What a day! My first trip to historic Cumberland Island National Seashore.

Prep for the day’s jaunt was easy. Backpack (check!), insect repellent (check!), National Parks Passport (check!) tickets for ferry ride to the island (check!) lunch and water bottles (check that!) comfortable socks and hiking boots (double check!) shoes for strolling around St Mary’s afterwards (check check!)

We were ready and packed. The ride to Cumberland Island would take us one hour and forty-seven minutes from Savannah. Loaded up and fueled up we hit the road.

Previously to setting out on the excursion, Neal and I had watched a video on following a recommended 4 hour hiking trail, 4.3 miles, one obviously liked by many an outdoorsman before us, so we were game!

As expected, nothing could really prepare me for the raw beauty of this untamed natural treasure! Here I was, boots on the ground and eager to explore.

Shortly after leaving the base camp I spotted a sign. “Foot traffic only”. I could not resist the irony of the moment so I put my foot it.

(It was funny at that moment. Really!)

Breathtakingly huge old trees stretched their ancient limbs outward, and bushes of every type rustled as tiny birds flittered through them. Minutes turned into miles and trails into beach, boardwalks and 40 foot sand dunes. Lost in the glory of it all, hours had passed.

Those sandy slopes decided to claim their first victim on this day. My foot went in to the sand and half a boot came out, followed by a spray of pearly silky sand flung into the air by my partially hanging sole.

This cannot be happening! Such a rapturous day of freedom from cares and communion with nature, now my boot has a soul-splitting experience. I belted out wait, look what just happened”, as Neal was already half way up the sand dune. In my distress I exclaimed, “We must go back!”

My husband, not at all enthused by the prospect, assured me that he believed the blown boot could survive the final part of our 4 hour trek as we had traveled well beyond the halfway point. Rest and sanctuary would be just up the beach.

As the fates would have it, several meters up the beach I had a soul splitting experience. Yes the sole departed, actually, completely from my left boot leaving only the insole held by the cloth that wrapped around my foot. I heard of losing one self in nature but this was ridiculous!

Not believing this could happen to me or that now I was sure I could not make back to base camp, my mind searched frantically for how “The law of Attraction” must be at play. I mean really? Really?! Really!! The squish scrunch sound of me trudging on the beach sand actually took me out of my head as we neared the striped pole marking our return to the wooded trails.

To my surprise and amazement, we saw several other nature lovers had abandoned their troubled foot gear along this path.

Back at the base camp I thought, “I only have to get back on that ferry then to the car and my troubles will be over.” In the rush to be first naturists back on the ferry, I was now leading a group of weary daytrippers to the sound of scritch, scuff, scratch all the way up the ramp on the boat. Leaving sandy outlines of my former left boot. Neal quietly assured me noone noticed but I mentally disagreed!

So now as we tell our wonderful story of Cumberland Island, this whole story seems humorous.  A friend asked me, “So what you are saying is you lost your sole (soul) on Cumberland Island?” Yes I heartedly laughed!

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  1. I suppose the sole moral of this cautionary tale is to always check the quality of your sole before venturing out on a soul-searching venture.

  2. Hahaha what a story. Law of Attraction and those are some nice sandals. While on the beach you could have switched to bare feet. Those are some of the best memories so in the future when experiencing some inconvenience you will find a way to stay in the moment:) Love the photos and felt like I was on the journey with you. Such a fun experience overall I am sure. Your story made me smile this morning:)

    1. Author

      I am so glad you shared my journey! I retired from the military, 23 years, and one gift of service i received was extremely sensitive flat feet. A mostly painful, degenerative condition that is only made worst by the fact of walking is my main source of exercise. The memories of my first trip to Cumberland Island make me smile too! Thank you!

    2. Sorry to hear of you feet and it must be difficult to find a perfect shoe. It looks like a very nice place to visit.

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