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Hunting Island State Park, SC
Wednesday, April 26, 2000 - 3:00pm by Lolo
232 miles and 4.25 hours from our last stop - 3 night stay
We returned to our campsite on Hunting Island after our overnight excursion to Jekyll Island, only to find that our tablecloth had been stolen from our picnic table. I'm sure that whoever took it thought that we had left for good and forgotten it behind, but were now feeling pretty awkward about our return to the crime scene. No one owned up and returned it. They were probably feeling too embarrassed.
We had three more nights to spend in our little island paradise and were very much looking forward to it. Most of the time was spent doing what we had the first three days--relaxing and swimming on the beach and biking around the island. However, we did try to cover anything other sights and activities that we missed the first time.
One day, we rode our bikes all the way down past the lagoon to the very southern tip of the island. We locked the bikes and walked out onto the giant fishing pier that extends more than 1,000 feet out into the inlet between Hunting and Fripp Islands. There were lots of people fishing along the pier. Right next to the pier, was a nice little Nature Center that we stopped in to see the exhibits they had on the local marine life. There were saltwater tanks with live snakes, turtles, and other reptiles.
On the way back we stopped to explore the salt marshes on the western part of the island. We rode our bikes across the long boardwalk that was built across the marsh to a small island with a viewing platform. The lighting was getting low making the scenery quite breathtaking. This would be a wonderful place to come back some evening to watch the sunset.
Another great activity we discovered at Hunting Island were the guided Ranger walks which started every day from the campground office. The first day we had to drag the boys off the beach to go, but after that they were asking us if they could go every day. It was great.
However, I must say that our biggest adventure was our circumnavigation of the island in our blowup boat. That's right, we had packed a 12-foot Avon inflatable raft and 6 hp motor in the hopes of exploring Hunting Island be sea. The raft was stored in a big bag at the foot of the kids' bed over the cab, the wooden floorboard was stored next to the refrigerator, and the 6 hp motor was attached to the back ladder of the RV. A little extreme, but Herb's favorite place is definitely out on the water.
We inflated our raft at our campsite and carried it and all the other necessary boating paraphernalia, of which there was much, down to the beach. As we assembled and prepared for our launching, a crowd began to gather and stare. I'm not sure if the looks on their faces were ones of envy or of disbelief. Launching was not that easy. The waves, although not huge, were significant enough to make it fairly difficult for us to row out past them. However, Captain Herb, in his desperation for a day out on the water, managed to navigate us out beyond the crashing surf. I tried not to think about coming back in later.
We headed north first and hung a left into the calmer waters of Johnson Creek. Now, this was getting fun. As we cruised along, small porpoises delightfully swam alongside our boat.
I would have thought that navigating around an island would have been a no-brainer, but it wasn't. After Johnson Creek, we came out into more open water--the waterway that separated Hunting Island from the mainland. All we needed to do was hang a left at the end of the island onto the narrow channel that separated Hunting Island from Fripp Island. No problem, right? Yes, big problem. There were so many inlets along the left to choose from that we that we felt like Henry Hudson in search of the Northwest Passage. To top it off, Herb informed me that our gas was getting low. Now I was really getting nervous and cranky. Also, our inflatable was just too slow--4 mph when we were nailing it--to waste the time and the gas exploring each of these inlets to find the right one. We had to guess right. Fortunately, one soon became the obvious choice, and we made our turn around the southern end of the island. Before continuing our circumnavigation, however, Herb said that we had to find gas on Fripp Island first. Fortunately, we fairly quickly found a marina with gas.
Rather than go around the island just yet, we cruised up the lagoon which cuts into the southern end of the island for about a mile--the same one that we had been bicycling along all week. This I liked. It was calm and very tropical looking, with palmetto trees overhanging the banks. Earlier in the week, I had commented that this place looked a lot like Gilligan's Island. Pretty ironic that it would have been our Gilligan's Island if we hadn't managed to find gas on Fripp Island. We stopped here for awhile and enjoyed the sun and the quiet.
I couldn't totally relax though because before turning into the lagoon, I had got a glimpse of the current and wave action we would have to go through to get around the southern tip of the island, and I didn't like it at all. Herb was amused by my wimpiness. Well, obviously we did live to tell and even write about it.
When we finally reached the beach by our campsite, we shut off the motor and let the surf takes us back in to shore. It was quite an adventure."
See Description 3 stops back.
Hunting Island State Park location map