Monday, August 30, 2010

Congaree National Park Visit

I recently made a short visit to the Congaree National Park, just south of Columbia, SC. This was my first visit, and I viewed it as a learning visit. I had hoped for cooler weather, but this was not to be so. Still it was not bad for the end of August in the midlands of SC. 

I left home at 5:30AM. I arrived at the park between 7:00 and 7:30AM. I carried my Olympus E30 with the 50-200mm Telephoto lens on my tripod. I also carried my Metz 48 flash and homemade flash extender. I was dressed in nylon pants and shirt. 

There are about 3 miles of boardwalks. Some are about 6-8 feet of the ground while other parts are at ground level. The boardwalks are in the old growth forest. There are huge loblolly pines and bald cypress trees. I mean really huge. I didn't see much wildlife on the walk, just the occasional wren or squirrel. I heard the calls of hawks, woodpeckers, and kingfishers. There were ferns and dwarf palmettos. It was a beautiful walk. 

I didn't prepare as well as I would have liked. The mosquitoes were terrible and I had no repellent. By time I was half way through the walk, my clothes were drenched with sweat. I get used to that. I forgot to carry some water. I don't have cushioning on my tripod so it was rough on my shoulders. The flash and extender were of know use as I saw no wildlife on the boardwalk trail. Since I carried them on the camera, it was just extra work every time I took a picture to remove the flash and extender. 

After this adventure I made a list of improvements for next time.

1) Order legs wraps for tripod to ease the pain of carrying on shoulders.
2) Order commercial flash extender which breaks down and fits in pocket or bag.
3) Carry small bag for water, flash, and accessories.
4) Have a towel and change of clothes at the car. Wearing wet clothes is miserable.
5) Have insect repellent in the car.

I didn't get to the river. It is a good 6 mile hike. After the boardwalk I was hot and dehydrated. I had to cool off and rehydrate. 

I do plan on going back in the fall or winter. I will make it to the river. I will post some photos soon.