Paddling to Andersonville

Paddling to Andersonville Island
Andersonville Island, Lake Hartwell

Ever since I found out about it I’ve wanted to visit the location of Andersonville. I was finally given that opportunity this week, as fellow paddlers Alan Russell and Jim Leavell joined me for an early week trek out to the island. With this week’s paddle I was able to add another check to my list of South Carolina ghost towns.

Stephen and I had done some previous scouting in this area. Stephen’s brother-in-law, Jim, owns a barbecue place nearby, and he provided some valuable information about the area. Since that time I had been looking for the optimum launch site for a trek over to Andersonville. Continue reading “Paddling to Andersonville”

Musgrove Mill and Laurens County

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Horseshoe Falls on Cedar Shoals Creek

A couple of weeks ago my friend Ken Cothran and I were discussing the Musgrove Mill State Historic Site in Laurens County. It seems neither of us had been there in quite awhile, and we wanted to return to do some photography. Even though it was supposed to be scorching hot, we set out early Tuesday morning to see what we could find.

Our route from Clemson took us down Mauldin Road. Ken had not seen the improvements to the Lake Connestee park, so we took a brief detour past the old mill and dam site. I managed to capture a great blue heron with my long lens.

Laurens County Ramble-002

We drove by the old Macbee Chapel, but then from Connestee drove pretty much straight down to the site, taking the Highway 56 exit from I-26 at Clinton. Continue reading “Musgrove Mill and Laurens County”

The Long and Lonely Santee with Lowcountry Unfiltered

Santee River with Lowcountry Unfiltered-095

It was a second Saturday. That means another paddling trip with Lowcountry Unfiltered. I had driven down the night before and had stayed with my two brothers in North Charleston, and on this fine Saturday morning we would brave the wilds of the lower Santee River from McConnell Landing to Hampton Island.

Some how we managed to roll out of bed fairly early, despite a huge meal at a Brazilian steakhouse, and nightcaps and joking until late at night. Our convoy headed to the put-in, first crossing the Cooper River on I-526, then taking what must be the straightest road in South Carolina, Highway 41, across the Francis Marion National Forest.

The problem with these trips is that we ALWAYS pass cool stuff en route to the put in. It’s usually early morning and there is a mist or cool light for just the right photography. This time we passed old stores and churches and other things that would normally have me stopping. I keep thinking “I’ve got to come back this way,” but it never seems to work out. Oh well. Continue reading “The Long and Lonely Santee with Lowcountry Unfiltered”

From Monck’s Corner to Brazil

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Saint Thomas Church, AKA The Brick Church, AKA The White Church

This weekend was a Lowcountry Unfiltered weekend, and we had a paddling trip planned for the Lower Santee River. I decided to head down early and take some photographs in the wilds of Francis Marion Forest and Berkeley and Charleston Counties.  My brothers, Stephen and Houston, would be down later that afternoon, and we would see what trouble we could create.

I had marked a series of locations in my GPS.  Most of these were historic churches, but there were a few other locations I wanted to check out.  With the car loaded with kayak and photography gear, I headed on down Friday morning.

I got away later than I had thought, and traffic was heavy, but I made it down there right about noon.  Lunch was a sandwich I brought along so I could stick with my diet.  I had that along the banks of the Tailrace Canal, just south of Moncks Corner.

Tailrace Canal-002 Continue reading “From Monck’s Corner to Brazil”

Furman Lakeside in Summer

Cygnets from Black Swans

Well after that last “fat” revelation, I figured it’s time for more photography. Life can’t be spent entirely in the gym, so it was time to get out and take some pictures.

I headed up to Furman (where I joined Laura for a low calorie lunch), and we decided to walk down to the lake. There were reports of new baby swans, so I carried my long lens. We didn’t see the swans at first, but I decided to use the lens with its narrow depth of field to take some photos of the flowers in bloom around the student center and bookstore.

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Furman-6 Continue reading “Furman Lakeside in Summer”

I Am Fat

WARNING – weight-related, fitness rant ahead. I promise not do do this often.

There. I said it. I’m fat.

That’s a hard reality to admit out loud. I’ve always hedged a bit by admitting that I’m a bit overweight, but it’s time to face hard facts. I’ve got to lose fifty pounds to get back down to a comfortable weight, and even then I’ll STILL be on the heavy side.

Here’s a comparison. The photo below shows two images of me and Laura. The one on the left was taken in the mid-1990’s. The one on the right was taken this past December.

TomLauraCombined

So, you see, I wasn’t always this way. I know people gain weight as they age, but this is not good.

For most of my early life I was so skinny that people got worried. This photo from the early 1980’s shows how skinny I really was. Continue reading “I Am Fat”

Lost in the Mangroves in the Old Inlet

Indian River Panorama HDR

So far it had been a great week in Florida. I had gotten out on the kayak for at least one paddling trip each day. In some cases, twice. Doesn’t hurt when you’re staying at a place with a boat ramp right into the Indian River.

This was our last full day in Fort Pierce, and we were going to jam it full of activities. The morning started with a trek out to the Saturday morning Farmers Market in downtown Fort Pierce. We got some vegetables, did some people watching, and Laura was even able to find a cool hat to wear in the Mini Convertible out on the artists section of the market.

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Fort Pierce Farmers Market-1

When we got back from the market, Laura and Amy headed out for some shopping, and I headed out on the kayak. Most of my treks had been averaging about four miles, and I was determined to get at least one long trip in. Continue reading “Lost in the Mangroves in the Old Inlet”

Gadding about in Florida – Part Two

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Kissimmee Prairie

This is one of those weeks when I forget when I did what. We’re continuing our travels in Florida, mostly kayaking, but getting out and doing some other exploration.

I’d been out paddling most of the morning Thursday morning, but by the afternoon it was time for something different.  All of us loaded up in the car and headed to Kissimmee Prairie on the interior of the state. Continue reading “Gadding about in Florida – Part Two”

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