Sunday, February 12, 2006

Cumberlain Island

I can’t believe that we left the sun and warm weather of Florida and started heading north already. We made our first stop in St Mary’s Georgia for three days (you have to do this in baby steps) to get used to the temperature change. While we were there we went to the Submarine Museum, which is not on the base but right downtown. The museum is in a little disorganized but if you’re interested in subs this is the place to go, there are a lot of exhibits and hands on things to see and do.

The last day there we had reservations on the ferry to Cumberland Island National Seashore, we packed the backpack with sandwiches, water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, wind breakers, cameras and some other stuff, don’t worry Cathy’s a hardy girl she can handle all that on her back. Then it was on the ferry for a 40-minute ride to the island, on arrival we were met by Ranger Arron (call me Ron) Crawford. He answered questions for about 15 minutes then we started our tour of the south end of the island, which is called the Dungeness Trail tour. He gave us a very good history lesson of the island as we walked through the forest of Live Oaks all of which are at least a hundred years old, one that he pointed out had a trunk with a diameter of over 7 feet and was named Lucy. Then we arrived at the main part of the tour, which is the Dungeness Mansion. There were two mansions at this location the first built by Revolutionary War hero Nathaneal Greene, the second was built about a 100 years later by the Carnegie family. The Carnegie family had over 200 servants living here with them and were totally self sustained with a farm, ranch, hot and cold running water and even electricity 2 years before the mainland had it. After the fire of 1959 all that remains are the ruins, which now houses the rattlesnake population of the island. The tour ends at the gravesite of Henry “Lighthorse Harry” Lee, another Revolutionary War hero and father of Robert E. Lee, who died on the island when he was a visitor of the Greene’s.

From here we had a few choices, take the main road back to the dock, take the center road about a mile and a half to the beach area or walk out to the beach and take that back to the dock. Since there was a cold wind blowing off the ocean we decided to take the center road through the forest, after about a two-mile hike we came to the beach trail, which took us out to the beach. The tide was out and we had a beach that was 300 feet deep and 17 miles long all to ourselves.

The island hosts a herd of about 250 horses that run wild, we saw about ten during our stay, we also saw wild turkeys and a ton of armadillos.

Cathy and I were the first ones back to the ranger station so we grabbed the two rocking chairs on the porch and refused to give them up to anybody, even if they were older and more feeble then us. They showed us a 30-minute video about the history of the island and then it was time for the ferry back to the mainland. We were both sound asleep by 9:30 that night.

Then it was a long cold wet rainy drive across Georgia to Elko (about 10 miles south of Perry). Were resting here for three days (another baby step) before heading to Chattanooga were we will be staying for a month, including the trip up to Michigan (giant step) to spent winter break with the kids.

More when we thaw out in March.

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