Edistoing (verb) – kayaking down the river, fun, rope swings, lots of fun, owls, loads of fun, funny side up, fossils, funtatious, sun burn, funtastic,endless oxbows, a heapin good time of fun, firecrackers, funsational, swimming with the gators, having fun, cypress knees, funasoric, beer, too much fun, and the Lowcountry Unfiltered Guys. (reference, John Ring)
Edisto (noun) – a state of blissful near-perfection brought on by the act of Edistoing; also the name of a blackwater river in the lowcountry of South Carolina.
I had my choice of paddling venues today. I could have joined the throngs in Spartanburg County for the Tame the Tyger river race, or I could join the Lowcountry Unfiltered gang for another trek on the Edisto River. I chose the latter. It turned out to be of paddling nirvana, with incredibly blue skies, cypress cathedrals, and camaraderie all around.
I got up early Saturday morning and drove down to Clinton to pick up Bob Donnan. By 6:30 we were on our way to the river. I set up my Nikon S50 on the dashboard and had it taking 10 second time-lapse photos to produce the video below:
Bob and I arrived at Weekes Landing at Cannadys, across from Colleton State Park and found my brother Stephen waiting for us. Soon the others arrived. We shifted boats around and got ready to drive up to Green Pond Church Landing.
At the put-in we posed for our usual shot, then got underway. Green Pond Landing is on an oxbow spur of the river, and it took us a bit of effort to find the way to the main channel.
Once we reached the channel we headed upstream. One of the local outfitters has several tree houses on the river that can be rented for overnight stays. A group of canoeists were getting ready to depart. The water was high and the current strong, so we decided to head on downstream.
With the water this high many of the side channels were open to us. It seems like we were going to attempt to explore every one of them. Some of these channels wound through massive cypress cathedrals with multiple routes.
The day was full of these side explorations. Often these would result in a dead end, and everyone would have to turn around in tight quarters.
The biggest problem was keeping everyone together. We didn’t want to get separated like the last time I paddled this river. So, we tended to stick together. If one person went into an oxbow, we all followed.
We paused for lunch at a little boat ramp on one of the oxbows. Alan Russell had commented that he liked kayaking because it was the one sport where to tend to do the activity sitting down, but take breaks standing up. That was the case this time, too. James Martin brought a couple of growlers of his latest home brew, and we had some great ham sandwiches with cherry glaze.
Out on the main stem of the river the open skies were spectacular. We even saw a few birds along the way.
After many more side excursions we finally reached the I-95 overpass. We heard it long before we saw it – an unwanted intrusion into the peacefulness of the river. Bob and I both commented that we felt uneasy paddling under the bridge. We expected some large truck to have a freak accident and come tumbling into the river on top of us. It was unnerving.
Stephen had found a Frisbee on the river. Bob and I swiped it and tossed it between us down a good part of the river. We paused for one more break on a nice stretch of sand, and James and Matt decided to go in for a dip. The rest of us figured it was a bit too chilly.
Soon we heard another ominous sound, but this time it wasn’t traffic. We were approaching the SCE&G Power Plant, with is a coal-fired generating station. The industrial buildings came right up to the river’s edge.
Matt did manage to find one rope swing. Since he had already been in the water once, he didn’t mind trying this one.
By this time we were really tired. Stephen and John had decided not to hang around for Matt’s swinging, so they had paddled on ahead. Soon, we, too, were approaching the take-out point.
We began loading the boats and went back to retrieve the vehicles from the put-in. As we crossed I-95 we saw that the north-bound lane was at a standstill. Bob and I had to wind back through the country, but made it to I-95 eventually.
We were exhausted. Our seven mile trip had extended into a 12.7 mile paddle with the addition of the oxbows. Here’s a map of the trek, courtesy of Craig Lee…
It was a great day of paddling, and one of the most photogenic I can remember. I took hundreds of photos, and uploaded 124 to my Flickr account. Here is a slide show of the entire site…
Craig Lee has also posted some wonderful shots on his Flickr account. Below are Stephen’s photos…
I’m sure the others from our group will have photos online shortly.