Lowcountry Lookout Towers

Pineville Tower

Even though most of my recent outings have involved kayaking, I haven’t abandoned my search for South Carolina’s lookout towers. I have the locations plotted on the GPS on my car, and as we have driven past I’ve made note of condition, and have stopped to check them out and photograph them, where possible.

This past trip took us by several towers, so I decided to document all of my findings over the last few months. Here they are.. Continue reading “Lowcountry Lookout Towers”

Charleston to McClellanville and Beyond

Sewee Shell Ring Boardwalk HDR

So far we had already had a great trip to the South Carolina Low Country. Yesterday we explored Beidler Forest and the ACE Basin, and the weather looked great for more exploration today.  The day was already hot and humid, so we decided it would be more of a driving trek than hiking.  The trek took us through a large swath of the Francis Marion National Forest.

We started the day by driving onto the Charleston peninsula and touring the area South of Broad. There was the obligatory drive along the battery, but what we enjoyed most was driving through the residential areas and looking at the stately homes with their enclosed gardens.  For some reason, I wasn’t in much of a photography mood, so I don’t have any photos of that part of the trip.

From Charleston we crossed the new Cooper River Bridge into Mount Pleasant, then headed north on Highway 17.    Eventually we came to the Cape Romaine National Wildlife Refuge.  I had already checked online, and the ferry out to Bull’s Island doesn’t run on Sundays, so we walked out to the pier and watch birds and boat traffic out on the ICW. Continue reading “Charleston to McClellanville and Beyond”

ACE Basin

Donelley House

Our visit to Beidler Forest only took up half of the day, and we were ready to see more wildlife. Therefore, we cut across the country down toward the ACE Basin and the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area. Donnelley is only one small section of the ACE Basin. To the east is the Ernest Hollings National Wildlife Refuge. However, we prefer Donnelly because it’s a bit easier access, and it tends to be a bit quieter.

We entered from Bennett’s Point Road and immediately got turned around. We were taking a different direction, but eventually wound up where we wanted – at the old farm house that serves as a landmark for the rice field hiking trails.

Continue reading “ACE Basin”

Francis Beidler Forest

Beidler Forest Boardwalk

I had been sneaking off on paddling trips for the past several weekends, so Laura decided it was time for both of us to get away. We headed down toward the coast, and one of our favorite locations, Francis Beidler Forest.

Beidler Forest is located in the Four Holes Swamp area, and is maintained by the Audobon Society. It features a mile-long loop trail on a raised boardwalk that winds through the cypress swamp. In addition to huge ancient trees, the swamp is home to many species of birds and other wildlife. This time of year is when the prothonotary warblers are in town, and we were hoping to spot a few. Continue reading “Francis Beidler Forest”