If you like to spend a lot of time in the fresh air, you might consider a trip to see the North Island lighthouse.  On Friday, October 15, Dr. Simmons and his US History class did just that. At the South Island boat landing, we met the boat driver, and crossed the Intracoastal Waterway.  Almost immediately, we arrived on Cat Island, where the Education Center stands.  Our guide from DNR, Jim Lee, explained a little bit about the history of North Island. Everyone then got back on the boat and set off for our destination–the lighthouse.

The boat took us east on the South Santee River, slowing down periodically so Jim Lee could explain the history of some of the locations. The views of the marshland were spectacular.  Once we pulled up at North Island, Jim Lee treated us to a long and beautiful walk along the beach and through the woods. After about an hour, we arrived at the North Island lighthouse, a structure that was first built in the early 1800s and has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the years.  The lighthouse guards the entrance to Winyah Bay up up to this day, although it has been fully automated since 1986.

Tired and hungry, we sat and ate lunch before walking up the stairs of the lighthouse. When we reached the top, they were greeted by a stunning view (as well as wasps which were on the outside). “Wasps are friends,” everyone said as we walked through the swarm of wasps in order to have an unobstructed view of the bay. We could clearly see the different elevations of terrain on North Island.

After admiring the view and hearing about some more history of the island, everyone descended. On the way down the stairs, Kelsi and Isaac began singing, much to the dismay of Dr. Simmons. “No one warned me it was going to be this bad,” he said when the singing continued even after everyone was back on the ground.

The students obviously still had plenty of energy left so Jim Lee led us up Lafayette Hill, the highest point on the island. There, we saw the recently uncovered radio tower that had a palmetto tree growing through it. Then we headed back to the dock for the return trip to South Island boat landing.

We are so grateful to DNR and especially Jim Lee for the opportunity to enjoy a day on the Santee River Delta and learn about the fascinating history of our area.  Thanks to Dr. Simmons for arranging the trip as well.

By Annika