Paddling the Congaree Swamp

Canoeing the Congaree Swamp

Early Saturday morning a small group of us gathered to paddle Cedar Creek, located in the Congaree Swamp National Park. Instead of kayaks, we decided that would take this trip in canoes. It turned out to be one of the longest paddling trips I’ve taken, covering about 6 miles of swamp, then paddling back.

The issue of which boat to take was only resolved at the last minute. I knew Dwight was bringing his canoe. Whether or not I brought my kayak, or lugged my old battleship 15′ Coleman canoe depended on how many people decided to go. In the end, it was the Coleman, so I loaded it into the back of my pickup with about as much hanging off the tailgate as was actually in the bed of the truck.

Alan Russell and I met James Martin (who had joined us on our last flooded Congaree hike), Dwight Moffitt, and his friend Peter at the put in on South Cedar Creek Road. Dwight and Peter would be in one boat, Alan and I would be in mine, and James had his kayak. The plan was to paddle downstream a bit, then head back. According to Dwight this would take us through some of the more remote parks of the swamp, and away from the crowded boardwalks. Dwight assured us that paddling back upstream wouldn’t be a problem. Yeah, right. Continue reading “Paddling the Congaree Swamp”

Kayaking and Caves in Lucayan National Park

For our last full day in the Bahamas I had booked a kayaking tour and trip to the Lucayan National Park. Laura had been fighting a bad cough all week and didn’t feel like going, so I was on my own. After watching another stunning Bahamian sunrise, I began gathering my gear and headed down to meet the group.

I was the only one from our resort going on the tour, but there were nine others that had already been picked up, and we stopped for four more on the way out. Along with our guide, we had a party of fifteen. Continue reading “Kayaking and Caves in Lucayan National Park”

Oh Blackwater, Keep On Rolling…

John N paddles downstream

Saturday morning I got up at 4:00 am, loaded the kayak into the truck and headed south once more to the Edisto River. Last month we had originally planned to kayak the entire 20.3 mile stretch from Colleton State Park to Givhan’s Ferry State Park. We wound up breaking the trip into sections, running only the portion from Mars Old Field to Givhan’s Ferry last time. This time we were going to do the section from Colleton State Park to Stokes Bridge Landing – 8 miles, about the same length as our last trip.

This time there were seven in our group. Matt, John N., Rob D., and Chris J. returned. James B. couldn’t make it, but we were joined by John R. and his son Kevin. Matt’s dog, Cotton rounded out our entourage. We unloaded all the boats, then ran a shuttle down to Stokes Bridge.

As we got underway we observed a huge group of canoes and kayaks getting started on the opposite bank. This was a mixed group of all ages. As they passed I noticed several unusual seating arrangements. Several of the canoes had a man in the back paddling, and a woman up front just along for the ride – no paddle in hand whatsoever. Strange. Continue reading “Oh Blackwater, Keep On Rolling…”

Paddling Lake Fairfield

I had been paddling on Lake Cunningham twice in as many weeks, so I decided it was time to give our little backyard lake another try. Large snapping turtles and burrowing water rodents had made a mess of our bank, so I really don’t have a good canoe/kayak launch anymore. Also, the siltation has gotten … Continue reading Paddling Lake Fairfield

Paddling Resume’

Tom Kayak OOB

In case you haven’t noticed, I love to paddle. My preference is for moving water, but a nice flatwater paddle on a river or lake can be fun, too. I started this obsession when I was about fifteen, running the Enoree River with my high school buddies in an army surplus inflatable raft that had more patches than original material. College years were more adventurous trips in large whitewater rafts, or lazy floats in inner tubes. When I started teaching I could afford a cheap Coleman canoe (which I still have), and now I paddle a Perception Torrent sit-in-top whitewater kayak. This being said, I have now put together my paddling resume’ in Google Earth KMZ format. Continue reading “Paddling Resume’”