Saturday, October 15, 2016

Arrival at Santee National Wildlife Refuge

Our home for the next 3 months

On Thursday, they had finally gotten things cleaned up enough from the hurricane for us to arrive at the National Wildlife Refuge.  It was an easy 160-mile drive down from Rock Hill, and we arrived just after noon.

We met the Park Manager, Marcie, and got set up on our volunteer site.

Our volunteer site

It’s a really nice site – we’re in a clearing surrounded by pine trees, with a grassy area on our patio side.  There’s a 2nd volunteer site next to us (on the driver’s side), but there won’t be anybody on it until mid-November.  Behind the RV is a trail through the woods to the Visitor Center. 

After we got set up and had some lunch, we walked over to the Visitor Center to talk to Marcie and take a tour.  After showing us around, Marcie gave us a jetpack to use in the RV, keys to the gates and the Visitor Center, and an opener for the front gate.  She told us to spend the weekend getting familiar with the area, and we’d catch up next week.  I think it’s going to be very laid back around here!

There are 4 areas to the Refuge – the larger areas were closed this week for hunting, so we started out by exploring the rest of the Bluff Unit on Friday.

There was quite a bit of hurricane damage along the main road,

Hurricane Damage

and there are still a lot of trees to be cleaned up.  They had just gotten the road opened on Thursday, and haven’t even gotten started on the trails yet.



We stopped at the historic site at the end of the road.  In 1200 – 1400, the Santee Indians used this site as a ceremonial burial ground for their chiefs.  The Indian Mound remains, and there is an observation deck built around it.






Indian Mound Burial Site

We climbed to the top to check out the view.

View of Lake Marion

View from the Observation Platform










Revolutionary War Fort


Later, this site was used as a British Fort during the Revolutionary War, Fort Watson.  It didn’t last long, though, and the Fort was quickly captured by General Francis Marion.







Remains of the British Fort

Dad spent some time studying the plaques.

Dad exploring the Refuge

After our little bit of exploration, we went back to the RV for lunch, stopping for a look at the lake on the way.

View of the lake

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing outside and enjoying the beautiful weather.  I started a new book, and Tom & Dad just relaxed.

Relaxing outside

After dinner, Tom and I took a bike ride down the road.  We stopped at the Visitor Center to enjoy the beautiful sunset.

Sunset_October 14th

Sunset_Oct 14th












The sunset over the water was beautiful!

Beautiful colors over the water

One last shot!


It was a beautiful end to our first day at the Refuge!

On Saturday, we drove down to Nicolas’ apartment so Grandpa could see where he lived, and then we all went to a Flea Market down the road.

Flea Market

This one wasn’t quite as large as Flea Master’s in Fort Myers, but it was still a pretty good-sized market.  Grandpa had never been to one before, so he was pretty amazed by all the stuff people were selling there! 

There was even a guy with exotic animals, including this turtle that just wandered around!

Giant turtle at the flea market

The only thing we bought was a little bit of fruit and vegetables.

After getting some lunch, we went back to Nicolas’ apartment so he could get ready for work, and then we headed back to the Refuge.

Nicolas and Grandpa

It was a nice first weekend, and we’re looking forward to spending more time with Nick before Grandpa goes home at the end of the month.


  1. Santee Wildlife Refugee looks like a beautiful place. Your sunrise photos are spectacular!! Love the photo of Grandpa and Nickolas:o))

  2. How long will you be volunteering at that park? It looks quite cozy with plenty to do. We're sure both Tom's dad and Nicolas enjoy their time spent together.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.


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