Doing the LoCo Motion on Hilton Head Island

“I want people to feel empowered by crossing that finish line,” says Laura Morgan with a big smile.

Morgan is the founder of Carolina Cups—a 501c3 non-profit public charity dedicated to funding breast cancer education, screening, treatment, and clinical research—and the running shoes behind LoCo Motion—a 3-day charitable walk/run that will cover 10 miles from Sept. 30-Oct 2 to join the fight against cancer. Walkers and runner alike will compete (“With themselves, not others,” says Morgan) on a course that includes the hard-packed beaches of Hilton Head Island, as well as historic Old Town Bluffton on the banks of the May River.

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Roots Run Deep

THE GULLAH people, the true native culture on the S.C. coast, have a wise saying. It goes: If you don’t know where you’re going, at least know where you’ve been. In this post, we’ll time travel and remember origins—our coastal landscape, past and modern settlers, and how well we have preserved our environment for future generations. How are we doing?

Water built this land

The Lowcountry (translation: the Atlantic Coastal Plain in South Carolina and Georgia) is a level landscape formed from sediments deposited by the Atlantic Ocean over 25,000 years ago. Hilton Head Island, closer to sea, was primarily built from sand—quartz, feldspar, and shell bits and a sprinkling of organic matter. For most of the Island, drainage is fairly good.

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(Part 2) Getting on the Right Wellness Path at the H3

I remember seeing Chris Farley snacking on carrots at Park Plaza Cinemas when I was a 13 and asking one of my friends, “What is he doing on Hilton Head Island?!” (At the time, Chris Farley was at the height of his popularity.) My friend replied, “Oh he goes to the fat farm.”

As in insensitive as my friend sounded, she was not alone when it comes to this common misconception about the Hilton Head Health (H3). After recently visiting the total wellness facility, I was able to experience firsthand what H3 is and isn’t about.

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Recycle This Beach!

THE FIRST PLACE people want to go after arriving to Hilton Head Island is the beach. The Island seashore is a playground, peaceful refuge, and a place of epic beauty for people. The beach is also a natural habitat with many communities: dunes, the upper beach, lower shore, tidal pools, near-shore shoals, and sandbars. And perhaps most important: the seashore is the buffer between storm waves and homes, hotels, resorts and businesses. We need the beach.

Six Facts of Life for a Beach
Let’s say you are staying on the Island this week. Seven days isn’t enough time to notice that the seashore is changing significantly. But it is always changing. Here is the inside scoop (of sand):

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(Part 1) Getting on the Right Wellness Path at H3

Somewhere along the way I lost sight of the reason why my family moved to Hilton Head Island over twenty years ago. Maybe I got too involved with having a career and children. Maybe I just took for granted all that the Island provides. But after spending a day at the Hilton Head Health Institute (H3I), I rediscovered so much about my hometown and felt inspired to bring an even greater sense of wellness into my family’s life.

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Lord of the Water The American alligator is a predator, a conservationist of sorts, and an animal to be watched from a distance.

OUT ON THE 17th FAIRWAY, THE GOLFER SLICES a drive hard to the right. It skids down an embankment and plops into the water hazard. Muttering aloud, the player strides purposefully to the dark lagoon, bends down and reaches for the submerged Titleist Pro V1x. That’s when he sees the yellow eyes, fixed on him. The eyes are attached to a large, dark head, which is attached to the body of a barely submerged alligator. And it is silently, intently coming his way. The golfer backs away slowly. He’s a local and knows not to run. He hops in his cart, retreats up fairway, and takes a mulligan. The gator seizes the ball in its long black jaws and slides back underwater. All’s well that ends well.

The Alligator and Its Serious Cousins
The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is the largest animal on Hilton Head Island and the Lowcountry. It’s closely related to American crocodile, which lives only in southern Florida. The gator is blackish and has a rounded snout; the croc is pale green and has a tapered, almost pointed snout.

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(Part 3): Have Your Cake and Eat It Too at Hilton Head Island’s delisheeeYo Frozen Yogurt, Juice Bar and Cafe

A regular serving of soft serve at Baskin Robbins is 280 calories and 11 grams of fat. A regular serving at delisheeeYo is 110 calories and 0 grams of fat (and no added sugar). But for delisheeeYo owner Cathryn Matthes the difference doesn’t stop there.

“When people leave here, they feel nourished–even if they are getting a treat like frozen yogurt,” says Cathryn.

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King of the Woods

THE FIRST VISION you have when arriving on Hilton Head Island is GREEN. The wall of dark, dense foliage, borne on long, twisting branches, shadows the tidal waterways, guards the edge of beach dunes, and frames fairways on the island. In our well-preserved maritime forest, the live oak is the Monarch.

A Tree Built to Last
John’s Island, S.C, displays a live oak tree aged over 1,400 years (that’s back in Medieval times, when the Byzantine Empire ruled). The Angel Oak is thought to be the oldest tree east of the Mississippi River. On Hilton Head Island, several live oaks (usually on the “north end” of the island) have been aged over 350 years (when Captain William Hilton first saw this island).

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Our Wide Open Space Hilton Head Island’s beach is vast, hard-packed and lively

BRING FLIP FLOPS when you go to the beach on Hilton Head Island. The shores are sugar sand firm. Your bare feet may soon grumble, for this seashore is about as solid as pavement. There is good evidence for this—millennia of geologic activity and ocean waves have molded our solid strand. It is wide and level and unlike most other shores in America. Let’s find out why.

Take a Bight (or is that, bite?)

The southeastern Atlantic Coast is shaped like a huge bay. In scientific terms, this great inward curve in America’s coastline is called the South Atlantic Bight. The word, “bight” descends from the Old English word for “bend.” Science tells us that at least 180 million years ago, the coast of the present-day South Carolina was knitted to the coast of West Africa. As the crustal plates separated, so did these continental shores. Look at a world map: can you envision how the coast of Sierra Leone could have nestled into the South Atlantic Bight? And yes, it does look like someone took a giant bite out of the southeast coast, doesn’t it?

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(Part 2) Have Your Cake and Eat It Too at Hilton Head Island’s delisheeeYo Frozen Yogurt, Juice Bar and Cafe

I have finally decided which celebrity delisheeeYo owner Cathryn Matthes looks like (Lauren Hutton–minus the famous gap) when she says, “I was overweight as a teenager.”

I find this extremely hard to believe but I listen on to hear why she believes so strongly about eating not only healthy foods but “functional foods”.

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