On Saturday I attended an event cache put on by the Upstate South Carolina Geocaching Association (USCGA). The plan was to head down to N. R. Goodale State Park and find the Lost in the Swamp III geocache, which requires a bit of paddling to reach. The weather forecast was iffy, as it always is this time of year. When Saturday rolled around, it looked like it was going to be a nice day for paddling, so I loaded up the boat and headed down to Camden.
Traffic was crazy busy on the way down. This is the weekend of the Carolina Cup in Camden, so I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as congestion near the park. Just on the other side of Columbia on I-20 I came across a couple of other vehicles with kayaks on top. I recognized Hockey Hick’s van right away with all of the Geocaching stickers, so I knew there would be company.
We found the park with no problem, and the traffic through Camden wasn’t bad. There were already several people getting ready to launch. I couldn’t tell if they were with our group or not. Soon, though, our group came together, and we were exchanging tales of previous Geocaching adventures.
After introductions we signed the event log – a small plastic paddle.
There were about 15 of us. There was quite a mix – experienced paddlers and folks that had never been in a kayak before, young and old, kayakers and canoeists. We got on the water at about 1:30 and headed out across Adams Mill Pond.
I had my GoPro mounted on the front of my kayak. I set it to record video as well as still images and just let it run.
On the other side of the pond the paddling trail enters Pine Trail Creek. The trail is clearly marked and water levels were great. The path looked quite clear.
The path narrow quickly, though, and I soon realized I had the wrong boat. I had brought the Tsunami touring boat, which isn’t the easiest thing to turn. One of my shorter boats would have been much better for the twists and turns of the paddling trail. However, I hadn’t put my GoPro mount on any of the other boats. I’ll remedy that for the next trip. The tight turns reminded me of our trip down to Juniper Springs in Florida with it’s tricky path.
Two of our paddling companions, Laura and Lisa of Team L&L, are avid birders. They spotted several large nests in a stand of cypress trees. We had found a Heron rookery. A pair of herons hovered around the nests. We paused to watch.
We also saw lots of yellow-rumped warblers and at least one yellow slider turtle. It was rumored that there was an alligator on the pond, but we never saw it.
Soon enough we were at the geocache. We paddled it up to it one by one and signed the log. It was also Craig’s (aka C&S 143) 1300th cache find. There was a bit of a traffic jam, so we paused to rest while others signed the log.
This was an out-and-back trip, so we turned around and headed back. With the water levels as high as they were, I decided to skip some of the tighter turns and take short cuts straight across. That worked out well for the most part. The trip back seemed quicker than the trip out, and before long we were at the entrance to the trail.
Upon leaving the cypress grove I decided to open things up and cross the pond quickly. I found myself on the other side of the lake in just a few minutes. I paused and waited for the others to arrive.
It was a great day out on the water. I discovered a great, simple kayak trail, and met some new friends. The venue itself struck me as being “Sparkleberry light” – cypress groves and open water trails, with less of a change of getting completely lost. Seems like it would be a great place to come with a smaller group to do some birding in a few weeks. Here’s a GPS track of the path…
I took the video from the GoPro and some of the video stills and made a video that I posted to YouTube…
Finally, here is a slideshow of all of the shots from the day…