white-sand beach, warm water, a beautiful sunny day, and not a single other person around.  Most people clustered at the first beach access point, but Todd and I hiked about 4 miles up the coast and had the beach to ourselves.  Lots of Great White sharks in the vicinity, though, so we didn't go more than thigh-deep in the water! 

We saw lots of birds:

Dead horseshoe crabs were all over the beach.

I finally saw the elusive ghost crab, too.

They've got comical cartoon eyes on long stalks, and love to dig.  This is a ghost crab hole:

Look closer and you can see him hiding:

The dunes around the beach were pretty, too.

It was a long, hot hike back to the ferry though, and we had heavy backpacks.  Someone was pretty exhausted by the end, and had a little nap before we boarded. 

That 8-mile hike, coupled with the 8-mile hike the day before, was pretty draining.  I was happy to rest in the car and concentrate on my knitting on our drive back to Savannah!

I'll try to make an extra post this week to include our day in Savannah, and also the beautiful, haunting Bonaventure Cemetery. 

Have a great week! 

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