March 13, 2013

March 13, 2013 Day 306
At Anchor
Cumberland Island, GA
Total miles to date: 5094.0

We had a full day walking around Cumberland Island National Seashore.  Most of the 36,000 acre island is protected and will remain undeveloped.  We took the dinghy to the Sea Camp Ranger Station dock and hoped to be able to join the tour of people arriving by ferry from St. Marys.  However, the five hour overland tour was full, so we set off on foot. 

Live oaks line the trail
Crossing the dunes to the beach
Walking over the saltwater marsh

We walked across the island through the forested trail to the beach and then spent over an hour walking south on the beach. This was a “jeans and jacket” kind of day – mid 60’s, so walking on the beach was good.  We picked up several shells, mostly scallops and whelks.  When we got to the south end, we picked up the trail to go back to the river side of the island which included a raised walkway along the saltwater marsh.  We stopped about half way and had our picnic lunch.  We soon reached the destination for which the southern end of the island is famous, the ruins of Dungeness.  Dungeness was the majestic forty room mansion of Thomas (brother of Andrew) and Lucy Carnegie built in 1884.  Thomas died a few months afterwards and Lucy continued to live here with their nine children until she died in 1916. It was sadly destroyed in a fire in the 1950’s and stands in ruins today.  There are other mansions on the island that Lucy had built for her children.

We followed the river walk trail back to our starting point at the dock about four hours later!  We were so impressed with the peaceful nature of the island.  There are wild horses on the island (part of Lucy Carnegie’s will that her horses remain there, and to this day there are horses there.)  We saw the horses on the shore after we returned to our boat!  We talked to two others today who saw armadillos but we missed them.

The Ruins of Dungeness
Wild horses
A lovely ending to our day!
We took the dinghy for a short ride to the north end of the island and then returned to the boat, exhausted but happy for our adventure today.  We cooked out on the grill and spent a relaxing evening.

We will go to Jekyll Island tomorrow!