Santee National Wildlife Refuge - Bluff Unit (12-27-12)
Santee National Wildlife Refuge consists of four separate units scattered along the eastern shore of Lake Marion in central South Carolina, about an hour south of Columbia. The Bluff Unit, lying just north of Interstate 95, is home to the refuge headquarters and visitor center along with a short hiking trail and some of the most productive birding habitat on the lake. My intent on this brief visit was to tour the visitor center and wander north along the trail and out to the tip of the peninsula the unit encompasses.
Sometimes plans change, as they did on this day. The visitor center was closed and, soon after striking out on the trail, I found out my hike would be quite a bit shorter as well. This has to do with the fact that the entire northern half of the peninsula, essentially everything north of the trail, is closed to public access from November 1-March 1 to provide safe wintering grounds for migratory species. As a result, I had to make do with only a mile-or-so hike. Even so, I discovered that the refuge is home to a bit of Revolutionary War history which helped it score as many points as it lost. So, overall, it was an interesting albeit abbreviated afternoon visit...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 33.539043, -80.436622
Hike Length: 1.0 miles Hike Duration: 1:00
Trailhead Temp: 60'F
Min. Elevation: 35' Max. Elevation: 50'