Congaree National Park (NP #12), South Carolina



My mom and I visited Congaree National Park (map / wiki) last Sunday (3/22/15).


Unfortunately, the visitors center was closed so I don’t have the stamp to show for it. The park was still open, and despite the sprinkling and intermittent showers my mom and I were excited to stretch our legs and see some new scenery[ I actually had stomach pain at the time which I originally blamed on some old carrots I ate on empty stomach an hour earlier. After thinking about it more, I decided that there must have been some Simple Green on the rag I wiped the carrots down with to clean them off.. I just don’t want to catch flak from my mom by painting a misleading picture. I was in bad shape. Anyways.. ]


Bald Cypress


Congaree is a mostly flat flood plain for the Congaree River. The river creates the southern border of the park. Radically different to every flood plain I’m familiar with, Congaree is also an old growth forest populated by towering giants which are tolerant to their continually inundated soil.


The trunks of the trees have moss growing up to a common high water mark, about 6′ above where the rippling pools stand today. The base of the tree trunks bulge out and the roots poke up through the water creating miniature island spires that are referred to as ‘knees’. The exact purpose of these knees is still debated, but in my 15 minute opinion it might have something to do with aerating the submerged roots.




The elevated looping boardwalk (~2 miles) is a really cool idea because you can experience the swamp without actually trudging through the muck. Places like this remind me of how far I am away from California. This environment – the abundance of water – is nothing like the mountains, beaches, or deserts I am familiar with. The amount of moisture in the air could make lighting a match difficult.




It’s another brick added to my internal pride that places so different get to fly the same flag.”





4 Comments on “Congaree National Park (NP #12), South Carolina

  1. Great photos Jay! Was fun to see the ‘ol south with you, don’t forget JD’s Café . . . . . .can’t wait to see your next posts. Love you, Mom

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