Paddling

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Solo Oolenoy in a Problematic Boat

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Lake Oolenoy Red Emphasis

Red Pungo 140 on Lake Oolenoy

In the fleet of kayaks I have in my yard is one red Wilderness Systems Pungo 140. It’s got a problem, or, several of them, really. First is a question of ownership.  Chip purchased this boat from Confluence five years ago at the Friends and Family sale. Over the course of the years, he traded it to a colleague for another boat. However, the colleague never collected the boat from my yard, and eventually moved to another town. There it has sat for five years. While I often enumerate it with my fleet, I still consider it Chip’s boat.

More importantly, though, is the condition of the boat.  Some of the kayaks at the Confluence sale were factory seconds.  For example, the Pungo 120 I got at the same sale had the webbing for the seat straps sliced.  No biggy, but I had to replace them. 

To all outward appearances the Pungo 140 looks like a great kayak…

Lake Oolenoy-11 (more…)

Paddling to Andersonville

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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. (more…)

The Long and Lonely Santee with Lowcountry Unfiltered

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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. (more…)

Lost in the Mangroves in the Old Inlet

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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.

Fort Pierce Farmers Market-2
Fort Pierce Farmers Market-3
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. (more…)

Gadding about in Florida – Part Two

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Kissimmee Prairie-016

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. (more…)

Gadding about in Florida – Part One

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Indian River Paddling-002

Indian River near Fort Pierce, Florida

We’ve been spending a few days down in Fort Pierce, Florida, at Laura’s sister’s place. Amy had to go away on business, so we cam down to keep her mom company. I brought toys. The Subaru was loaded with more camera and kayak gear than luggage.

Every morning I’ve been getting up and down a short paddling trip before the heat and afternoon thunderstorms hit. I’ve also managed to get in an evening paddle.

I brought the Tsunami because it handles rougher water with ease and is quick enough that I can go some distance. First trip out I headed out to the spoil islands. The morning was clear with a light breeze. The water was relatively flat.

Indian River-003
Indian River-004
Indian River-007 (more…)

Lake Oolenoy and Panoramas

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Lake Oolenoy Panorama HDRish

Lake Oolenoy and Table Rock

Lake Oolenoy is one of my favorite local paddling destinations. It’s relatively close, has great scenery, and is perfect for beginners. Thursday morning I headed up there with two of my favorite professors emeriti from Furman, Jim Leavell and Tony Arrington, and Tony’s son, Caleb, who is a chemistry professor at Wofford.

We met at Tony’s house and headed on up, planning on a quick morning paddle. The sky was slightly overcast, but it was still a great day for paddling. Jim and I were in two of my boats, and Tony and Caleb were in Tony’s tandem.

Lake Oolenoy-2 (more…)

Ogeechee River with Lowcountry Unfiltered

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Ogeechee with LCU-50

Ogeechee River

It’s a Second Saturday, and time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered adventure. This time LCU would be taking on the mighty Ogeechee River south of Savannah, Ga. The Ogeechee is Georgia’s Edisto River. It’s a nearly 300 mile free-flowing blackwater river. The section we would be floating would include cypress swampland, as well as some tidal flow.

Having spent the night nearby, I had plenty of time to get a good breakfast and head over to our rendezvous at the take-out at Kings Ferry Park on Highway 17. I was the first to arrive, and took the opportunity to catch some photos in the morning light.

Ogeechee River with LCU (more…)

Edisto from Whetstone to Greenpond

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Edisto from Whetstone to Greenpond-094

Oxbow Lake on the Edisto River

Another second Saturday and it was time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered trip. It was also time to get back on the water. While our group loves any kind of exploration, from swamp stomping to biking, our preferred form of travel has always been water.

We bounced several ideas for the March trip back and forth. Finally, we settled on our old standby, the Edisto River. We would be doing a new stretch (for us) from Whetstone Landing down to Greenpond Landing. The route would be about 13.6 miles. (more…)

Autumn Paddle on Lake Oolenoy

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Table Rock over Lake Oolenoy

After a front blew through, it looked like the weekend was going to have spectacular fall weather. My sister, Beth, called and asked if I had any adventures planned. I thought for a bit, and said, “Let’s go kayaking!” So, Saturday morning Beth, my nephew Philip, and I headed up to Lake Oolenoy at Table Rock State Park.

Traffic was crazy on the way up. Apparently the Greenville News had said that this was the peak of the leaf season, and that it would be gone soon. There were lots of leafy looky loos out and about, slowing down traffic and being a nuisance in general. All of the iconic overlooks along Highway 11 were packed.

We reached the lake and unloaded the boats. Neither Beth nor Philip had ever paddled, so I gave them some quick instructions. My brother Stephen joined us, so I launched those two to head out and practice while I helped Stephen get his boat unloaded.

Boats Ready for Launch
Philip and Beth
Philip on Lake Oolenoy
Beth kayaking
Stephen on Lake Oolenoy (more…)

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