First Light Paddle 2016

First Light Paddle-58

We have built up several New Years traditions over the years. If we’re at home, we have a fondue dinner on the Eve while watching the year roll in. The morning rings in with a breakfast casserole and mimosas. We watch the Rose Parade (per instructions from the Californian in the household) while taking down the Christmas tree, and have nachos while watching the Rose Bowl Game.

That’s a normal year. However, the past couple of years have been anything but normal. Last year I started the year by myself as Laura had to be with her mom. I took the opportunity to watch the sun rise from the highest point in South Carolina, Sassafras Mountain. This year I was in Florida for New Year for the first time ever. Since I had missed my usual Winter Solstice Sunrise paddle, I decided to do a First Light paddle. Continue reading “First Light Paddle 2016”

Fall Paddle on Cascade Lake

Cascade Lake and Hooker Falls-20

The week had been absolutely beautiful. After the rains of last week this was a welcome change. Now we had clear October skies, the kind that make me love fall. It was also warm, and seemed like the perfect opportunity for a paddling trip.

I ran down my list of easy solo paddling venues. There were a couple that piqued my interest, but what I really wanted to do was paddle up to Hooker Falls on Cascade Lake. I was hoping that fall colors would make for some scenic kayaking. Continue reading “Fall Paddle on Cascade Lake”

Sparkleberry at Low Water

Sparkleberry Swamp with LCU-133

It was a Second Saturday and time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered outing. This time we planned to paddle Sparkleberry Swamp. Our group had paddled here a couple of times before, and I’ve been here lots of times, most recently with Dwight and his son Adam back in June. I’ve already written huge amounts about what a magical place it is to paddle. This time we had some newbies with us, and this time we experienced the swamp as we never had before. Continue reading “Sparkleberry at Low Water”

The Remote Savannah

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin! Lowcountry Unfiltered on the Savannah River.

We missed our traditional Second Saturday trek with Lowcountry Unfiltered. Laura and I were still in Florida, and Matt was tied up with moving. Several others of our group also had conflicts, so we decided to postpone the trip to the third Saturday. For this trip, we decided to tackle a wild and remote section of the Savannah River. We would be putting in at Burton’s Ferry Landing and paddling 15 miles downriver to Cohen’s Bluff. Continue reading “The Remote Savannah”

The $10 Kayak

Inflatable Kayak Launch-15

Once upon a time Confluence Watersports in Easley would have a special sale for “friends and family.” Employees and even the general public could come purchase kayaks that were factory seconds, demo boats, discontinued products, and other items that couldn’t be put out for regular retail sale. The incredible prices are how my brothers and nephew have built up our fleet of kayaks.

Of course, you had to be careful. One of the boats we got had a warped hull, and had a distinct pull to the left. My favorite Pungo had all of the seat webbing sliced, and I had to replace it. One of Chip’s boats lacked covers for the storage hatches. For the prices we got these boats, we could cope.

The problem was that people started purchasing LOTS of kayaks at once and reselling them. This was undermining local merchants like Sunrift Adventures and Grady Outdoors. The sales were closed to the public. In order to attend the sale you had to have a ticket, and you were limited to two boats. Continue reading “The $10 Kayak”

Seventh Annual LowCountry Unfiltered Beer Commercial and Rope Swing Edisto Adventure

Lowcountry Unfiltered on the Edisto
Skies part…angel chorus sings as LCU hits the Edisto once again.

My, how time flies. Back in 2008 I spotted a couple of guys online on Flickr that posted photos similar to mine. They were planning a trip down the Edisto and invited me to tag along. That turned out to be an epic adventure. Seven years later and we’re still going strong, taking an adventurous trip somewhere the second Saturday of each month. These guys have become some of my closest friends, and it seemed right commemorate this auspicious occasion.

The “Rope Swing” part of the title should be obvious. Our ADD paddlers tend to stop at just about every sandbar, especially if it has a rope swing. As for the “Beer Commercial” part, that comes from various home brewers in our group, most notably James Brown, trying out their wares on our group. It’s not a serious paddling trip – basically a party on the river with kayaks as the mode of transportation. Continue reading “Seventh Annual LowCountry Unfiltered Beer Commercial and Rope Swing Edisto Adventure”

Mid-Week in Sparkleberry

The Cathedral-1

Last week Dwight sent me a message asking if I’d be up for a mid-week paddle. Laura would be out of town with family, so I thought it would be a great chance to head down to one of my favorite paddling venues, Sparkleberry Swamp.

The sky was a bit overcast and there was a chance of thunderstorms for the afternoon, but it looked to be a good day of paddling. Laura had an early flight that morning, so I dropped her off at the airport and headed on down to rendezvous with Dwight and his son Adam. Continue reading “Mid-Week in Sparkleberry”

Paddling the Corner of South Carolina

Lake Tugaloo Paddling-082

Last Saturday Alan and I decided to check out a new paddling venue. For awhile I’ve been intrigued by the narrow string of lakes in the corner of South Carolina. These include the upper reaches of Lake Hartwell, Lake Yonah, and Lake Tugaloo. We decided to check out the uppermost, Lake Tugaloo.

Alan and I had paddled the Tugaloo River back in 2010 with the now defunct Greenville Canoe and Kayak Meetup. For that trip we had put in below the Yonah Dam and paddled the furthermost reaches of Lake Hartwell down to the Highway 123 Bridge. Lake Yonah backs up another section of the Tugaloo River, and upstream from that, Lake Tugaloo marks the confluence of the Tallulah and Chattooga Rivers. Continue reading “Paddling the Corner of South Carolina”

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