Park Number: 37/59
First Visited: April 23, 2013
When I read about Congaree I have to chuckle: the park lays claim to some weird, long-winded accolades: The largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States, or One of the highest temperate deciduous forest canopies remaining in the world. Without knowing this, however, you still understand the one-of-a-kind nature of the place upon visitation: the floodplains reflecting deciduous greens of plentiful hues; the ghoulish-growths of bald cypress knees stemming out of the water; and the Eastern cottonmouth snakes, pileated woodpeckers, and white-tailed deer navigating the terrain. It’s a wild ecosystem unique to the region, mostly inaccessible to the lay visitor—a 2.4-mile boardwalk loop the extent of most people’s adventure. I like this though, the impassable landscape more attuned to a kayak or canoe or simply the imagination, because it makes the place feel genuine—a park not for the enjoyment of the people (especially with the swarms of mosquitos) but a park left to challenge the people.