Day 15, Part 1
So after garnering my second speeding ticket and shedding a few tears, we arrived in St. Mary’s, GA late at night, exhausted and a bit crabby (although that may have been just me). Saint Mary’s was less of a “stop” on our trip and more of a place to rest our heads for the night before catching the ferry the next morning to Cumberland Island. Cumberland Island is Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier island. The island also has a rich history as it was home to early natives, missionaries, enslaved Africans and African-Americans and Wealthy Industrialists throughout the years. It’s covered in gorgeous maritime forests, undeveloped beaches, marshes, ruins (of the Dungeness Mansion) and wild horses…yes wild horses! Clearly the whole wild horse thing was a draw for me.
After getting a good nights sleep at our hotel we ate a sad complimentary breakfast (one of the joys of a road trip) and grabbed Subway sandwiches (another joy of road trips) to eat for lunch while on the island. We boarded the Cumberland ferry for a quick 45 minute ride to the island. The ferry also happened to be filled with a massive amount of cute 10 year olds on a school field trip. The were all SO excited to be on a boat headed to an island! Every animal, wave, landmass, tree and fellow boat we passed was more exciting than the next. It was actually rather sweet (I was even daydreaming about doing such activities with my future kids) until one kid yelled down to a smaller boat below- “suck it!” in the loudest voice he could muster. I slumped down in my seat embarrassed to be sitting next to him (in that moment I stopped daydreaming about doing these activities with my future children).
After our lively boat ride, we were officially on Cumberland Island and also officially the only people wearing dresses and flip-flops instead of hiking boots and fanny packs. I was starting to regret my clothing decision as we set off alone into the lush green wooded path of trees on a one mile walk in search of the Dungeness Mansion ruins…oh, and wild horses! Although now I was starting to wonder about the probability of actually seeing one. I mean, usually wild things hate to be contained (welcome to my early 20’s)…that’s why we call them wild, right? As we weeded through the plants, I couldn’t help but read the “animals to watch out for” section of our welcome packet and was surprised to learn that both rattlesnakes and alligators were present on the island. As I continued walking down the lush path I thought, Why am I always reading such things much too late? I must change this moving into my 30th year on earth.
I was just about to start having a panic attack about where I was stepping when we came out on a beautiful, empty beach with cream-colored sand and seashells. It was like being in some foreign film or something. I felt like we were the only people in the world. We climbed down the rocks to stick our toes in the sand and play around for a bit.
(bottom three photos by One Part Gypsy)
Then as we set back down the path towards the ruins, it happened…we turned a corner and voila, we were in a huge open field with a sea of wild horses in front of us!! I almost died. I could not believe what I was seeing. I approached them as quietly as I possibly could, frightened I would startle them and they would flee. But the closer I got to them, the more I realized that they could care less about us. The didn’t even flinch! They just kept eating their grass and swinging their tails. They were so very delicate and sweet. The wild horses against the backdrop of the mansion’s ruins was breathtaking. I honestly felt like I had been dropped in a movie and was suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude for this experience and gratitude for it all.
For Rachel’s blog click here!