I’on Swamp Trail & Palmetto Islands County Park

[[ View an update on trail conditions HERE! ]] – 04/10

We tried hiking the short I’on Swamp Trail loop in the Francis Marion National Forest, but we didn’t read the description well enough.  The part about the trail being submerged after heavy rains.  Oops

http://www.sctrails.net/trails/ALLTRAILS/interpretive/IonSwamp.html

That is a good site for trail descriptions and locations.

If you are like us, and just trudge a trail no matter what the condition [almost], then, like us, you might have made the same mistake.  After slipping through the 100 yards or so of pure mud, we hit the nice, dry, elevated road [some fire access road, I’m assuming].  That road connects directly with the road we drove in on and we didn’t see it, even though it has a gate on it and all.  Muddy boots for nothing.  Oh well!

Beautiful area, an old remnant plantation with dikes that hold in still pools of tannin-stained blackwater, making everything around you reflect until you feel like you’re in a mirrored funhouse, but it didn’t take long for the less brave of the two of us to get spooked. 

Both ends of the trail [logically] ended like this.  The less brave of the two of us didn’t want to wade through the water, and I didn’t either, so we stopped.  There was concern that if you tried to wade, you might loose the trail and hit the deeper water. 

So back to the car we went.  We’ll save this trail for a later, dryer date.

We went back to Palmetto Islands County Park.  They charge a $1 per person fee to get in, and they close the gates at 5 pm right now, but it’s a wonderful park with a nice trail system.  As we pulled up to the gate, I spotted an anole sunning on a palmetto frond.  I’m a little too aware of the crazy things visitors do, so I was too self conscious to jump out and take a picture.  I spent the rest of the time there looking for anoles and only coming up with squirrels.

We saw the usual great blue herons, were informed by one of Ryan’s coworkers where an osprey nest is [no one was home], and spotted a lifetimer [what the birders call a bird you’ve not yet seen in your lifetime]!

The little guy above was hard to photograph; he wouldn’t hold still!  I did see a flash of red on his head, and what first came to mind besides ‘did I get a picture of that???’ was ‘Ruby-crowned Kinglet’.  I wasn’t far off.  I believe this little guy is a Golden-crowded Kinglet!  So tiny, I’m amazed I even spotted the little guy! 

Alright, hopefully soon in the future I can describe that whole I’on Swamp Trail!  Thanks for visiting!

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