Mike, Sherri and I
Cumberland Island National Seashore is a barrier island off the coast of Georgia just above Fernandina Beach Florida. It’s history is rich and varried. Many people have called the island home. It’s history goes back to the 1700’s. You can read about it here. Cumberland History.
To get on the island you need a ferry ticket. There are day trippers and campers. There are a couple of campgrounds. Only one has drinkable water that is Sea Camp. It’s only 1/2 mile from the ferry dock. We had 2 nights here and 1 night at Hickory Hill primative camping.
We packed 3 days worth of necessities in our back pack. At the time we didn’t know that we could use carts at the dock to haul our gear. We were prepared to carry it. Mine was the lightest. 😁
We got on the ferry at 10. It was packed. Half the people brought bikes. Lots of campers, lots of day trippers. It’s about 45 min to the island. We saw some wild horses as soon as we approached it.
We got off the ferry, they give you the camper rules and paperwork and we were on our way. We did grab a cart to haul our stuff. The pathways are all bordered by palms with live oaks towering them. This island is absolutely beautiful.
The campground was awesome. It was a giant circle with campsites staggered around it. None were directly next to another. All the palms were at least 6 feet so there was no chance in seeing into other sites. We set up our site like we were social distancing! But it was more for snoring 💤 it had a bear box for our food. No bears but lots of raccoons, possums and armadillos that want your food.
After we set up we headed to the Dungenous ruins. That’s the name of the house the Carnegies built in 1884. It burned and the remains are an amazing site. It was approximately 30,000 sf!
There were some other buildings here like the Ice House, a greenhouse, a activity house that had a pool inside, a billiard room and other things, servant Quarters. Oh the wealthy! There were more wild horses here.
We headed toward the cemetery. It was along the marsh with a spectacular view. I said these dead people have a better view then I will ever have. 😳
After the cemetery was a boardwalk through the marsh. It was real nice. It ended near the sand dunes near the beach. This island had every ecosystem.
Just as we were getting off the boardwalk a horse was coming down the road. He pawed at the ground like we annoyed him. Then he ran right toward us and went around us and headed to the beach. It was amazing! When he went through the trees he made an aweful noise. I thought he hurt himself, Sherri thought he found a female horse but as we walked toward the dunes, there he stood looking at us!
Then we walked up the dunes to the ocean. The dunes went on forever. Then the beach was huge.
There were a few people here. We walked and looked for shells. Then we sat on the beach and had lunch. It was about another mile to the beach access near our camp. Even the beach access was amazing. Sherri and I both just love trees and who can resist Live oaks?
We made us some dehydrated food for dinner. We mostly brought back packer meals. It was ok but I wouldn’t say yum. I packed Mac n cheese. It looked like cheese puffs until it was rehydrated. 😂
After dinner I went to see if I could get a signal and ended up walking back to the dock. They rent bikes there but no one was around and the bikes weren’t locked so I took one and rode it back. I passed Mike on the way and told him to get one. Then Sherri and I walked back to the dock to get her one and check out the sunset.
There is no firewood so we couldn’t make a fire. I had my eno but we didn’t have chairs so we all went to bed early. What a looonnnggg night. It was cold too. I climbed out of my tent around 6 heard Sherri stirring and said let’s go watch the sunrise. Mike was up to and we all went to the beach. As we aporoached it there was a horse right there on the dunes.
We went back to the campground had breakfast. I had biscuits and gravy this time. It tasted pretty good. Didn’t look like biscuits though! Now it’s time for us to jump on the bikes. The island is 17 miles long. The plan was to see Greyfield, which is an expensive hotel, Plum Orchard- an old mansion turned museum and ride to the African church at the northend. I thought that was 10 miles. There is one rode down the center. It’s pure sand. Sand is a little hard to ride on.
Just like the rest of the island it had big lives oaks and palms every where. first stop Stafford cemetery. They lived at Stafford house which is now a private residence. Then on to Plum Orchard. There were the best trees ever here. Lots of miss blowing in the wind. This is also where drinkable water is so I had to stop.
We encountered another horse walking down the road. Then two other houses darted out of the palms across the road in front of us.
Plum orchard was about a mile out of our way. I had to get water. I talked to a park ranger. He said it was about 26,000 sf. I wondered how they built it. He said they had a rail system. Off the boat onto the rails snd then pushed or pulled by men and horses. Just can’t imagine. The road after this was much deeper sand. It was packed down I supposed because it was the road less traveled.
We kept going and I went ahead. I stopped to wait for them and a truck came by with a tour from Greyfield. I stopped and asked them where my friends were then how much farther to the church? She said 6 miles! I sat down and scaled my map. It was definitely 4 ish. We had already ridden over 10 miles and were tired. We decided to turn around and go back ten-ish miles! Yikes
We stopped a few times for snack then lost each other. Sherri got back to the dock first. When I saw my turn I was so excited! Mike was right behind me. It was just over 21 miles. I’ve never ridden a bike that far. We went back to the camp and made dinner. After dinner we walked back to the dock to sit in the rocking chairs and use our phones awhile while we waited for the sunset.
In the morning we are supposed to pack up and hike 5 miles to a wilderness campground for the night. Then hike back 5.5 miles to the dock by 10am. None of us were to excited about it after riding 21 miles plus it was supposed to rain then be in the upper 40’s Saturday night.
We went back to camp and went to bed early. It wasn’t as cold tonight. After breakfast we packed up and went to the dock and took the early ferry back. If your wondering we let them know we took the bikes and paid the rental on them. 😁
First stop food!
I highly recommend this trip snd reading about the history of this island and the people who lived here.