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12/16/2012 Journey Into Focus: Excerpt from "Drawn Back to the Sea"
After several days of recharging off the road I finally aimed “The Beast” toward the shores of South Carolina. Roughly six hours later I pulled into Edisto Beach State Park and settled into a campsite a short stroll from the surf.
I’ve been asked a lot of questions during this journey… “How long will you go?” “Aren’t you scared traveling alone?” And one of my favorites… “You DRIVE that big thing???” …but one of the most significant is “What have you learned about yourself since you’ve been on the road?” One thing I’ve understood about myself for a long time is that I NEED nature. This subject alone is worthy of a blog post all it’s own, and will probably lead into a book I’m planning on writing, but there is no doubt that I feel less alive while confined indoors, or surrounded by a city. For me, nature and nurture go hand in hand. Deep down I’ve always known this about myself, but the necessity has come to the surface while on this journey. Whether high in the mountains, deep in the forest or strolling along a shore… there’s no doubt that my soul needs nature like my body needs the air that I breath.
The moment I stepped on this beach it was like a gentle wave of peacefulness washed over me, and I thought to myself, “I am home.”
Sunset at Edisto Beach State Park
The two days I planned on spending at Edisto Beach turned into four, and I was quite tempted to stay longer, but had plans to meet friends in Florida and had a few days of traveling in between.
I don’t do a whole lot of dining out, but after a long day on the road AND a long walk on the beach I needed a meal far more than I wanted to cook, so at the recommendation of one of the park staff I ventured out to the Waterfront Restaurant. The food was good, the staff was friendly, they had free WiFi, AND the owner told me about a great place to kayak where I’d likely see dolphin!
That night the sound of the surf lulled me into a restful slumber, and before daybreak it drew me back out to the beach.
Pelicans glide above the waves at sunrise
Late that afternoon I made my way to the southern end of Edisto Island with my kayak, where I did indeed find dolphin.
Kayaking with dolphin along the shores of Edisto Island
I forgot to mention that I learned of Edisto Beach from my friends and fellow travelers, David and Beth. David also suggested I check out Botany Bay Plantation, just down the road. This is a Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Management Area with a swampy creek on one side and the Atlantic Ocean and beach on the other… with a whole lot of trees, a small lake, and a few interesting tidbits of history in between. I enjoyed taking the self guided driving tour at a leisurely pace, stopping along the way to photograph the scenery.
Tunnel of oaks through Botany Bay Plantation
First alligator sighting since returning south, at Botany Bay Plantation
Bleak Hall Plantation icehouse
At the recommendation of one of the park rangers I also enjoyed hiking Scott Creek Trail right there in the state park.
Regardless of my plans for the day, I was drawn to the beach for sunrise every morning. I know Jazzy and Sadie enjoy walking along the shore every bit as much as I do, but they’re also good at indulging me… sitting patiently while I stop to photograph the waves and dolphins and pelican along the way.
Dolphin pair at sunrise
Jazzy and Sadie happy to be back on the beach!
I was camped about forty miles south of Charleston, and since I’d never been there I spent one afternoon hiking throughout the historic part of town. I know I didn’t come close to seeing all there is to see, and will make a point of coming back one day to discover it in more depth. In all honesty, it’s one of those places I know I’d enjoy more if I had someone to share it with, so hopefully I’ll come back with a friend.
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
Upon my return from Charleston I discover that a Pilot Whale had beached itself just a short distance from the campground, and sadly couldn’t be saved. I know it’s often illness or age that causes a whale to do this, but I had no way of knowing the reason when I left the following day. I just did a google search to see if any answers had been posted, and discovered this was one of at least three Pilot Whales that died along this part of the coast in a matter of days. No confirmed reason yet, but it’s suspected that intestinal parasites may be the cause in at least one of the whales.
Edisto Beach State Park… home for a few days… was another one of those places I had a hard time leaving, and did so knowing that I would return. When I do, it will be to this same campground. It was recommended to me, and I can easily endorse that recommendation. The beach is marvelous, the surrounding area enchanting, and the staff was helpful and friendly.