Adventure in the Deep South
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© 2010, SouthernBackpacking.com
Cumberland Island National Seashore
Cumberland Island is the southern most barrier island located off the coast of Georgia near the town of St. Marys. To reach the island there is a ferry service that runs around $20.00 round trip. During tourist season this service runs daily - be sure to note the times because if you miss the last ferry you will be spending another night on the island. During non tourist season - there is no service on or off the island on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, so call ahead to check their schedule. Prior to boarding the ferry there is a short mandatory orientation to the island, provided by the park service.
Upon first arriving at the island you can see the ruins of Dungeness - Once owned by the Carnegie family. The island is ringed by pristine beaches and wild horses dot the landscape. After disembarking the ferry all must report to the park service building for yet another mandatory orientation and to check in. There are several different lodging opportunities available on this island. There is an expensive bed and breakfast which was also a home of the Carnegies. Tent camping is available about 10 minutes from the ferry dock at the sea camp site. This is the only camp site that has showers available and is within short walk of the most gorgeous white sandy beach. One drawback, the sea around this island can be treacherous with rip tides and under tow and no life guards available. But it is unbeatable if you want to lay in the sun on pristine white sand, and even on the weekend we practically had the beach to ourselves
Our group chose primitive camping. There are 3 campsites for primitive camping, Hickory Hill, Yankee Paradise and Brickhill. Hickory hill was the least choice site of all three, no water is available here and you will have to either carry all water or hump it to Yankee paradise - which is fairly close, but then why not just camp at Yankee Paradise. We camped at Brickhill which is 11.5 miles from the ferry dock. On the way out we used the parallel trail ( runs parallel to the main road) and takes you through forested terrain. This campsite
has an old pump for accessing water - this water must be filtered it is non potable. The view can't be beat, this site is right on the water, with lots of shade. It hadn't been used in quite a while from the looks of things, which was nice as we had been warned about the raccoons - apparently they stayed on the other end of the island where the pickings are easier. This site afforded us a few days to slack pack the island. Bugs were few ,ticks we more of a problem than any thing else, mosquitos were very light at the end of September, this was a week after a good rain.
The text and pics for
this report contributed
by Sheri "Swamp Sis"