The Angel Oak
The Angel Oak is easily the largest and most awe-inspiring live oak I have ever seen. The trunk is massive and quickly splits into several heavy arms growing every which way, up to the sky and down into the ground. I walk to the edges of the vast canopy and find the branches trying to escape the boundaries of its fenced enclosure. The thick limbs are the embodiment of wildness. Photographs don’t do it justice – you must rest your eyes on the curves of this wild creation, the fantastical bulk stretching and turning, reaching into the unknown; resurrection fern clinging on for the duration of the ride. This is the most mind-bending tree, almost spooky, with history deep inside its cells. Perhaps it is an old tree that should be commonplace within its range, perhaps it is a relic of forgotten age.
Boone Hall is famous for its “avenue of oaks,” a street leading into the property lined with planted live oak trees. This is what I went to see. It looks different depending on the light. Sometimes it dark and mysterious. Sometimes it’s a bright spring-like green and filled with dappled sunlight. At all times it provides needed shade from the hot South Carolina sun. I also explored several other individual trees on the grounds. All is very manicured though which is a shame.
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
I found some oaks, magnolias, and other trees on the grounds around the Charles Pinckney house. There’s a little park with picnic tables and a short trail nearby. I especially like that there was a big snag oak. It’s so unusual that people would leave it standing and not haul it off to god knows where. Even though the grounds are manicured, there’s a great snag!