Congaree National Park is a relatively new park in the federal system. It used to be called Congaree Swamp National Monument, but when they realized (a) it wasn't actually a swamp, and (b) people don't pack up their station wagons and take a trip to South Carolina so they can visit a swamp, the folks in charge very wisely changed the name. The national park "preserves the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States." And it is beautiful.

The kids and I visited the (free!) national park on a Wednesday morning and stayed nearly all day. We did a six-mile-or-so hike around the elevated boardwalk with a few ancillary loops. Many fairy boats were launched. Many fallen trees were clamored across. One elf child was spotted. There were only about ten minutes of hysteria involving ants. It was a great day.

When we went into the visitor's center after the hike, the Forest Ranger on duty looked at us and said. "Are you the guy who writes that blog?" What a shock that was, to be a thousand miles away in a national park I'd never really heard about and be recognized by the ranger on duty. It turned out her mother works at a Detroit hospital and lives in the city and reads the blog. Such a small world!

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