TRIP #3: DUNGENESS, SOUTH END TRAILS, BEACH
That still wasn't enough of Cumberland Island for me! The only place
I hadn't seen in four previous trips to the island was the far southern end.
If you look at the map of the island it shows one trail going from
the Atlantic beach above Pelican Banks, west past the South End Ponds,
and over to the South End Beach on Cumberland Sound and the Intracoastal
I picked a warm, sunny Monday in early March for this hike, which
ended up being about 15 miles long by the time I was done with it!
That map shows my whole route; three sections were out-and-back. You
can see a larger map of the whole island at this
SCENES ON THE WAY TO THE SOUTH END
I started at the Ice House Museum dock, hiked past the Duck Pond and
the Dungeness buildings (saw lots of feral horses and wild turkeys
there), out the sandy path to the beach via two boardwalks over the
marsh, and south for a mile and a half along the Atlantic beach until I
found the trail to the South End Beach.
Here are some pictures I took along the way:
Feral horses at the Dungeness
Feral horses and wild turkeys at
the Dungeness pergola
Viewing deck on boardwalk through
Tracks in the sand -- turkeys?
Two turkeys wander over the dunes
in the area with dead trees.
Southern beach on the Atlantic
side of the island
Grass and shadows in the dunes
SOUTH END BEACH TRAIL &
The trail was wide in some places, narrow in others but easy to
follow on sand and some mud through a mix of dunes, stands of palmettos, dry fields, and
Beginning of South End Beach
Lots of birds in this area,
including these ibis
A weird phenomenon occurred in a 200-yard section of this trail where it
was really muddy -- thousands of tiny fiddler crabs swarmed over
the trail and scurried to the sides as I walked through them:
below: little bitty crabs swarming over the trail
The crabs made me a little dizzy because the trail felt like it was
moving under my feet! It was a little creepy, too. Fortunately,
none of them crawled up my legs and I didn't step on very many of them.
After I reached the end of that winding trail I walked north until
the trail ended in water.
Ranger David told me that at low tide, you can follow the beach up to
the Ice House dock but I wasn't able to do it with the tide so high.
That's OK. That day I still wanted to explore more of the south end
of the island. I turned around and mostly followed the southern coastline and some
horse trails through the marsh and dunes back to the Atlantic beach side.
I was happy to find about a dozen wild horses grazing in the
BEACH SCENES FROM THE SOUTH END TO
I continued up the Atlantic side of the island on the beach for about
Because so few people walk on the beach south of the Dungeness-Ice
House Trail I saw more interesting shells and beached sea critters than
I've seen on the island previously -- including various kinds of
jellyfish, a couple sand dollars, and a starfish.
I love the colorful bubbles in
One of many beached jellyfish I
There were dozens of pelicans sitting on a line of rocks (jetty) used to
control erosion from waves near the south end of the island:
I also saw three young, frisky horses along the beach below the
Dungeness-Ice House Trail. It was fun to watch these two playing:
I followed the Atlantic beach north for over four miles, past the
Dungeness-Ice House Trail and the Sea Camp Trail to Little Greyfield Beach. I hadn't been that far north on the beach before.
It was interesting to watch another group of pelicans bobbing in the surf.
There were also a lot of other kinds of birds feeding along the shore that day, from very
small to large.
I retraced my steps south along the beach for about a mile to the
trail that leads to the Sea Camp ranger station and dock.
I had about 30 minutes to kill before passengers could board the 4:45
PM ferry. I was so revved up I didn't want to just sit so I walked south
on the River Trail about half a mile, then back to Sea Camp.
I had a great day. It was fun exploring the south end of the island for the first
time. I saw new terrain, new plants, all those crabs, a total of two dozen
feral horses, a bunch of pelicans, wild turkeys, and other birds . . .
Next entry: camping at Grassy Pond Rec. Area near
the Florida border in southern Georgia