Ossabaw Island—what a unique place in a modern world. I was asked to go last minute by Bryan at The Georgia Conservancy. We had spoken before about me attending one of their trips to beautiful locations around the state. This time everything aligned and we went to join them.
It had been a long time since I slept in a grassy field and woke up looking at the sky. Maria and I set up our tent in a pasture where a plantation used to sit. Wild donkeys walked by. Wood storks and Pileated woodpeckers flew overhead. The place is very ancient and beautiful and has a long and rich history. Modern man has been on the island since early 1700′s at least. Natives lived here for 4,000 years before. Now I walked on for a weekend.
The trip began with a ferry ride across the oyster marshes and tarpon feeding grounds. Twenty or so minutes later we were pulling up to this mystery island. Hello Ossabaw.
The Georgia Conservancy took care of us—fine eating and great conversation with a interesting mix of people. Two days and we were friends with campfires and low country boil to share. The team spent half a day of work in between adventures. We assisted the Ossabaw Island Foundation doing some cleaning and chores around the few buildings on the island. The work was light and fun with happy people. A storm spun off the coast and gave us wind and entertaining sky. The first night the wind blew and we watched as strange balls of glowing lightning in the distance flashed.
We took a trip to the beach. As the gull flies, it was only a couple miles away, but it took us about an hour or bumpity-bump on the back of a pick-up truck through the craziest forests I have ever seen. The trail we followed has stone mile markers which have been in place since the early 1700s. We rode over swamp and glade, through old forested dunes and towering live oaks draped with gray Spanish moss. The beach was totally uninhabited and there was a lot to see and search around for. Over the weekend we saw many birds including an American Avocet and White Iibis. We also spotted armadillos, alligator, crabs, cicadas, deer, wild hogs, feral donkeys, and dolphins feeding in a unique formation called strand feeding.
I could go on but I will just say that you should check out all The Georgia Conservancy does for the natural areas of Georgia. I highly suggest you take advantage of their stewardship trips. They make it easy to interact with all the wild beauty around us. They can show you places you might never venture. All of our needs were met—food, shelter, and friendship. It sure was a wonderful time.
Thanks to Bryan Schroeder for making this happen—Ben and Foster too. You got me to step away from my painting for a few days and be refreshed by the wild. I thank you for that as well as your generous spirit. Also thanks to our hosts Elizabeth and Mark who help keep the island maintained. You should read more about the history of the island and the 101 year old lady who still lives there after many many years. Her tale is an interesting one.
It was quite a weekend and I am glad I went. As one of the group said before we left, “You gotta go home so you can come back.” See you next time Ossabaw.