The weather Sunday was beautiful, albeit a bit brisk. We decided that we needed to get out of the house for a bit, so Laura, her mother, and I hopped in the car for a drive and a picnic. We started by driving up scenic Highway 11 past Table Rock, then on up toward Lake … Continue reading Bad Creek Views
The original plan for today was to paddle Sparkleberry Swamp at the upper end of Lake Marion. However, one of our fellow paddlers fell ill, and he was the one who had suggested the trip. While Sparkleberry would have been great, we used this as an excuse to stay a bit closer home, so Alan and I headed back up to Lake Jocassee.
The weather was not cooperating. I loaded the kayaks into the truck in a light sprinkling of rain, which increased to a downpour just after I got them tied in. It didn’t help that I found a bird’s nest in one of my boats. This is especially weird since I had used that same kayak just two weeks ago. This nest was complete, with broken eggs. Those birds must have been busy. Since the nest looked abandoned and broken I didn’t mind removing it.
It rained on us just a bit more as we drove up to Jocasee, but by the time we got there the rain had ended. There were clouds and fog, but it looked like we would be OK weather-wise.
The weekend didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned. I had a meeting in Columbia on Friday, so Thursday night I loaded up the boat on top of my car. The plan was to drive down for the meeting, then continue southward to Lake Marion and Sparkleberry Swamp. Unfortunately, our cat Percy decided to get his paw hurt, so I had to drive back from my meeting earlier than expected to get him to the vet. He’s OK – just a small cut and possible sprain, but nothing broken.
I really didn’t want to drive back down I-26 again, but I still had the kayak on top of the car and still wanted to go paddling somewhere. All of my paddling partners were otherwise occupied, so I was on my own. I finally decided on Lake Jocassee as a reasonable target.
Last time I was here I had just gotten my Old Town Dirigo, and was wanting to see as many waterfalls as I could. This time I had the Pungo, but wasn’t really sure where I wanted to paddle. There was one waterfall from the last trip that I didn’t get to see because some bozo parked a pontoon boat right in front of it and showed no signs of moving. I decided to make that my first target. From there I wasn’t sure where I’d wind up.
The air temperatures were OK, but the water was quite chilly as I unloaded the boat and got set to head out. There was a little activity at the boat ramp, but nowhere near as much as my last visit. A boy and his son were taking a canoe out, and one pontoon boat launched. Another trio was spending lots of time fussing over a tandem rec boat. I talked with them, and one man and his brother were planning to paddle the entire length of the Savannah River, but not all at once. On today’s trip they were heading up to the North Carolina River. I hated to tell them that they weren’t on the Savannah, and wouldn’t be for quite awhile. However, I’m sure they knew that.
I really wanted to get out on my new boat. With the entire day available for paddling, I decided to head up to Lake Jocassee. I had paddled Jocassee many times, but our excursions were always rather limited. I was stoked to get out on a boat that could actually get me somewhere and see parts of the lake I had not seen before. This turned into a review of a paddling destination as much as a review of the new boat.
It seems that I’m always starting off in a fog. That’s been more physical than metaphysical lately, with a foggy start to last week’s Edisto trip, and now with fog blanketing the Upstate. Most of it had burned off by the time I arrived at the upper boat ramp at Devil’s Fork State Park. Continue reading “Jocassee – Paddler’s Paradise”