Hike 8
Congaree National Park Hike 8 -- September 27, 2008
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Well, here I am again in the swamp on another beautiful hike. Today, I am again joined by my 1st cousin and this
time, she brought along her husband Jim to join in on the fun.

The weather looked great so we decided to head for the river again. This is a long hike (over 10 miles) so we
were in no hurry to get there. What my two hiking buddies didn't know that was that I had a surprise waiting
for them once we got to the sandbar along the Congaree River where we planned on stopping for lunch.  The
"surprise" -- a bottle of Merlot wine complete with glasses to enjoy a unique "lunch in the swamp."

The trail today was much different from when Cindy and I were hiking here back in May. Today, we found that
there were a lot of down trees that blocked the trail in several places. The closer we got to the river, the more
overgrown the trail was -- the grasses and weeds being over 3 feet high in lots of places. I do not like hiking on
trails where I can not see the ground where my feet are stepping. I led the way and when I was not knocking
down spider webs, I was whacking away at the trail  through the tall grass to make a path and to "encourage" any
local inhabitants -- like a huge water moccasin we stumbled across at one point -- to move out of the way.

Our time down on the sandbar was great and we enjoyed a great lunch. I doubt that anyone else has ever
plopped down on the sandbar and enjoyed home-made pimento cheese sandwiches (made by Cindy) with Merlot
wine to quench the thirst. Yeah, I know -- wine on a hike -- but hey, it WAS good!

Soon, we were rested up and ready to head back. This trip had allowed us to see several snakes -- and one that
would not move out of our way and I had to use my hiking stick to "prod" it over to the side -- several ferral
hogs feeding near by and a few birds here and there.  We finally made our way back to the visitor center. We
had been on the trail well over 7 hours and we were happy to be back.

After saying our good byes, I headed back to my hotel room and soaked in the Jacuzzi tub in my room for over
an hour. And yes, I enjoyed a few adult beverages while I soaked in the hot water and felt the jet streams
working miracles on my aching hips and legs.