It was another beautiful October day, so I decided it was time to take one of the boats out for a solo paddle. I wanted a place fairly close that wasn’t a place I paddled frequently. At the last minute, I decided upon Lake Keowee, launching from Keowee-Toxaway State Park and paddling up the Estatoe Creek branch.
Keowee-Toxaway State Park is located on either side of Scenic Highway 11 on the western edge of Pickens County. The park borders two sections of Lake Keowee. Years ago Laura and I had taken my canoe on the southern part of the park, which borders the main body of the lake. I remember it as a typical South Carolina lake, full of motor boats, lined with houses, and generally not appealing to paddlers. Not long ago we stopped at the northern section. A dedicated canoe/kayak launch had been built, but directly across from the launch was the Cliffs golf course. Again, not too particularly appealing. However, I could see that from this location one could explore some more remote reaches, and that meant it had potential.
I arrived right about noon. One drives past the Jocassee Gorges Visitors Center on the way to the launch. The building that now houses the center is the former Holly Springs Baptist Church, donated to the state in the 1970s and restored. Since I wasn’t sure of my timeline, I didn’t stop this time.