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Nance St. and Caritas Grant

April 30, 2013

South Carolina – Wednesday, April 24

In the morning, Tula and I headed out for another walk on the boardwalk by the beach, and then on some of the other well-marked trails in the state park. I’m feeling kind of proud of myself that I didn’t chicken out from visiting this park completely – there are numerous signs about the copperhead snakes in the area, and snakes are the one thing I’m really afraid of. The signs talked about the snakes (and said they’re more afraid of me than I am of them, but that’s debatable!) and said they’re protected by law, and to not wear flip-flops. The park ranger said they’re “not out in full force yet” (whatever that means!) and she walks the trails several times a week and hadn’t seen one yet. I carefully checked my campsite, and we ended up with a good visit. I also walked nearly 2 miles along the beach, which wasn’t too crowded yet. Lots of people were out sunning, but not too many were swimming. There were a couple of big long piers jutting way out into the ocean, and quite a few people were fishing from them.

In one of the visitor centers, I learned that a lot of sea turtles will start coming ashore to nest here beginning in May – and they have a whole volunteer brigade to monitor turtles, their nests, and eventually the hatchlings. They offer a couple turtle awareness and education programs, and a big one coming up in early May is called Totally Turtles, which is an entire day of talks and activities to learn about the turtles to help protect them. They’ll also have some human-size simulation activities, like seeing if you can get out of the sort of tangled debris that turtles get caught up in, and that sort of thing – kind of helping to see life through a turtle’s eyes. So I made a donation to that program for an animal-related donation. I figure turtles have been around since about the time of dinosaurs, and their continued longevity deserves some assistance!

When I was finished with the state park, we headed over to another big park that I saw yesterday for some more walking. I also made a brief stop at the Warbird Park, which had several Vietnam-era planes on display, along with a really cool statue of a warrior.

When we were done with the parks, I headed north a little to the actual town of Myrtle Beach to take care of the donation I had already planned on for today. Even though I did the Totally Turtle donation earlier, I had already found a soup kitchen called the Community Kitchen, and it was located on the corner of 10th Avenue and Nance Streets. And I also read that they had received a Caritas Grant from the Sisters of Charity. Since my name is Nancy Caritas, I HAD to give them a donation!! This is a soup kitchen that serves lunch 6 days a week, and when I called them, they were just finishing up for today – in fact, they had stayed a little later than usual to scrub floors. They told me a donation would be very much appreciated, but I would probably have to mail it since they were closing and I wouldn’t be around tomorrow. So I put the donation in the mail, and went to find the place so I could take a picture of it. Once that was done, I headed for downtown Myrtle Beach and their boardwalk. The boardwalk was only a true boardwalk for a short part of the 1.2 mile path – the rest was a promenade – so it alternated between a wide concrete, landscaped, curvy “sidewalk” and the conventional wooden boardwalk. Tula and I walked it from end to end, and around town a bit, so we ended up with more than 8 miles today after all the walking at the state park. Myrtle Beach is so very touristy that I didn’t actually like it all that much. Yesterday when I was heading toward Myrtle Beach from the middle of the state, the flashy billboards started popping up about 50 miles from town. And even the different visitor information centers tried to out-do each other: Free Water! Free Coffeee! Free Soda! Cheap Cigarettes! Picnic Tables! Cheap Gas! Discount Coupons! Free Playground! Cheap Ice Cream! Clean Bathrooms! It got to be a bit much along with all the hotels and other places of interest posting many billboards.

So I didn’t mind leaving all that behind. My plan was to drive south just a little and camp at Huntington Beach State Park, but when I got there, they didn’t have any campsites left, so I stopped and figured out Plan B. If I had camped, I would have enjoyed the trails and ocean in the state park, and would probably have also gone to the botanical garden place nearby to walk on all of those trails too. That meant I would have missed Charleston, because I just can’t squish everything in, but I was okay with that since Taryn and I had spent several days walking all over Charleston in 2011. But now, with my plans for camping foiled, I headed south to find a motel, and would be able to enjoy Charleston after all. While driving south, I passed through Georgetown and its historical waterfront, and it was such an interesting looking town we got out and walked some more. And then I found a place to stay on the outskirts of Charleston and called it a day.
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