Congaree National Park: Silence is Golden

Hello darkness, my old friend,

I've come to talk with you again.

Because a vision softly creeping,

Left its seeds while I was sleeping.

And the vision that was planted in my brain,

Still remains,

Within the sound of silence.

 

The Sound of Silence—Simon and Garfunkel

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Wandering through Congaree National Park will not elicit feelings of angst or depression that the lyrics of The Sound of Silence might evoke but the overwhelming feeling that you are experiencing a sacred ritual is prevalent.  Although you’ve walked thousands of times through all different types of terrain (cities, suburbs, stores, beaches, etc), one element of this experience has been lacking—silence.  Congaree is amazingly silent and even encountering other hikers means that a courteous hello will be met with hushed tones.  Congaree commands respect without ever uttering a word.

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A small park (only 26,000 acres) it boasts 25 miles of hiking trails, camping, fishing, canoeing and kayaking.  I hiked approximately 3 miles between the Boardwalk and Sims Trails, spending time at Weston Lake and Wise Lake. 

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 A turtle (directly below the 4 x 4 post) makes his way towards the shore in Lake Weston.

A turtle (directly below the 4 x 4 post) makes his way towards the shore in Lake Weston.

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The mud between these trails can measure eight feet thick in spots and helps to cleanse the environment of pollution and toxins that would threaten the ecosystem.  My advice is to stay on the trails as much as possible because there are some huge spiders to be found between limbs, leaves, stumps and trees. 

 The thick mud seen here helps to maintain a healthy balance in this special forest.

The thick mud seen here helps to maintain a healthy balance in this special forest.

 If you look closely just above the center of this picture, you can see a rather large spider resting in its web.

If you look closely just above the center of this picture, you can see a rather large spider resting in its web.

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Congaree is (according to the National Park website) home to “the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States.”

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Congaree, located about 20 miles southeast of Columbia, SC, is unique in that it is open to the public 24 hours/day, does not charge a fee for entry or use of the park and has a Boardwalk trail that allows disabled visitors (especially in wheelchairs) to enjoy the surroundings.  If you want a secluded place where peace and quiet is your goal (and your phone will be inoperable) Congaree is a destination that you will want to experience. 

 A colorful black butterfly travels along the brush.

A colorful black butterfly travels along the brush.

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 The roots of the many trees in the forest intertwine like a web of wood.

The roots of the many trees in the forest intertwine like a web of wood.

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Have you explored Congaree National Park?  If so, what are your thoughts about this park? 

For more information about Congaree National Park, click the link below.

https://www.nps.gov/cong/index.htm