Briana spent three weeks in 2019 exploring the forts and historic sites along the coast of Georgia. Read Along!
Tybee Island and Savannah
My adventure started in Savannah on March 6th of 2019. Savannah, being the city where my little brother now lived, was also the city where he was about to be married. I remember being so melancholy because my grandma, who was and is my best friend, passed away on February 1st. She had been looking forward to his wedding. It hurt even worse being somewhere she and I vacationed together several times before, and her birthday had just passed on March 4th, two days prior.
The emotional roller coaster I was on would have been unbearable without something distracting, like a wedding, to attend. My brother was so excited, they had been on a special list for two years in order to be married at the oldest Catholic Church in Savannah. That two years was full of showers, toasts, dinners and visits; this definitely added to the anticipation of their big day...and that day was here.
Fort Pulaski and the Battery Ram
The nerd in me was hoping for a chance to explore Fort Pulaski, I had only been once when I was in middle school on a field trip. The thing is, I always end up hiking or exploring alone because nobody enjoys it to the extent I do, including the wedding party.
I have driven over the bridge that goes into Tybee a hundred times or more, and I would always wonder about the creepy lighthouse off to the left. It sat in the water sometimes, and other times you could see the tiny sandbar that it rested on. It sparked some strange feeling, one with anticipation and curiosity. A thousand questions rushed in every time I saw it. I wanted to explore the lighthouse, but I knew there wasn't a practical way for me to do it.
After the wedding weekend, I decided to go to the fort. I went alone, as usual. Everybody was leaving to go home, and there was a round of storms coming in. They were caught up in rough weather while heading home and called to tell me to stay, and not drive in it. I was definitely not upset about spending another night at the beach, no matter the reason.
I drove into the parking lot and I parked in the back...mainly because I saw a trail off into the woods that was literally calling my name. I needed to get out and walk and just think, or not think. I took off down the trail and to my surprise I arrived out onto a beach, but the energy here was high. There was an old dock here, and hardly anything stood of it, except the old outline. This was the Battery ram, and where the Savannah river fed into the Atlantic; this was fresh water and saltwater that never seemed to mix together at the dark line that split them.
A Monument to John Wesley
I explored the old concrete building and made my way back towards the fort itself. I found out the trail was part of a loop, and before it circled all the way back around I came upon a brick obelisk structure. It was placed there to commemorate Wesley, who arrived there shortly after Oglethorpe. He is responsible for developing the Methodist denomination of Christianity. I had not realized Wesley arrived in Georgia that early, as the state wasn't founded until 1733. (So he was here from the beginning, almost.)
At this point, you could see the skies were beginning to darken up slightly. It was a stone blue-gray color, and I didn't notice the wind had picked up too. I finished the loop back out to the end of that parking lot and then visited Fort Pulaski. The structure is shaped in a strange octagon, with steps that lead to a top level containing cannons and heavy artillery.
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Each of the stairways leading up to a "gun" were spread apart, around the whole structure. I'm sure I knew at the time, but if I had to guess now, I'd say about 20 feet or more, and that's with the give and take you'll hopefully allot me.
On top of the fort, I could see the area I'd just been hiking. The separation of the water was extremely noticeable from above, and I could see that lighthouse off In the distance. It appeared to be on some tiny peninsula that jutted out from a trail leading back to the fort.
The Trail to Cockspur Lighthouse
I was so excited that I found a way to it, and I then headed to the starting point for the appropriately named "Lighthouse Trail". You guys have no idea the amount of gold I felt I struck! Years of torment, questions, and curiosity were about to be dealt with, on a personal level.
The trail was fascinating, different than any other I've walked. This can be attributed to the fact you're walking with land on only one side until you take a turn, then there's water on both sides. I love this feeling. It's like I'm somehow here in a place I shouldn't be. It's like a sense of controlled danger maybe, I don't know how to place it into the proper words. Whatever the feeling, it would continue to heighten the closer I became to my destination.
I passed two people on the 1.5-mile trek in, which indicated (or it was highly likely) that I may be the only person out here heading in this direction. I wondered if there was a reason for it, other than a storm was supposedly on the way.
"Sand" Dunes Made of Shells
The land became more narrow until it stopped, and it seemed to be replaced with seashells. Had there not been a few people leaving as I arrived, I'd have been hesitant to walk on them. They were all over, like sand dunes. I couldn't believe the sandbar I'd been seeing from that bridge was really seashells. It was approaching the later half of the day, which means a rising tide. The storm increased the intensity of the tide, and it seemed to be rising earlier than usual. I walked fast and carefully as I crunched the shells under my shoes. The lighthouse was close, finally!
A Trail to Nowhere
I was immediately met with disappointment, however, as the shells stopped abruptly, like the land had done earlier. Now it had become marsh grass and spongy stuff. If I had walked into it, I'd have gone underwater. I have no clue about the depth, but the material grossed me out enough to refrain from testing it out. I was within 15 feet of this structure; it was beautifully haunting and enchanting.
I had gotten as close as I could get, and I turned around to go back down the trail. I looked around me one last time, to just take it all in. I noticed the fog had set in, and it was significantly darker than it had been. The wind was blowing and I made it to my car just in time for the bottom to drop out.
A Mysterious Must When on Tybee Island
I buckled in and made my way to the exit sign. My mind was racing, I was anxious to research the lighthouse and look at my pictures. I was going over that same bridge onto Tybee again and I looked to my left. The shells I had just been standing on were now underwater. Seems I made it out just in time, and it was neat to think I was just there. I was amped up and the incoming storm added to my energy level. I booked a room with a jacuzzi tub for myself and went to a quiet bar for wings and a whiskey on ice.
I'd definitely recommend visiting Fort Pulaski if you're ever in Savannah or on Tybee Island. Find this trail and you just may find that feeling too...how beautiful it was to be surrounded by that history and energy.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Bri Smith