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The Mrs. and I just got back from a wonderful couple of days on Cumberland Island just off the coast from St. Mary's, GA. Cumberland is run by the National Park Service and is the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia. The park is pristine and since it's only accessible by boat (of which two public ferries run per day) there are never more than 100 or so guests on the island at once. The island is home to wild horses, deer, hogs, wild turkey, armadillos, copperhead and cottonmouth snakes among others and tons of marine life off the shore. We took the 11:45am ferry out there on Sunday and hiked from Sea Camp to Brickhill Bluff 10.5 north on the island as the crow flies, probably more like 12-13 on the trails we took. We changed our plan at the last minute and barely made it to camp before sundown but it was well worth it as we camped right on the bank of the Cumberland River, were treated to a spectacular sunrise and had the entire camp to ourselves. The following morning we hiked back south via trails that ran closer to the east side of the island parallel to the Atlantic Ocean. Some of these trails had obviously not been used or maintained in quite sometime as we were bushwhacking through some incredibly dense Palmetto tickets. Some of these trails ran close to neighboring marsh and swamp which made me a bit leery about stepping on a snake, not really seeing where you were stepping sometimes. We hiked about 8 miles or so to Stafford Beach campground to make camp for the night. Stafford was dramatically different than our spot at Brickhill as it was inland a few hundred yards and sat underneath a dense canopy of live oaks whose twisting branches loomed pretty close to the ground. The next morning we hiked a short 3.5-4 miles back to the Ranger Station at Sea Camp to catch the 10:15am ferry back to the main land. We lucked out with weather with highs in the low to mid 70s and lows at night in the 50's.
Hiking north along the parallel trail
I found a Great White's tooth (I think) on this road as we were walking. They use sand from the beach to maintain the road.
We passed several of the islands wild horses as we approached camp on night one
A few pics of our first camp on Brickhill Bluff
Shortly after I took the photo above we came across this guy (a Cottonmouth, I believe), just off the trail. We had to wait a minute or two before he let us pass.
Another couple shots of the beautiful maritime forest canopy
Cumberland is truly a magical place. Check it out if you're ever in the area!