Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Carolina Coastal Camping Adventure

The Low Country of South Carolina is one special place full of history, culture, relaxation, and endless  potential for family fun.  My family and I have been visiting this isolated region of the state for nearly ten years and we never leave disappointed.  This past Columbus Day weekend my sister and brother in-law made the trip down from Chicago to share a camping trip with us and experience first hand why we keep coming back.
Our first morning we were greeted by one of those picture perfect sunrises only available on the East Coast as the sun breaks the long line of the Atlantic Ocean.  My brother in-law and I share a love of hooking into some gills so with a brilliant sun in our faces we hit the surf to try our luck.  I managed to hook into a small Lady Fish but unfortunately he only got to practice his casting.  For all the beauty of the small island we frequent on our camping trip, I have never had much luck in the fishing department.  It never stops me from trying however and I always bring my rods and gear just in case I hit it at the right time.
  My kids always come out to cheer me on when I toss that fly out there into the surf but on this morning they were content to watch the sun cast a rainbow of colors into the deep blues of a clear sky.  We were lucky enough to have an offshore buildup of clouds that provided a great photo opportunity.  It was also one of those sun rises that stick in your mind for the rest of the day.  It sets the mood that this is going to be a great day and nothing can beat it.
    After a great breakfast that you can only get in the outdoors with a cast iron skillet and a cooler full of eggs, sliced potatoes, all cooked in bacon grease, we packed up the beach gear and made the twenty yard trek over the sand dune to the beach.  Immediately the kids are in the water and the adults set up some gear and enjoyed the waves and weather.  We made some sand castles, dug up some shells and eventually began a long nature walk on the virtually empty beach in search of interesting thing that have washed up on the last tide.  This small island is blessed to be a state park and is virtually deserted besides the campers and a few tourists that visit the light house so there is few beach combers to compete with.
 Besides the normal shells and drift wood, this year we keyed on the illusive SHARK TEETH!  As I said the other day, everyone love finding shark teeth.  Young, old, men, women - it is just an awesome find.  In the past nine years I have only been lucky enough to spot one tooth but this year we gave it a reel effort and in a short time had over a dozen teeth in hand.  Ranging in sizes from a two inches to one that was barely the size of my 4 year old's pinky finger nail - It was one of the smallest I have ever seen.  Looking up the teeth at the local ranger station we discovered that the teeth more than likely belonged to Sand sharks (the one to the left), a few Lemon shark teeth, Bull, and Thresher Sharks.  What is amazing to me is that these teeth are fossilized - thousands of years old -  and they are just as sharp today as they were when the shark dropped them.  I actually tried to brush the sand off one of the larger ones with my thumb and left behind a sliver of skin on the point.  Even long after they are dead sharks can still take a bite out of you.  Just another one of Gods amazing creatures.

While hunting up shells and teeth, my daughter found a hitch hiker in the surf and picked him up. It was one of the many species of butterflies out this time of year on the island.  This one was a Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae nigrior) and it had somehow fallen into the surf so my daughter let him ride on her hat for another half hour till its wings dried.  At one point he crawled over the brim of her hat and hung upside down, looked her strait in the eye, and seemed to say thank-you.
Later on we made the walk down the beach to a section my little boy calls the 'forest of dead trees' due to the fact that the ocean has over the years eroded enough sand that it began to encroach on the forest.  The result is that a number of oaks, palms, and pines have been salt poisoned and toppled over into the beach.  At high tide you find yourself going over and under huge bleached root balls and tree trunks that provide shelter to an abundance of crabs and tidal creatures.  It also provides endless opportunities for photos.  Ansel Adams would have had a field day with the black and white camera.
As always our time spent on the coast of Carolina was memorable and too short.  Even with a late night thunderstorm that left most our stuff damp on our last day, we left the sea shore happy and content counting the days till we can make our way back. 

(For those that are really interested in just where this slice of paradise is - Email me and I just might tell you.  Lately the word on this campground has gotten out and we have hard time getting the sites we enjoy.  Call me greedy but like the fisherman I am - I feel inclined to keep this spot as much a secret as I can even if it really isn't a secret anymore.)


Anonymous said...

Looks like a great trip! Beautiful place for a get away...

BrookfieldAngler said...

I love the Carolinas! On of my favorite family vacations was out that way. Absolutely gorgeous

Unknown said...

Midgeman - it is and and the kids loved every minute.

Brookfield - And I'm lucky enough to live here . Not rubbing it in, just saying its sooooo much better the chi-town in the winter!

BrookfieldAngler said...

HA...yeah I'm sure the winters are much more on the mild side. My sister in-law might be moving out that way. Seems like a good excuse to visit!

Unknown said...

Sounds like a good excuse to me. We moved from the cold northern winters nearly 10 years ago and never looked back.....except in the summer... Dang its hot in July!

Campervan Hire Provider said...

Such a relaxing coast to spend some memorable camping adventure. Thanks for sharing.