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We had a perfect fall day for this trip. We arrived at Garris Landing, about 20 miles north of Charleston, at 8am. The tide was full at 7am, so we had a neutral to falling tide for the paddle to the island. We followed the route used by the ferry which is only about 4.5 miles. We had clear blue sky, a mild wind, and cool temps.
The paddle out became interesting in two places where the tide was running one way and the wind blowing the other. We had some decent waves to splash through and surf.
We landed beside the refuge boat dock and pulled the boats up on to the access road. This is an easy access point at high tide; it gets a little gooey at low tide, as we would discover.
We were warned in advance and were partially prepared, but the mosquitoes were ferocious! We used a lot of Deet that day.
We hiked through the woods and out to the beach, which was only about 1.5 miles. As far as we could see in both directions, there was no one else there. We hiked another mile or so to Boneyard Beach, so named because it is covered with dead trees where the beach has eroded into the forest. It is a starkly beautiful place. We enjoyed lunch in the bright sunshine without being hot.
From there, we walked a road back to the boats, through swarms of mosquitoes. We saw an alligator with her brood in one of the ponds, a large black snake, and several birds.
The trip back was at low tide and very uneventful except for bogging through several inches of mud to float the boats.
It was a great trip to a beautiful place and we plan to return in the winter and hopefully miss the mosquitoes.
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