Hike 12
Congaree National Park Hike 12 -- June 13, 2009
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This was a great hike -- not only for me -- but for my grandson Garrett.  He loves to hike and had begged me to
take him "hiking in the swamp." After today, I am not sure he will be all that keen on doing it again -- it was a
long, muddy, tiring hike.

The swamp was wet and after we left the boardwalk part of the lead in trails to the River Trail, we knew we
were going to be in for a rough time. The ground was muddy, slippery and we spent the next 5 hours "slipping and
sliding" on our way to check out the river.

Along the way we saw lots of wildlife and Garrett finally got to see some "wild hogs" that roam all over the park.
We only saw the 20-50 pound size -- no sight of "Big Daddy" -- the 400+ pound guy I ran into a few years back.
There were lots of "downed trees" (wind damage) across the trail in several places and we had to pick our way
through the underbrush to get around them.

The further we went, the muddier we got and the more tired we became. The constant "juggling act" we had to
do to maintain our footing was wearing us both out. We finally made it to the river but alas, the water level was
way up and the sandbar was completely submerged. We sat there on some fallen trees on the bluff overlooking
the river and had a quiet lunch. Afterwards, we dried our feet off, put on dry socks, booted up, and slowly
headed for the Visitor Center.

We were two tired puppies by the time we reached my Suburban in the parking lot. Lord, did those heated, soft,
comfortable seats feel wonderful.  Back at the hotel, and yes, same one as always -- Holiday Inn Express on
Clemson Road at I-20 -- we both took a long hot bath and then crashed.  I am so glad we had used the pool
at the hotel the day before because no one was interested in going swimming today...

Garrett wasted no time in catching up on some needed sleep while I looked out the window, enjoyed a few "cool
ones" and watched another beautiful day come to a close.

It was a wonderful hike -- especially since I got to share all of it with my grandson.
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Below are two short videos taken during our hike. The first one shows Garrett taking a break on one of the many
bridges we crossed on our hike. During this break, he talks about seeing some wild hogs.

The second video, short as it is, captures a few seconds of a herd of them that we ran up on and startled them
into running away. These are the hogs that Garrett was talking about.
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