Keeping it simple: walking through spring break

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Today is my first real day of spring break. After 29 years of college teaching, those two words still make my heart beat a little faster. And yes, they also evoke images of the beach, with blue skies, warm sands and breaking waves. I’ve spent plenty of spring breaks at beaches: mostly in South Carolina, where I’m from, but also Puerto Rico, Cape Cod, the Maine coast, and Florida (both the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts).

This year, my spring break itinerary is simpler: I’m spending it in South Carolina with family. I’m helping my mother with some home and logistical tasks, hanging out with my sister and her kids and dogs, and seeing cousins, aunts and uncle. I’m definitely not complaining– this was exactly what I wanted after a much longer-seeming-than-usual February with a much-longer-than-usual job search in my department.

My activity plans are simpler, too. I’m here without my bike, kayak or other gear. But I do have my sneakers and a good pair of sunglasses. This (plus some sunscreen–it’s South Carolina, after all) is all I need to enact my plan: walking. I’ll be walking through the week. Just walking– on my own, with family, with dogs. Just writing this makes me feel more relaxed. “Hey, let’s get the dogs and take a walk!” “Sure, I’m coming with you!” “I’ll be back in an hour– I’m taking a walk by the river”. Ahhh… I like the sound of this.

There are a few state and local parks on my relaxed walking itinerary. I love Williamson Park in Darlington (where my mom and aunt Cathy live). It’s a cypress swamp with paths and bridges made and maintained by dedicated volunteers. If you like cypress swamps and are in the Columbia, SC area, I would also recommend Congaree National Park, probably the most low-key national park in the US. But it’s lovely, with paths and trails and bridges through a variety of ecosystems.

Another swampy park that’s fun to explore is Lee State Park, between my sister’s and my mother’s house. It’s a combo of wetland and hardwood forest, and there are horse paths and bike trails in addition to hiking ones. Lest we forget, there’s a county park– Lynches River-– where I used to play as a child. I’m taking my mother there this week for a boardwalk stroll through the river floodplain area.

My mother and I are taking a day trip to the beach to see my aunt Clare and uncle Billy. Billy and I have plans to go kayaking in Murrells Inlet this summer. He fishes and crabs there. But for now, it’s fine with me to walk on the beach and on the bridges through the marshes at Huntington Beach state park, my favorite in the state.

And of course, there are dogs to walk, teenagers to roust out of bed and exercise, and a sister to chat with while decompressing from the work day. I think that sounds pretty good.

I’ll report back next Sunday, with pictures!

What are your activity plans this week? Do you have elaborate plans? Are you keeping it simple? Lemme know.

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