Sunday, September 27, 2009

It Has a Zoo??!!

We're still missing Marley as I write this chapter of my blog. Carole and I both think about him as we go through the day. I reckon it will be a while before that stops happening so often.

Visited the surgeon--he gave me leave to return to work on Tuesday. After that we drove to Carole's mom's place to visit. I got out the cleaning material and ladder and clambered up on the trailer. It was wicked filthy and coated with quite a lot of dirt and grime and even some algae on the roof. I hit it hard with cleanser and scrub brush and lots of soap. The dirt poured off of it like a river of mud. I've never seen my trailer so dirty. After I got it cleaned up I waxed it until I ran out of wax--I'll have to go back later and do the rear half of the trailer. That was all yesterday. Today I'm suffering from sore muscles and quite a lot of fatigue. That's what happens when you're inactive for a month. I hope to be able to start hiking again soon and maybe lifting weights a little to get some strength and muscle tone back.

So: It's a return to recounting the trip to South Carolina.

I'm skipping over our third day on our mini-vacation because that was the day we went kayaking and to visit Carole's friend Susan and her husband Bruce. Not because it wasn't an otherwise very pleasant day and visit, but because I was a dumbass and lost our camera in the ocean while kayaking up a tidal creek. Therefore, I will skip that day in any detail at all. (We did encounter a bottlenose dolphin while kayaking...but of course I have no photo of that.)

Our last day we broke camp and headed over to the Charles Town Landing Historical Site. This is owned and administered by the South Carolina State Park system. It was the gift of some very rich broad who owned the land where she had a palatial estate. Upon her death, the whole area reverted to state ownership where it's all kept in a very nice condition and used as a park/living museum. The experience was very nice, very educational, and a had more than a few surprises.

Among the surprises was a zoo--wherein they display living creatures that were once a big part of the local ecosystems but which are now extirpated, or rare, or just hard to find. Among the extirpated species were the bison (the subspecies of woodland bison is, in fact, extinct), the puma, river otter (they actually are in the area again, but hard to find), elk (again, the subspecies of elk that lived on the South Carolina coast is extinct). They also had bobcat, whitetail deer (which are extremely common, but they had them anyway), and black bear (which are also rather common along coastal South Carolina, but how often do you see a black bear in town?).

I'm going to break up the photo tour of the park into two posts for the simple reason that it was a hell of a big place and there was a lot to take in. I didn't even take any shots inside the museum, which was very well appointed and extremely interesting. Go see it.

We parked the truck and trailer in the bus parking area and hoofed it across the parking lot to the entrance.

This is the "History Trail" which takes you throughout the park to the various historical and zoological displays. Fortunately we went on a relatively cool (mid-80s) day and did not encounter a lot of biting insects (except for one spot where I stopped to take a photograph and had enormous mosquitoes cover my legs).

The very cool wooden fences that line parts of the park.

This was, according to the signs, the slave cemetery.

A monument in honor of the Kiwah Indian tribe who helped the Charles Towne colonists and who were dispossessed of their lands and their lives by the very folk they were aiding.

The park has an extremely nice aviary. The main residents appear to be pelicans and herons.

There were two black bears in the bear exhibit. They both looked very fat and robust, but this one seemed to be miserable from the heat (or some malady). All he did was lie in the sun and pant, as if in distress. This is one reason why I do not like zoos. Most animals I see in zoos act is if all they want is to get the HELL OUT OF THERE!

They also had a small herd of bison. Bison are one type of animal that never seems to be distressed by much of anything. I guess that's what happens when you can weigh upwards of a ton and spend the day munching on tasty grass.

This was an Orb spider that we saw in her web beside the trail. It was quite horribly and skin-crawlingly huge.

A monument to the chieftain who opted to help the colonists. I suppose he lived to regret it all.

Posing for the obligatory humor shot whenever you encounter one of these contraptions.

More tomorrow....

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