After a fitful night of sleep I got up early and headed to our rendevous point – Mars Old Field Landing on the Edisto River. Our plan was to rendezvous at the put-in at 8:00 and paddle down to Givhan’s Ferry, about a 7 mile trip. We had originally planned to paddle from Colleton State Park to Givhan’s Ferry, about a 20.3 mile trip. However, several in the group (myself included) were wondering about the feasibility of such a long trip. Instead of my own boats, I had rented a faster flatwater kayak back when I thought we were doing the long trip.
First, I met with John the Botanist (aka Just Back) at the put-in, then we were joined by Matt the Banker (aka greenkayak73), James the Tech Guy (aka tettonka), Chris the Physical Therapist, and Rob the Newspaper Guy. The six of us headed down the river.
At this point the Edisto has a very fast current. It was obvious that this was going to be a fast trip. However, my companions had another idea. They were more interested in a more leisurely trip. First, we stopped at a rope swing and everyone had to give it a try. Our group wanted to stop and anything that looked interesting. John was especially interested in collecting plants, and had even brought a plant press with him. The weather was great, and the paddling was excellent. We explored a couple of side channels, but kept a steady (if not a bit slower) heading down river.
We certainly weren’t the only ones on the river. There was one kayak tour group that we kept passing then encountering again. There were also several inner tube parties on their way downstream. The first was a mixed group of young people in, how shall I say this, less than suitable attire. They were skinny-dipping and were too drunk to care who saw them. The next group was from Charleston, and had a huge inflatable float they had covered with shampoo so that it would be a challenge to mount. They were friendly enough, and even offered us drinks. We saw lots of wildlife on the river, albeit not of the variety we expected.
Houses line the Edisto along this stretch – some large affairs with elaborate docks, and some were mobile homes with makeshift river access. We also encountered a couple of smaller motor boats – folks out fishing for the day.
At one point we noticed a limestone outcropping that either bounded the river, or ran along one edge as a shelf. While John was interested in plants, Rob was interested in fossils. We took a long break along one shelf and found fossilized whale vertebrae, some small sharks’ teeth, and even a bullet.
Right across from the shelf where we took our break the main flow of Four Holes Swamp enters the Edisto. We paddled for about a half-mile along waters dyed a tea-brown from tannins. The water was incredibly clear, and the depth was deceptive. We encountered a couple of very large spiders, one copperhead, and a couple of herons. Thankfully, there were no alligators.
The limestone continued, forming a large bluff on the left bank. About a half-mile above the take-out we encountered another group of paddlers. This group had been on the river for four days, and were reaching the end of their journey. They joined us for the last stretch, and we chatted about the river and their adventures.
We reached the take-out Givhan’s Ferry at about 4:00. We had been on the river for seven hours, most of that goofing around. This was a fun group, and we had a blast. This section of the river is great for beginners, and for just kicking back and relaxing. I needed that.
Below is a map of the Edisto Trail, as well as the pictures that I took along the way.
[tags]kayaking, paddling, Edisto River, South Carolina, Flickr[/tags]