Another second Saturday and it was time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered trip. It was also time to get back on the water. While our group loves any kind of exploration, from swamp stomping to biking, our preferred form of travel has always been water.
We bounced several ideas for the March trip back and forth. Finally, we settled on our old standby, the Edisto River. We would be doing a new stretch (for us) from Whetstone Landing down to Greenpond Landing. The route would be about 13.6 miles. Continue reading “Edisto from Whetstone to Greenpond”
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”
We have a tradition of looking for a good barbecue place after our paddling trips. This was no different. Our target for this outing was Lone Star Barbecue and Mercantile. However, this was a two-fer – lots of good food and a chance to explore one of South Carolina’s ghost towns.
Lone Star, the Ghost Town
It started with a bit of miscommunication. The rest of the guys had never been to the town of Lone Star, and thought that the barbecue place was in the town proper. So, once we loaded up the boats, they set off, with me following, toward the town. What they found was the ghost town that I knew. All that is left of Lone Star is the old freight depot, moved from its original location, the large brick Masonic building, and two dilapidated stores. Across the tracks was a small convenience store that may or may not have been open. No barbecue anywhere in sight.
This year’s weird weather has wreaked havoc with our normal paddling schedule. The second Saturday of July was supposed to be our infamous Beer Commercial paddle on the Edisto River, AKA the Rope Swing Extravaganza, AKA “Hey, Ya’ll! Watch this!” Yet, even the daredevil nature of Lowcountry Unfiltered had to bend to the forces of nature, as the Edisto swelled from its banks with the excess rain. On our way back from Florida we stopped by the put-in, and found it completely flooded.
The situation did not improve over the week, so come second Saturday we decided to postpone the trip for a week to see if matters improved. They did not. So, with water levels cresting at nearly 14 feet, 4 feet over flood stage, we needed to find a new paddling venue. It seemed that a lake might be better than a river, so we looked to our favorite location, Lake Marion. Continue reading “From Swamp to River to Lake to Creek”
So far our crew from Lowcountry Unfiltered had breakfast at Battens in Wedgefield, visited the cemetery of a deranged governor, hiked part of the Palmetto trail and discovered an old railroad junction, and we were just getting started.
Manchester and Melrose
We got back to our vehicles and headed to the location of the ghost town of Manchester. The town died out with the demise of the Wilmington and Manchester railroad. All that remains are a few rural houses. We paused briefly, and left in search of a more interesting section of Manchester.
Nearby is a marking indicating the location of Melrose Plantation. Built in the late 1700s, the plantation was owned by Matthew Singleton, whose cemetery we had visited earlier in the day. We stopped at the marker and took a look around. There were a few foundation stones, and the twisted remains of a metal bed. Unfortunately the bed appeared to be more of modern than pre-Civil War origin.
We had loaded up with breakfast at Battens in Wedgefield, and now it was time to go exploring. There were eleven us, divided over three vehicles. Luckily, I had three FRS radios so we could coordinate our travels. So, we set off.
We got off the main highway, and as we entered Manchester State Forest the pavement just kind of gave out. We road on a fairly fast clip, past forested areas and farmland, most of it with “Posted. No Tresspassing” signs.
It sounds like a collegiate soccer game. We had about enough people with us to field a team. However, in truth it was Lowcountry Unfiltered’s Second Saturday outing. This being January, it was time for our annual Swamp Stomp, and we were off to tackle a section of the Wateree Passage of the Palmetto Trail through Manchester State Park.
Our outing would take us through ghost towns, cemeteries, and the site of Civil War destruction at the hands of Colonel Edward Potter. This was truly and epic outing, and the only way to do it justice is to break it into sections, so consider this Part 1.
Keith met me at the house far too early for a Saturday. Along the way down we picked up Alan and Dwight, so I had a car full. The Upstate would be well-represented on this trip.
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”
A second Saturday in May, and time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered trip. This time our group was heading back to Sparkleberry Swamp, and we had perfect weather and water levels for it. Unfortunately, because there was perfect weather, many of our group had other places to be. So, only four brave souls ventured further into the swamp than we’ve ever been. It was a nearly perfect day in the swamp. (Have I said the word “perfect” enough?)
I got up early Saturday morning and made the drive down to the Sparkleberry Landing put-in. Initially I had the place to myself, with only a few boat trailers. As I unloaded the boats I brought, a couple of guys came up to me and asked about kayaking. Continue reading “Sparkleberry Perfection”