Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park
South Carolina

May 2013


This was Kellisa's second visit to Congaree National Park, with the first visit back in July 2006. We first visited this park because it featured a boardwalk trail that's over 2 miles in length. 2006 was before we were pushiking challenging trails and this was the longest boardwalk I could find in the southeast. Despite being an easy walk or push, this amazing boardwalk leads through the largest old-growth bottomland hardwood forest as you are surrounded by diverse plant and animal life. 

We drove several hours in thunderstorm conditions on our way towards Congaree. I was tempted to keep driving home and save this hike for another time. However, we wouldn't let a lot of rain stop us. We entered the park while it was still raining and decided to leave the customary Kellisa in front of the National Park sign photo for after our hike, hoping the rain would stop and it did. Actually, the rain stopped while we were driving between the sign and the visitor center. The rain started again less than three minutes after I snapped the sign photograph after our walk.  


With all the rain and standing water, Kellisa and I loaded up on DEET.


Since we walked the boardwalk back in 2006, we wanted to pushike along some of the trails deeper into the interior of the park. However, since the trails resembled a swamp, it was an easy decision to walk the boardwalk. The lush greenery was breath taking.



The birds were singing high praises during our entire walk and Kellisa was excited to hear their music as she points in the direction of a woodpecker.






Kellisa wheeling herself:







Hike stats:




Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Virginia Creeper Trail

Virginia Creeper Trail
Virginia

May 2013

I've been wanting to hike a long section of the Virginia Creeper Trail with Kellisa since we visited the area back in June 2006. We finally had the chance while attending Trail Days 2013 and we hiked 6.81 miles from Taylor's Valley down to Damascus. We had hoped for 17 miles, but a late start and scattered thunderstorms altered our plans.

We need to thank Adventure Damascus for being our shuttle to Taylor's Valley and not being scared to take Kellisa's Freedom Push Chair along for the ride:


Kellisa enjoying the shuttle van ride on our way to the trailhead:


Taylor's Valley Trailhead:


Starting down the Virginia Creeper Trail:


Shortly after starting, we entered the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area:


Views along the trail:



We crossed several of the 34 bridges along the entire trail:





The greenery came alive with the fresh rain:


Happy to have the rain cover removed:


Trip stats:


Our hike along the Virginia Creeper Trail:


Sadly, Trail Days 2013 will be remembered for the car accident that hurt over 50 hikers. I wanted to get Kellisa back to the hotel for a good night of sleep and we left 5 minutes before the accident. If we didn't leave, we would have been just across the street from the accident. 

On a more positive note, we attended a presentation by Jennifer Pharr Davis, one of the world's most accomplished hikers, about her first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Kellisa especially enjoyed meeting Jennifer after the presentation.