Saturday morning I got up at 4:00 am, loaded the kayak into the truck and headed south once more to the Edisto River. Last month we had originally planned to kayak the entire 20.3 mile stretch from Colleton State Park to Givhan’s Ferry State Park. We wound up breaking the trip into sections, running only the portion from Mars Old Field to Givhan’s Ferry last time. This time we were going to do the section from Colleton State Park to Stokes Bridge Landing – 8 miles, about the same length as our last trip.
This time there were seven in our group. Matt, John N., Rob D., and Chris J. returned. James B. couldn’t make it, but we were joined by John R. and his son Kevin. Matt’s dog, Cotton rounded out our entourage. We unloaded all the boats, then ran a shuttle down to Stokes Bridge.
As we got underway we observed a huge group of canoes and kayaks getting started on the opposite bank. This was a mixed group of all ages. As they passed I noticed several unusual seating arrangements. Several of the canoes had a man in the back paddling, and a woman up front just along for the ride – no paddle in hand whatsoever. Strange.
We stopped at one marl shelf briefly, but headed on down without finding any sharks teeth. The marl in this are looks quite different from what we encountered on the lower stretch last month. There are larger eroded holes in the limestone, and it is much harder.
The water was much lower than normal. There was plenty for paddling the main channel, but there were lots of side channels into the cypress swamps that we should have been able to explore. These were bone dry.
Apart from the large group that got underway about the same time we did, we really didn’t see anyone else on the river. There were a couple of very nice houses just below the put-in, but beyond that it was mostly river shacks, and many of these were run-down and abandoned.
The entire character of this portion of the river is different from the section we paddled last month. There are many more twists and turns. There are also many more trees and strainers.
As with the last trip, we stopped several times to look for sharks teeth and other fossils. We also stopped a couple of times to try out various rope swings, although none matched the ones we found on our last trip.
I was in my whitewater Perception Torrent, and it turned out to be less than ideal for this trip. While it is highly maneuverable, it doesn’t track very straight. Every time I stop paddling it spins around. That makes it extremely difficult for photography. There’s also not much storage space. I had everything strapped to my rear deck, hoping it stayed put. Finally, it was just not as fast as the other boats, and several times I found myself falling behind. I had to paddle quite a bit to keep up, and even moreso if I wanted to go back up stream. I may have to start looking into a different boat if I’m going to keep paddling the Lowcountry rivers.
Despite the wrong boat and low water, it was a great trip. Any day on the river is a good day.
Below is a slide show of photos from this trip…
[tags]paddling, kayaking, South Carolina, Edisto River[/tags]