Visiting Congaree National Park

A few years back, we visited the Congaree National Park, and I didn’t like it. I wasn’t excited to be walking in the heat of the summer through a mosquito-infested jungle while hardly breathing due to the high humidity. Jason talked so high about how good walking through trails would be and how cool that there was a National Park near us that we could visit for a day trip. I was excited to go at first. Then I wasn’t so excited once we got there. Then I was unenthusiastic throughout the walk.

The same way I love teaching people how to crochet, Jason loves showing me the outside world. He did not give up! I feel like his mission is now to show me a different world with unbelievable sights and indescribable feelings. Just not on a magic carpet ride. Yet.

“The more things you do, the more you can do.” -Lucille Ball

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After our move into Mr. Bunker, we declared ourselves outdoorsy person, with me being a newly-outdoorsy person as a fine print. We decided to refit the kayak rack that used to be on Jason’s old car to fit on top my current car. This would be handy to hold kayaks and bikes and all that jazz. Although I’m still undecided whether I like the mountain bike idea better than the “ring ring” bike, the rack would fit either type so we wanted to go ahead and get that ready.

We went to the local outdoors shop. The guy who helped us out asked if we wanted to go kayaking that same weekend. Well… like that famous insurance commercial, when you’re living in an RV, you’re going to do outdoorsy things. That’s just what you do. We answered, “why not?!” and signed up.

The weather was a little chilly, but to me, it was perfect! The only mosquitoes around were the ones around the trees. They didn’t bother the people who knew how to stir away from the trees. Since this was only my second time kayaking, I failed to stir away from the trees a few times, causing mosquitoes to have a delicious buffet. Then, later, I went under a tree that had spider webs on it only to discovered little guy hitchhiked its way on my hair. Mmm, yeah. Scary, but not scarier than jumping in murky water due to my lack of balancing talent. According to the dudes, the spider jumped into the water. Mmm yeah, there was a spider in the shower later, which made me suspicious.

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Beside the spider and running into trees, everything was great. I’d say I don’t mind doing this trip again. I have my reasoning:

  1. The water was calm. It made for calm and nice paddling even for beginners (scardy cat) like me.
  2. The trees around provided some canopies. They provided shade in the summer and made for pretty leaves coverage on the water in the fall.
  3. The width of the river was nice to be able to maneuver around fallen trees, just in case.
  4. There were plenty of things to do other than paddling. You could follow the boardwalk or the varied difficulty trails.
  5. The beautiful, unique view made Congaree an under-appreciated National Park. It was the first National Park that I visited, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

I wanted to do more things that I hadn’t done before. I wanted to do it with the people I know so eventually I can explore things myself. Two of our friends came with us. They had a tandem kayak and paddled it like champions. Eventually, I’d train my courage to do more things that are considered more outdoorsy. This experience made me more brave to do more kayaking next time.

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“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use.” -Ruth Gordon

We find that each place has its time in our list. Not all the great places can be enjoyed all year long, even San Francisco (one of my favorite cities in the world). Columbia, along with a lot of cities in the Southeast is nice during the Fall and Winter time, but not so much in the Summer. For fans of humidity where it feels like breathing in water instead of air, Summer time IS the best time to come.

Have you been to a National Park? Which one is your favorite so far?

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Nerd out,
Stephanie

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