In Which Becka Thinks She Hears the Tailypo

We left New Bern this morning after spending several lovely, relaxing days with Dan’s family, finishing up with a short drive to Kinston, NC for lunch at Boiler Room (best burger I’ve had in ages) and a quick side trip to Mother Earth Brewing (holy solar panels!).

The Oysters Boilerfeller, with local North Carolina oysters

We arrived at Congaree National Park slightly before dusk, so we decided to walk the Boardwalk Loop rather than the slightly longer Weston Lake trail.

What good timing we have!

We got a great cross-section of the Congaree flora over the 4-ish miles we walked, from the immensely tall bald cypress trees to the near-complete ground cover of switch cane. Congaree also smells amazing: rich dirt, fresh leaves, and the occasional strange waft of something warm and sweet.

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I think these stumps grow up into the wide-trunked Tupelos.
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The Bald Cypress were incredibly tall. Even though the sun was still up, we didn’t get much light because of the canopy created by the Cypress and the Tupelos.
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The self-guided tour mentioned an old bootlegging still so obviously we had to go find it (lit with my new headlamp, because it was getting quite dark by that point!).
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Pretty eerie by nightfall.

We didn’t see much wildlife, outside of squirrels, moths, and a multitude of spiders that glittered when we shone our headlamps on the ground. Several times, though, we heard some sort of animal call that sounded like a dog howl mixed with an owl call; Dan described it as a “barking hoot,” while I was convinced the beast from the Tailypo had found us. We did some wildlife research when we stopped for the night but none of the indigenous animals seemed capable of such an eerie cry.

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