Paddling through Mordor

Lake Russell at Mountain View-037

I was in serious need of some hydrotherapy. I’d been in a funk ever since the election. To make matters worse, wildfires in the mountains of North and South Carolina had cast a pall of hazy smoke over everything. I told someone that I guess it was appropriate that the world looks like Mordor now that Trump has been elected. Add to that all of the other anxieties in our family life right now, and it was time to hit the water. I was able to find some solace, but it came at a price. Continue reading “Paddling through Mordor”

Mid-Week Jocassee

Lake Jocassee with Bennie Waddell-113

Bennie Waddell and I have been trying to keep to our paddling schedule, even though we haven’t been able to make it work every week. Regardless of whether or not we can actually paddle that day (sickness, weather, conflict, etc., etc) I think it’s important that it at least be on the schedule. We’re more likely actually to hit the water than simply saying, “Oh we need to do X someday…” Wednesday the stars aligned, and we were both able to take the trip up to Lake Jocassee that we had missed last week. It was an excellent day of paddling. Continue reading “Mid-Week Jocassee”

The West Bank of Jocassee

Lake Jocassee-7

Jocassee can be many things. Beginning paddlers can hang close to the bank and still get to some cool geological features and small waterfalls. Intermediate paddlers and venture further up to Wright Creek Falls and the Thompson River and Whitewater River areas. Experienced paddlers can take longer trips across open water to the Horsepasture and Toxaway arms of the lake. Regardless of the route taken, conditions on the lake can change in an instance, turning a leisurely paddle into a real challenge. That was really born out on my most recent trip to the lake. Continue reading “The West Bank of Jocassee”

The Coves of East Jocassee

Lake Jocassee Kayaking-3

The day was supposed to be hot. I thought the perfect antidote would be a cool mountain lake. So, Thursday morning I headed out early for what I thought would be a quick morning paddle on Lake Jocassee. As usual, I got caught up in the thrill of wanting to see what was just around the next bend, and wound up spending most of the day there. It met all my requirements for a cool lake, and then some. Continue reading “The Coves of East Jocassee”

Kayaking and Coffee

Kayaking Coffee

When I’m down in Florida I like to do at least one sunrise paddling trip. With the weather as iffy as it’s been, I’ve been wavering on when to paddle. I usually get up around 5:00 to walk the dog, and that usually gives me a good idea of conditions. One morning the skies were clear, but weird lightning kept me on-shore. Finally, one morning this week I decided to go for it, despite clouds and a bit of heat lightning. Continue reading “Kayaking and Coffee”

Paddling the May River with Lowcountry Unfiltered

May River Paddling with Lowcountry Unfiltered-98

It’s another Lowcountry Unfiltered Second Saturday, which means paddling with my friends. Last month we traveled up to the Fall Line to paddle Turkey and Stevens Creeks. This month we would be hanging close to home, at least for the majority of our paddlers. We would be paddling the May River, launching from Bluffton. It wasn’t close to home for me, though. I made the four-hour drive down yesterday in time to do some pre-LCU paddling with Tim Brown on the New River. Today’s exploration with the larger group would be quite different. Continue reading “Paddling the May River with Lowcountry Unfiltered”

A River with an Identity Crisis: Paddling Turkey and Stevens Creeks

Turkey and Stevens Creeks-60

Another Second Saturday and time for a Lowcountry Unfiltered adventure. This was actually a cross-over event, with as many participants from the Church of the Double-Bladed Paddle group on Facebook as LCU participants. Granted, two of us were in both groups, but still. The venue was one for the books – Turkey Creek and Stevens Creek in McCormick County turned out to be a waterway with an identity crisis. It didn’t know if it wanted to be Upcountry or Lowcountry. Continue reading “A River with an Identity Crisis: Paddling Turkey and Stevens Creeks”

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”

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