Jack is in town and we’re playing tourist in our area- always a fun thing!
We took a ferry over to Cumberland Island– one of the few National Seashores. It’s an enormous island and the only association I had before today was that it was the site of JFK Jr’s wedding. The entire island was owned by the Carnegie family around the turn of the century, and so it never got significantly developed. In the early 1970’s, the remaining families kept some rights, but transferred property to the National Park Service- which makes it an almost pristine island.
And it’s magnificent! There are no wheeled vehicles allowed, except for bikes you can rent (which we did not at $16 each!) and it’s only accessible by boat. There are no trash cans, so you are to bring your stuff in and take it all off. The live oak trees are absolutely marvelous- craggy and dripping with Spanish moss with palmettos underneath. And it’s quiet- only tree frogs and butterflies the size of small plates who come to investigate you and flutter around the bags we carried. We hung out at the beach and then walked and walked down a road of a long arch of trees in the rain that was the same temperature as our skin, so that it wasn’t cold, but not hot. Best walk in the rain I’ve had!
The beach was stunning. We felt as Columbus must have- coming off the beach into the quiet, drippy forest that wasn’t as dank as I expected and dappled with phenomenal light. But we were most amazed at the wildlife- truly wild. There are wild ponies on Cumberland- ancestors of horses who were shipwrecked from Spanish galleons hundreds and hundreds of years ago. They looked like- well, horses, but scrawnier and tougher- and they left hoofprints that had never seen a horseshoe. They were very peaceful and playful- truly wild and free.
And we saw manatees, wrestling in the water, a mama, a calf and another one- Daddy? They were in six inches of water and mud, right off of the dock, either playing, scratching off their barnacles, nursing, or all three. We stood in the rain and watched them for over half an hour. They were very peaceful and playful- truly wild and free.
And best of all, Jack and Ray played in the water, jumping the waves, over and over again. They would charge the wave, and jump as high as they could before it would crash against them, and then run and do it again. They were peaceful and playful- truly wild and free.
Cumberland Island is a haven for all kinds of wild creatures to feel safe. And to play…
I’m so glad places like this still exist. I wish there were more… support the National Park Service!