Cumberland Island 2011 Photos
This was my second visit to the island. I loved it so much the first time, I gathered a couple of my hiking buddies for this trip to introduce them to the island.
We drove down to Kingsland, GA from NC (6 hours) after work on Thursday night. Got a room at a Best Western about midnight and got some sleep.
Woke up Friday morning and caught the 9:15 ferry to the island. It's about a 45 minute ride to the island, but there is alot to see on the way. We saw a huge Stingray leap out of the water. I hadn't ever seen that before!
Arrived at the Rangers cabin at 10 and attended the orientation. Luckily, I was first on the reservation list, so I got first pick at the campsites I wanted. I had heard the bugs were really horrible at Brickhill, so I decided to pick the sites in a way that we could turn our hike into a loop. We would stay at Yankeee Paradise (7.5 from dock) the first night, then hike to Stafford Beach the second night. That would also put us only 3.5 miles from the dock on Sunday morning... we didn't want to hike 7 miles on the last day!
We left on our hike going between the main road and paralell trail just for the heck of it. Ate lunch on the trail, then arrived at the Yankee Paradise site. There was a nice cluster of 6 or 7 pine trees at the site perfect for hanging. All 3 of us hung in the cluster of pines, only feet apart. As we were relaxing from the 9 mile hike (should have been 7.5 but we kept taking the scenic routes) a group of scouts stopped through our camp for a quick rest on their way to Brickhill. We chatted a bit about hammocks and they went on their way. We ate dinner and slept pretty good. I took a hammock sock and my down bag as temperatures weren't supposed to be lower than 65 at night. I have done that before without a UQ before so no issues, I thought I was cool. I woke up about 4 am shivering like a wet rat! I looked at my thermometer and it was in the low 50's... you could see your breath! I put all of my extra clothes in the hammock, put on my Bugnet and sock at the same time and managed to warm up. Still, I gotta admit it was a silly mistake and I paid a penalty for it.
We got up about 7 on Saturday morning and walked the 4 miles to Hickory Hill and Stafford beach sites. I gotta admit that the hickory hill site looked like a good spot to hang also. We setup at Stafford, then spent the rest of the day napping, reading, and hanging out on the beach. The group of scouts we saw on the way to brickhill the day before showed up at Stafford just after we arrived. I asked why they left Brickhill after they had told me they were staying all weekend and they said the noseeums and skeeters were so bad they were all miserable and they had actually considered hiking back to Stafford in the middle of the night!! He said the noseeums were getting in the tents even with everything cinched up tight. I'm glad we heeded the warnings. Saturday night was one of the best nights sleeps I have ever gotten in a hammock. I could hear the ocean all night, it was clear, and the breeze was just cool enough to feel like air conditioning, but not too cold.
We woke up on Sunday morning to another beautiful day. Hiked to the dock, and headed home. It was a very nice and a pleasantly uneventful trip. It went extremely smooth except for the one night of getting cold, and I got a blister, but wrapped it, and worked through it.
We saw 3 or 4 snakes. Couldn't tell what kind. We saw horses, hawks, treefrogs, lizards, dolphins, stingrays, fiddler crabs, and fearless birds.
Ticks, skeeters, flies, and noseeums were pretty aggravating. They weren't unbearable anywhere we went, but they were always present. Bug spray took care of them for the most part. I didn't get one tick off of me that was stuck. Only a few crawling.
We took enough water into the wilderness area so we didn't have to filter until we got back to Stafford Beach, where we filtered everything we used.
We ended up walking a total of about 17 miles. They are easy, flat miles.
I definitely recommend this trip. The rangers and staff are all great and very accommodating. There is nothing like laying on an empty beach alone at night, watching the stars.
I have a ton of pics I am still sorting through but will put them up and bump this post later today.
Here are the pictures. I put them on my own site because it was too many to upload here.
Cumberland Island 2011 Photos