Sunday, April 17, 2016

Congaree National Park & South Carolina Capitol

South Carolina State House
We moved on north to the Columbia, South Carolina area. It was an easy trip via I-95 and I-26 (other than dodging pot holes). Our first order of business was to see the state Capitol. Construction on the South Carolina State House (Capitol) began in 1855. Work was halted during the Civil War and its aftermath and then continued very slowly. The building is very unique in that, rather than lots of marble like most we've seen, it has a lot of ornate and nicely painted wood trim along with wrought iron.
South Carolina State House
Outside, the building has six bronze stars that mark the locations of cannon balls that hit the building when General Sherman fired on the city during the Civil War.

Giant Cypress tree
(panoramic up)
Our next objective was to go to Congaree National Park. This park began as Congaree Swamp National Monument in 1976 which was formed to protect one of the few remaining ecosystems of its kind, including the largest intact tract of old-growth bottomland forest in North America. The status was changed to National Park in 2003.
The park is characterized by giant hardwoods and towering pines and comprises one of the highest canopies in the world and some of the tallest trees in the eastern United States.

Cypress "knees"

Giant Oak tree
The visitor center has some very effective displays regarding the ecosystem and the size of the giant trees. It also has a very informative film about the park and its ecosystem. We went on a 4.5 mile hike which gave us a good sample of what the 27,000 acre park is about. One of the main attractions is the super tall trees but getting a picture of such a thing is basically impossible. I tried using the panoramic option on my camera a couple of times just for fun. I included one of those above.

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