North Carolina to Florida

Heard owls last night. This morning I managed to get on the road before 8am – a slight improvement. It would have been earlier but it was cold outside my sleeping bag.

On my drive the North Carolina mountains transitioned to the South Carolina foothills, then to pine- and oak-filled lowlands. As I neared Congaree National Park spanish moss began to appear and it started sprinkling.

The visitors center (and restrooms and potable water) were all closed due to the shutdown, but the parking lot was full and lots of people were on the boardwalk. I only went a short way down the trail – it was partially submerged, plus I still had a long way to drive. But the trees were lovely and I wish I’d had more time to explore.

Had lunch near the park then started the long drive towards Savannah. Traffic was miserable – no matter how long I drove Google kept saying my destination was 2 hours away.

I finally got to Savannah Nationsl Wildlife Refuge around 4pm. The wildlife road was open, so I slowly drove the route through park. Lots of nice birds – various ducks (including the very cool black-bellied whistling-duck), egrets, moorhen etc. I saw my first alligators of the trip.

And in one of the wooded sections I actually saw a bobcat! I caught a glimpse of its backend – enough to see that its weirdly-long hind legs. I’d heard one having an evening snack in Virginia on the AT many years ago, but had never seen one before. Happened too fast for me to get a picture, but that was very cool. At the end of the woods there was a photographer stalking the bobcat – he said that there was a mom and two kittens.

I left the park shortly before sunset (when the park gates shut automatically), then I still had a four hour drive. I did eat dinner in Georgia, thereby satisfying my need to gave some sort of ‘activity’ in each state.

Sleeping in the car tonight – hoping that will help me get an early start in the morning.

Pics from Congaree NP:

And from Savannah NWR (and beyond):

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