Hike 13
Congaree National Park Hike 13 -- August 15, 2009
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Well, I finally got my 1st cousin Janie Lynn (Cindy's sister) to come with me on one of my hikes in the swamp.
She was all set to go -- ready to kick butt and takes names -- she was ready.  Unfortunately, as the hours went
by, that feeling was slowly replaced with pain and a strong yearning to be home and soaking in a hot bath.

The hike started out OK but the trails were wet and muddy -- read that to be slipping and sliding a lot,
especially down on the River Trail itself. Also, with all the summer rains, the grasses and wild stuff (weeds) had
just about taken over the River Trail on the long section that parallels the Congaree River. I went first and
cleared the spider webs out of the way and used my hiking stick to prod the grasses/weeds ahead of me to
scare away "anything" that might be lurking there (read that water moccasin snakes) like the one we saw curled
up along side the trail near the bridge at Cedar Creek.

The bugs were out in force and with us sweating so much, we attracted them in large numbers. I think we went
through two cans of bug spray. The water was high at the river and we only got to go out just a short distance
on the sandbar that was partially submerged.  After a short lunch, complete with a small glass of wine, we took
our boots off and tried to let them dry out before we baby powdered them up and put clean, dry socks back on.

The 5 miles back to the Visitor Center was tough. Janie Lynn's feet were really hurting her bad and eventually,
I had to walk along side her and half hold her up. All the mud sliding and efforts to keep our balance in the long
muddy sections of the River Trail had taken a heavy toll on both of us. Anyway, after what seemed like a life
time, we struggled our way out of the swamp. One of our concerns had been that we might not make it back in
time to get to our car before they locked the gate.  We passed a couple coming towards us that said, no, they no
longer do that (lock the gate).

With that worry gone, we struggled on slowly to the car and boy, did those soft, heated seats in my Suburban
feel good -- even if it was 90 degrees outside. After dropping her off back at her home near Columbia, I headed
straight for the Holiday Inn Express up on I-20 at Clemson Road.

I do not think I have ever enjoyed the Jacuzzi tub in my room as much as I did today. Of course, several adult
beverages while soaking helped a lot as well as those I finished off while looking out of the window and seeing
another beautiful sunset end a very long day.