Tag Archive: Paddling

Lost in the Mangroves in the Old Inlet

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Indian River Panorama HDR

So far it had been a great week in Florida. I had gotten out on the kayak for at least one paddling trip each day. In some cases, twice. Doesn’t hurt when you’re staying at a place with a boat ramp right into the Indian River.

This was our last full day in Fort Pierce, and we were going to jam it full of activities. The morning started with a trek out to the Saturday morning Farmers Market in downtown Fort Pierce. We got some vegetables, did some people watching, and Laura was even able to find a cool hat to wear in the Mini Convertible out on the artists section of the market.

Fort Pierce Farmers Market-2
Fort Pierce Farmers Market-3
Fort Pierce Farmers Market-1

When we got back from the market, Laura and Amy headed out for some shopping, and I headed out on the kayak. Most of my treks had been averaging about four miles, and I was determined to get at least one long trip in. (more…)

Gadding about in Florida – Part One

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Indian River Paddling-002

Indian River near Fort Pierce, Florida

We’ve been spending a few days down in Fort Pierce, Florida, at Laura’s sister’s place. Amy had to go away on business, so we cam down to keep her mom company. I brought toys. The Subaru was loaded with more camera and kayak gear than luggage.

Every morning I’ve been getting up and down a short paddling trip before the heat and afternoon thunderstorms hit. I’ve also managed to get in an evening paddle.

I brought the Tsunami because it handles rougher water with ease and is quick enough that I can go some distance. First trip out I headed out to the spoil islands. The morning was clear with a light breeze. The water was relatively flat.

Indian River-003
Indian River-004
Indian River-007 (more…)

Lake Oolenoy and Panoramas

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Lake Oolenoy Panorama HDRish

Lake Oolenoy and Table Rock

Lake Oolenoy is one of my favorite local paddling destinations. It’s relatively close, has great scenery, and is perfect for beginners. Thursday morning I headed up there with two of my favorite professors emeriti from Furman, Jim Leavell and Tony Arrington, and Tony’s son, Caleb, who is a chemistry professor at Wofford.

We met at Tony’s house and headed on up, planning on a quick morning paddle. The sky was slightly overcast, but it was still a great day for paddling. Jim and I were in two of my boats, and Tony and Caleb were in Tony’s tandem.

Lake Oolenoy-2 (more…)

Ogeechee River with Lowcountry Unfiltered

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Ogeechee with LCU-50

Ogeechee River

It’s a Second Saturday, and time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered adventure. This time LCU would be taking on the mighty Ogeechee River south of Savannah, Ga. The Ogeechee is Georgia’s Edisto River. It’s a nearly 300 mile free-flowing blackwater river. The section we would be floating would include cypress swampland, as well as some tidal flow.

Having spent the night nearby, I had plenty of time to get a good breakfast and head over to our rendezvous at the take-out at Kings Ferry Park on Highway 17. I was the first to arrive, and took the opportunity to catch some photos in the morning light.

Ogeechee River with LCU (more…)

Edisto from Whetstone to Greenpond

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Edisto from Whetstone to Greenpond-094

Oxbow Lake on the Edisto River

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. (more…)

The Beer Commercial Float

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Lowcountry Unfiltered on the Edisto

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. (more…)

From Swamp to River to Lake to Creek

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LCU on Lake Marion-071

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.

Flooded Edisto - Mars Old Field

Flooded Edisto – Mars Old Field

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. (more…)

Fourth in Florida

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Indian River Evening-002

Been a busy week. We headed down to Florida to Laura’s sister’s house for the Fourth holiday. The days at Amy’s have been spent on day trips, but mostly paddling out on the Indian River. I have fallen woefully behind on blogging. I’ve got a couple of ghost town reports and other write-ups to finish. Until then, here’s a slide show of what we’ve been doing over the past week or so…

A Week’s Busy Activity

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Supermoon (6 of 7)

I’ve gotten behind on my blogging. It seems that living life is taking more time that the documentation thereof. It’s an ironic consequence of having available time. When I do sit down to write, I tend to fall asleep. So, here goes a bit of catch-up…

Saturday Evening – Super Moon

Saturday’s full moon was a “super moon”. That’s a relatively recent term, meant to generate more interest in astronomy. A super moon occurs when the moon reaches perigee at full moon. Since it’s at its closest point to Earth, it is supposed to appear larger. Of course, this only works if the moon can be placed in context, near the horizon. The lensing effect of the atmosphere automatically makes the moon appear larger.

The trick is to find a good place to take a photo with a clear view of the horizon. I decided to try Bald Rock. I’d had success up there with sunrise shots, why not a moon rise?

I got to the location well before sunset. There were a few other around, but it wasn’t crowded. As I set up my camera and gear a woman nearby asked if I was there for the super moon. I said that I was. Another photographer set up nearby. Soon, others were joining us on the rock.

Supermoon (8 of 8)

The sun was setting behind us, so there wasn’t a good shot of the actual sunset. I did take a few photos of the Piedmont through the evening light. (more…)

Quick Sparkleberry Trip

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Sparkleberry Swamp

We’ve tried to put together trips to Sparkleberry Swamp several times this spring, only to see the plans fall through. This time it was going to happen. Laura was out of town, and Dwight wanted to introduce his son, Adam to the joys of the swamp and the greater world of paddling. So, Sunday morning I loaded up the boats and headed southward.

There’s really no such thing as a “quick” trip to Sparkleberry. Even the shortest of jaunts turn into an all-day adventure just because it’s so far away. Even so, our plan was to keep this a shorter trip since it was Adam’s first time out.

I picked up Dwight and Adam at their house in Columbia, then we continued on the trip. We did a quick stop at Mr. Bunky’s just because they had never been there. The general store has opened a second floor with flea market type items and antiques.

We had one more stop before we could hit the water – breakfast at the legendary Battens in Wedgefield.

Battens

This is the weekend of the infamous Duck Run. If we had been a day earlier, the swamp would have been crawling with hundreds of boats full of mostly drunk revelers. As it was, things were very quiet at Sparkleberry Landing on this particular morning. There were very few other vehicles about. The weather was great, and it looked like a spectacular morning for a paddle. (more…)

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