Southeast

Congaree NP – Trails

Congaree National Park is the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. Randy and I hiked with Lucy and Dixie on Easter Sunday on our trip back to Winchester from Charleston. As you can see from their muddy paws, these little old beagles still love exploring with their dads. We visited Congaree ten years ago, when the park was a new addition to the National Parks. Since then, many boardwalks and trails have been added to make the park more accessible. We definitely walked off jelly beans and chocolate bunnies this Easter!

Charleston Azaleas

This garden is otherworldly! I can’t remember ever feeling like I stepped into a magical place like Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, which Travel & Leisure calls one of the world’s most beautiful gardens.  We saw it at its peak of Azalea season, and we had the gardens to ourselves because of an impending rain storm.  The rain only made the colors deeper and darker, making the scenery pop like a postcard series.  I absolutely lost myself in good feelings here.  I’m so glad that Easter timing cooperated with our visit with family in Charleston.

Poverty Point NM

Poverty Point contains a collection of earthworks built during a 600-year period.  The mounds are concentric half-circles, 4 to 6 feet high with an outside diameter of three-quarters of a mile apart.

With no human remains or heaps of shells, archaeologists assume that these mounds were simply symbols of power and wealth.

Dating to the Late Archaic period, the people lived in small groups at Poverty Point. There were most likely hundreds of residents.

Jean Lafitte NHP – Cajun Mardi Gras

We learned a lot about Cajun culture on this trip and the origins of Mardi Gras.  these pictures were in Eunice, LA, site of the Mardi Gras Day traditional “Courir de Mardi Gras”. Costumed participants ride on horseback and on flatbeds through the countryside. 

The Eunice Courir de Mardi Gras dates back from when the town was first established in the late 19th century. This year, the Eunice Courir de Mardi Gras had more than 2000 participants.

Mardi Gras in rural Southwestern Louisiana draws on traditions that are centuries old. Revelers go from house to house begging to obtain the ingredients for a communal meal (usually GUMBO). They wear costumes that conceal their identity and that also parody the roles of those in authority. 

The “capitaine” maintains control over the Mardi Gras. He issues instructions to the riders as they assemble early in the morning and then leads them on their run. When they arrive at a farm house, he obtains permission to enter private property, after which the riders may charge toward the house, where the Mardi Gras sing, dance, and beg until the owner offers them an ingredient for a gumbo. Often, the owner will throw a live chicken into the air that the Mardi Gras will chase, like football players trying to recover a fumble.