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2017 Southeast Trip Part 8; Congaree National Park and the Carolinas

After leaving Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway my next destination was in South Carolina at Congaree National Park.


But I had to get to South Carolina first. After leading the Blue Ridge Parkway I continued eastward following US 74 to I-40.






I-40 is pretty in North Carolina but just as haggard as I remember it with slow speed limits and heavy traffic.

 
I was stopping quickly in Asheville to have lunch with friends.  I pulled off of I-40 to make a phone call at a gas station (since I didn't remember exactly where I was going) and spotted a US 74-A shield which I thought looked fairly unique.





My destination for lunch was south on I-26.





The Blue Ridge Parkway crosses over I-26 in Asheville.  My lunch destination was on NC 146.





I-26 is heavily traveled between Asheville and Columbia.  I missed the state line signage but stopped on SC 14 to get gas before continuing on my way.  I always dug the modern design of the South Carolina State Highway shields, they have a clean but unique look.






Mercifully I pulled of I-26 after 160 miles of heavy traffic onto I-77 north.






After a couple miles on I-77 I pulled off of the freeway onto SC 48.





SC 48 is a 29 mile state highway running from US 21/76/176/321 in downtown Columbia east to US 601.  SC 48 more or less follows the Congaree River along the north bank and apparently was signed all the way back in 1930.  There was a nice mixture of new and older South Carolina highway shields.






Most of SC 48 is on Bluff Road.  The access road to Congaree National Park is on Old Bluff Road which I'm fairly certain is the original SC 48 alignment.









Congaree National Park is the largest tract of old growth bottom land hardwood forest left in the eastern United States.  Essentially Congaree National Park is a swamp along the north banks of the Congaree River.  Congaree National Park was established in 2003 out of the previous Congaree National Monument which was established in 1976.  There is actually fairly extensive boardwalk trails through the trees and swap lands.  I made my way almost all the way to the Congaree River and ran most of it since my leg was starting to feel better after the Water Rock Knob.












Leaving Congaree National Park I rejoined SC 48 and took it east to US 601.  I crossed the Congaree River on US 601 and took SC 267 south.






SC 267 is only 23 miles long and ends at US 15.  I'm not sure when the route was created but there was some nice views and decent shields along the highway.






After completing SC 267 I took US 15 to I-95.  From I-95 I headed south to US 78 in St. George where I stayed the night. 













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