After walking along the beach for about a mile and a half, another boardwalk, this one along the Sea Camp Trail, leads you across the dunes.
It seemed like a sudden change, from the brightness of the sand dunes to the darkness of a forest of strangely twisted and misshapen Live Oak trees. The change was startling and it took a little while for your eyes to adjust. But once your eyes adjusted, what they beheld was really quite magical.
Several boys were climbing in one of the larger trees, its limbs going in every direction. There was a sign nearby. Not one that prohibited climbing in the trees, but rather cautioning climbers to wear shoes! Hidden midst the grove of trees were campsites. In the summer this area would provide a welcome relief from the glare and heat of the sun.
I followed the trail through the Live Oak forest on to the Sea Camp Ranger Station and Dock. There was very little wind and the water was as smooth as glass.
It was getting late, close to 4 o'clock, so I followed the River Trail, where I was surrounded by tall, large Live Oak trees, back to the Dungeness Dock. Quite a difference between these trees and the ones at Sea Camp. As I was walking, I kept hearing something moving around in the underbrush. It took a few minutes but I finally saw what was making the noise.
The most common view I had was from behind as I watched it for a short time. It scurried around with its nose hidden in the ground, searching for the next delicious morsel. But for a few brief seconds, the Armadillo stopped and stood on its hind legs.
With my arrival back at the Dungeness Dock, my visit to Cumberland Island was nearly over. The sun was starting to go down and it was getting colder. Along with several other passengers I patiently awaited the arrival of the ferry. This time I opted for the comfort of the warm cabin area. It was standing room only inside but sore feet and legs were a small price to pay for a little warmth. 'Twas much better than sitting outside where it was cold and windy!
There is so much more to see and learn on Cumberland Island. In the six hours I spent there I covered only the southern tip, perhaps 3 miles. It would take several days to explore the entire Island. As well as the miles of beach and trails, there are the other Carnegie estates on the northern end including Greyfield Inn (a luxury hotel) and the restored Plum Orchard mansion. There is the First African Baptist Church (where John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette were married). There is the history of the early settlements: the Timucuan Indians, the arrival of the Spaniards in 1566, Pirate attacks, then the English came in 1733, and the plantation owners in the early 1800s. In 1890 a settlement was established for emancipated slaves. For such a small place, it certainly has a fascinating history. I'm so glad that I decided to ignore the weather and visit Cumberland Island!
Other posts in this Series: