Cory: Mom wants us to tell about our 25th National Park, Congaree National Park in South Carolina.
Lark: Why? We’ve been home a week. Who cares about our trip anymore?
Cory: You know Mom doesn’t like to leave anything unfinished.
Lark: Well, then, let her write it.
Cory: She has her hands full with all the things that broke while we were gone. Like the washer and the toilet and the water line and the septic tank.
Lark: Don’t forget the ants. There are ants everywhere.
Cory: Yeah. They’re bad.
Lark: She isn’t too happy to be home. But I am.
Cory: Yeah, we know. We all heard you whining and crying as soon as we got off the Interstate. And then, you made a fool of yourself running like a greyhound just off the track.
Lark: I believe you were running right beside me. It felt good to stretch our legs, didn’t it?
Cory: Well, yeah. But you didn’t have to go in the house and empty out the toy box.
Lark: Just wanted to make sure everything was still there. So, what shall we say about Congaree? We went, it looked like home, we left?
Cory: It did look like a lot like home. Very swampy and tropical. But Congaree National Park is one of the most dog friendly parks, so we need to talk about that.
Lark: Congaree is a big park, 26,276 acres, in central South Carolina. It runs along the Congaree River and contains the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States. There are a lot of “champion trees”, I guess that they give prizes to trees if they get big and live a long time!
Cory: You can go hiking, canoeing, fishing, and camping at Congaree. We didn’t have a lot of time because as Mom says, “When you point Dad towards home, there is no stopping him.” There are ten hiking trails and dogs are allowed on them all, but we did just one, the Boardwalk Loop which is 2.6 miles round trip. The boardwalk was elevated above the swamp and went through the forest. Though it was dry, we could see where the water gets high in the summer.
Lark: It took us about an hour and a half to walk the Boardwalk Trail because Mom had to stop and take pictures. She almost stood on her head to get a shot of a Lollypop Tree; it was so tall.
Cory: Loblolly, you dope. Loblolly Pine.
Lark: Sounded like lollypop to me. I wondered why there wasn’t any candy.
Cory: Loblollies are the tallest trees in South Carolina. They had one that is over 150 feet tall.
Lark: Big deal. While we waited for Mom to get her pictures, I got bit by a thousand mosquitoes. The mosquito meter said that they were moderate but seemed like a lot to me. Just like home. In fact, I know why Dad drove so fast to get home. Congaree reminded him of all he was missing there.
Cory: There were a lot of other beautiful trees like cypress, sweetgum, swamp chestnut oak, holly, and water tupelos. There were also cabbage palms which is South Carolina’s state tree and why it is called, the Palmetto State. We learned a lot about the history of the area on the Boardwalk Trail and even saw the remnants of a moonshine still!
Lark: I needed some whiskey after all those mosquito bites! You left out the best part of the park.
Cory: What was that?
Lark: Squirrels! There were tons of squirrels. I wanted to jump off the Boardwalk and go get them. But I had to wait until we got home. We’ve been home a week now, and I’ve managed to clear most of them off our property. The huntress is out and about prowling and protecting her home. Man, it’s good to be back.
Cory: Yeah, I must agree with you. There’s no place like home.
Lark: Hey, isn’t that from a movie? Are you sure those aren’t lollypop trees?