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.
This trip almost didn’t happen. Actually, it was supposed to have happened back in July, our traditional date for the annual Lowcountry Unfiltered Rope Swing and Beer Commercial Float on the Edisto River. However, the second Saturday in July had the highest river levels seen on the Edisto in years. It was a no-go. Even delaying a week didn’t help. The river stayed at flood stage, so we were forced to seek out an alternate trip on Lake Marion.
So, we decided to try again in August. The second Saturday came, and the waters were still high, but no so much as to make the trip impossible. I got up early and drove on down to the meeting point at Givhens Ferry State Park. Two new guys, Jim and Dan Hill, were there waiting for me. Soon the rest of the guys showed up. We redistributed boats, then drove up to our put-in at Mars Old Field Landing. Ultimately, there were nine of us on this trip – a good number. John Nelson turned on his charm and drafted a young lady to take our group photo. Continue reading “The Beer Commercial Float”
OK, my apologies to Charleston Magazine. I had complained that they didn’t credit my photo when they used the photo in their January issue of the magazine. It turns out, they did. The credit was actually in the fold of the page. It was tiny, tiny, tiny, and I certainly missed it until my sister-in-law … Continue reading Charleston Magazine – A Retraction and Apology
May the waters of the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto flow over you and bless you…
I’ve mentioned before how our Lowcountry Unfiltered core group tends to consist of guys with names of the disciples. On this latest trip to the Edisto River we noticed other religious aspects. While not a defined liturgy, we do have our own order of service, dictated by the nature of the paddling venue. There is The Gathering then The Launch. Instead of wine and wafers we take communion with beer and brats, and our preferred method of baptism is via rope swing. What happens in between tends to be more free-form Charismatic than Episcopal, with a touch of Calvinism thrown in for good measure. Continue reading “Getting Religion on the Edisto”
Not only was it a second Saturday and time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered kayak trip, but this month we were set to repeat one of our legendary treks – running the Edisto River from Mars Old Field Landing to Messervy Landing. We’ve come to refer to this as our “beer commercial” trip. It’s always a trip with rope swings, lazy river paddling, home brewed beer, and lots of wildlife.
However, we wouldn’t be alone on the river. According to the Edisto Floaters Facebook page, this was also supposed to be the day for their “Megafloat”. From the description, it was supposed to be bank-to-bank inner tubes. Part of the discussion on their page was that singles should wear a red shirt to advertise their availability. Sounded like things could get very interesting on the river. Continue reading “Rainy Paddle on the Edisto River”
This trip was supposed to have been last week. The second Saturday of the month is when our Lowcountry Unfiltered group normally hits the trail. However, an event last weekend involving most of our group caused us to postpone the trip. That freed me up to participate in the Tame the Tyger Race last weekend.
So, this weekend rolled around, and our group headed down to the Edisto River. This time we were headed to a new stretch that ended just shy of the ACE Basin. We were going to do a thirteen mile stretch from Martin’s Landing to West Bank Landing through the historic district of Jacksonboro.
I loaded up the boat and gear Thursday night and headed down as far as St. George after work Friday. The weather wasn’t looking promising, but I decided to take the chance. When I got up Saturday to head down to the river a thick fog covered the area. However, it looked like it was going to burn off later. Driving through this historic area I wanted to just stop and photograph everything, but knew I’d need to get on down to our rendezvous at the take-out. I drove on through Jacksonboro, and turned at the old Wesley United Methodist Church onto Hope Plantation Lane.
The Edisto River has become home base for Lowcountry Unfiltered (or, at least, it runs a close second to the Savannah.) We try to paddle it at least twice, sometimes three times a year. Each section has its own characteristics. The stretch from Mars Old Field to Givhen’s Ferry is the “party stretch”, with float bubbas, rope swings, and who knows what else. The stretch we paddled Saturday has wildlife of a more traditional type. From Stokes Bridge to Mars Old Field one encounters one of the more remote parts of the river, with very few houses lining the banks. This particular trip we saw lots of wildlife, from osprey to herons and egrets to enormous carp trying to jump into our boats.
Our group was smaller than usual, only 10 paddlers, but we also had some new faces. I’ve known Marc Epting for years as Flickr photographer Marc50. Marc takes some great photos around his hometown of Columbia and the Midlands, but I was attracted to his photos because he uses the same camera I do – an aging Nikon D50. We also had a couple more newbies from the lowcountry join us. I hauled down two spare boats to accommodate the crowds.
Second Saturday of the month, and once again LowCountry Unfiltered is back on the Edisto. This time we did the section from Stokes Bridge down to Mars Old Field Landing. We had done this one once before, so we were covering somewhat familiar ground. This was by far the largest group we’ve had, with fifteen kayaks on the water.
It had rain most of Friday night. Saturday’s forecast called for a 50% chance of rain. I picked up Bob Donnan and we headed south in the early hours of the morning, with fog followed by cloudy skies once the sun came up. The clouds stayed with us for most of the day.
There was a slight delay as Bob and I went to the take-out instead of the put-in, but soon we rendezvoused with the rest of the group and got launched. Before we even got underway we had one spill, the first of three for the day.
It was a second Saturday, which can only mean one thing – another outing with the guys from Lowcountry Unfiltered. This time our target was once again the Edisto River. This was to be our “beer commercial” float, full of rope swings, mayhem, and general goofing off. And, that pretty much sums up the day.
For this trip we were doing a familiar stretch. The plan was to put in at Mars Old Field Landing, but this time we would paddle past Givhens Ferry State Park and take out at Messervy Landing, adding another three miles to our trek.
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: Continue reading “Edistoing Perfection”