It wasn’t the day I expected, but it wasn’t a bad day at all. I was expecting it to be a cloudy, stormy day, and I had lined up a long list of indoor chores. So, when we awoke to beautiful sunshine, the last thing I wanted to do was hang about inside.
The question was, what to do? I remembered an article I that Petapixel had posted to Twitter about the photography of Darren Moore. Darren uses a neutral density filter to create long exposure photographs even in bright sunlight. His photos of the UK coastline are surreal and haunting.
It seems like it has been ages since I’ve been out on the water. When Alan suggested a quick paddling trip for today, I jumped at the chance. His daughter, Caitlin, and her boyfriend, Ben, were in town while Furman is on fall break, so we were looking for a quick trip somewhere close by. Saluda Lake fit that bill nicely.
There are two public access points for Saluda Lake. Saluda Landing is on the Greenville side, and is a privately owned boat ramp and marina. On the Pickens side there is a relatively new public park. The last time we were there, Saluda Landing charged us $3 per boat to launch, whereas the Pickens park charged $3 per car parking fee. So, the question was, is it worth $6 for the convenience to Furman and a launch closer to where we wanted to paddle? We decided it was, and agreed to meet at Saluda Landing. However…
With the long weekend I felt the need to hit the water. The challenge was to find a paddling venue that was relatively close, doable without killing the entire day, and not over-run by Memorial Day crowds. We found the perfect location on the Saluda River, below the Lake Greenwood Dam.
Our plans were for an 8-mile stretch of the river from Buzzards Roost at Highway 34 to the Highway 39 bridge at Chappells. I was a bit concerned about river access. I knew there was parking and river access at Buzzard’s Roost, but I couldn’t find any info about Chappells. All my resources indicated that it would be a throw-in, at best. Fortunately, Dave was able to do some advanced scouting, and concluded that it would be a challenge, but doable. We decided to go for it.
Dave, Alan, and I rendezvoused at Alan’s house early Monday morning and we headed on down. Our first stop was at the take-out at Chappells. A steep, rutted dirt road lead down to the river, and it looked like there was adequate parking, assuming one had four-wheel drive and could get down the initial hill. The bank down to the river did look steep, but not insurmountable. We decided to put all of the kayaks in my truck and leave Dave’s Land Rover at the take-out.
The shuttle for the trip was only about 3 miles. While the road goes east-west, the river takes a deep dip southward. Before we knew it we had arrived at the Highway 34 bridge and the area known as Buzzards Roost. The dam forming Lake Greenwood was completed in 1940 and was referred to as the Buzzards Roost Project. The name has been around much longer than the lake, but I haven’t been able to find any history on it. Continue reading “From Buzzards Roost to Chappells”
My father’s history with boats has been…interesting. Despite having served in the Navy during WWII, the boats he seemed to wind up with during later adulthood were quirky, at best. There was the time we went fishing and I wound up with battery acid eating through all of the life vests, as well as the jeans I was wearing. We didn’t catch anything. There was the time the passenger seat snapped loose, at speed. We didn’t catch anything that trip, either.
But what would life be like without these adventures, and the tall tales that they inspire? Some of my fondest memories are of exploring the north end of Lake Greenwood and the rivers that feed it. We took one boat far up the Reedy River, and another boat far up the Saluda. On one of these trips we watched a bobcat jump into the river and swim alongside the boat, terrified that it might take a notion to jump into the boat.
Saturday I was able to replicate one of those trips, this time from the relative safety of a kayak. I joined the Greenville Canoe and Kayak Meetup for a trip from Souls Harbor on Lake Greenwood up the Saluda River. Although there were no bobcats this time, it was still a 14 mile adventure. Continue reading “Paddling Lake Greenwood from Souls Harbor”
The weather forecast was for unseasonably warm weather with clear skies – perfect weather for paddling. My friend Tim Taylor joined me, and we headed for a new paddling venue. This time we were headed to Piedmont, SC, and to the Saluda River.
Tim and I loaded up the boats and drove on down to Piedmont. The town is a mill village with a dam on the Saluda River. It’s possible to put in above the dam and paddle upstream against the slight current, then return. Most of the trek is lake-like flat water paddling.
The put-in was a rather steep dirt road that led down to a public river access. The road was rough, and I wouldn’t recommend it for nice cars. Unfortunately, the area was very trashy. There was the detritus that normally washes down rivers, but it looked like people had been using the area as a dumping ground. Both the river and especially the mud at the put-in absolutely stunk. I was starting to have second thoughts about this trip. Continue reading “The Saluda at Piedmont”