It was difficult to say goodbye to family after integrating back into their daily lives, but there had to be a starting point to officially living out of our truck. Between moving from our place in California, temporarily moving in with our awesome friends, Kristin and Chris, backpacking the John Muir Trail, re-packing to move to Florida, packing and unpacking between houses in Florida, and re-packing again for the big trip, we were so sick of rearranging our belongings. There were many times I just wanted to light it all on fire and buy shit as we needed it, but luckily I did not give into that desire.
During our final truck pack we also were packing for backpacking on Cumberland Island National Seashore. Oh, what joy it is to pack for TWO detailed trips at once. Lets just say we got real good at making lists.
I grew up listening to stories about my parents camping on Cumberland Island and I knew this would be a good time to finally see the land myself. Cumberland is a barrier island off Georgia's southeast coast with historical ruins of Georgia Revival-style mansions and long stretches of undeveloped beaches. It is a place where southern history and nature meet. Honestly, I didn't think I would like the hiking as much as I did. I was surprised how peaceful the woods were, and how calm the beach was. It didn't feel like Florida, and it didn't feel like Georgia, but it definitely felt like a great representation of south eastern woods, similar to the woods I grew up playing in.
Nostalgia pulsed through me the entire trip as camping in familiar pine flat-woods reminded me of camping trips as a kid, teen and young adult in Florida woods. Cumberland's trail systems were well maintained and had variety of ecosystems to weave though. The island also has a population of wild horses which was surprisingly cool. One almost ate Eric. You don't realize how big horses are until you encounter a non-domesticated one alone in the woods. Also they are majestic as fuck when they run through the forest.
We camped a night at Sea camp, Hickory Oak, Brickhill Bluff, and Stafford campgrounds, and enjoyed them all for different reasons. The island was a bit crowded around the main area of Sea camp and Dungeness, but we saw about five people total throughout the rest of the island. We did around 5-9 miles a day, and had plenty of time to see the historic houses and take naps in our hammocks. I wont go into the history of the island, you can look that up, but I will say we were both surprised how much we enjoyed backpacking to a guided tour of a 19th century mansion. It was very weird, can't say you can do that too many places.
We spent an afternoon in hammocks at Brickhill Bluff, and I'll never forget how peaceful it was swaying in the sun, listening to music, and watching dolphins swim by our tent.
I felt like I could finally connect to all those stories I have heard from my family over the years, and I was so happy to start our trip with visiting a place I have always wanted to experience first hand.
Eric liked it too, much to his surprise.
Overall, Cumberland Island National Seashore is a great place to camp and hike, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for some solitude with a southern flair.
8 /10, would camp again.
(this is our totally arbitrary rating system which has no guide at all but will serve as a reminder for where we would want to visit again.)
Song: Restless Farewell - Bob Dylan