Tuesday, April 15. 2008
I've been getting a little more kayaking in lately, mostly to new places. In February I paddled the South Fork Edisto River. In March I went on my first whitewater trip to the Lower Green in North Carolina. My 14.5' boat managed the Class II rapids and I stayed dry, but plenty of that was luck. Last week I did a jaunt along the Lake Greenwood shoreline and found Black Crowned Night Herons living in an inlet near my neighborhood. This past Saturday I paddled the Enoree River. It started with an hour of steady rain, but ended with quite pleasant weather. It's good to get out on the water!
Tuesday, December 18. 2007
my photo on paddling.net, welcome! Click here to see a larger version.
Some other links that might interest you:
Sunday, December 31. 2006
February 2005, when the water was at about the same level. The weather wasn't as nice as the last time; it was in the low to mid 50s, but the low sun, steep shady banks, and chilly breeze made it seem colder at times. We put in from some slippery, muddy steps near the Key Bridge and were underway at about 10:45am.
Of all the places I've paddled in South Carolina, I think the Turkey Creek is about my favorite paddling spot. It's fairly close to home, has interesting geology and trees, and plenty of wildlife. I think the fact that it's only occasionally paddleable helps to protect its resources.
It wasn't long before we scared up several beavers. They would slip down the muddy banks and disappear in the water. I would scan the area for half a minute, but they didn't resurface. Brian happened upon a swamp rabbit in a rocky nook beside the creek. I didn't realize that they are a different species of rabbit, but they are. Wikipedia has a good writeup on them including an interesting bit of Presidential trivia. Fauna for the rest of the trip included more beavers, a buck deer, and a couple turtles.
We had just passed some small rapids and were chatting when all of the sudden a strange current caught my stern and started turning my boat perpendicular to the current. The kayak quickly began to try to roll downstream. Fortunately I was able to brace with my paddle and get back upright just in time. I'd like to think some of that was the result of several years' paddling experience, but it was probably also a lot of luck. At any rate I avoided a cold bath! We later realized that neither of us had carried a bilge pump, which I almost always have on the water.
We spotted the takeout and the Highway 23 bridge around 2:20pm and hauled our kayaks up the slippery steps and took the short trail (long when carrying a boat!) back to the parking area. It was a fun ride and a special piece of water.
There is so much beauty in these creeks that is hard to photograph while you're moving at four miles per hour. I hope to take advantage of the normal low water level sometime and slog around with my better camera gear. But definitely not until it warms up!
See the full photo album.
Everyone have a happy new year!
Tuesday, October 10. 2006
Three times! It takes forever for me to write a blog entry anymore, so I'm just lumping some trips together.
Two weeks ago I went with the Palmetto Paddlers to camp and kayak the French Broad River near Asheville. It was a very rainy experience. Friday the 24th, I carpooled with Brian O., and we stopped off for cookies at the Wildflour Bakery in Saluda before heading up to Brevard. Several club members camped at the Davidson River Campground. On Saturday, more paddlers met up with us at the put in on the river. Many of us thought it was odd to see a river flowing north, not south or east like a typical South Carolina river. But the French Broad is on the other side of the Eastern Continental Divide, and flows over to Tennessee. The paddle trip was OK, but I'm not much for urban paddling, as there was a lot of highway noise along that stretch. The views of the Biltmore were fleeting, but we did see it. After the paddle, several of us visited the Compleat Naturalist, a little nature store in Asheville that has the most comprehensive field guide selection I've seen. That night we had dinner at the Twin Dragons in Brevard, an insanely large buffet of Chinese, Mexican, and other stuff. Sunday a few of us took a detour to the new DuPont State Forest to see three waterfalls. Brian and I took the scenic route back to SC, and stopped at Caesar's Head State Park. We had wanted to see the migrating hawks and the view, but had to settle for a sheet of white cloud, as the park was fogbound. We also stopped in Ware Shoals, doing a little prospecting for a paddle trip on the Saluda River there. Here's the official club trip report.
The next weekend we went with good friends to the area near Boone, North Carolina. It's the first I've been there, and it takes a long time to get there. But the rented cabin was beautiful and worth the ride. Saturday we took the kids to the Tweetsie Railroad and let them have fun. Sunday we drove part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and took in the views. The fall colors were just beginning to get underway, and I'm sure they'll be much better about now, but the parkway will probably be that much busier too.
In the middle of last week I took my son for a short mountain camping trip. We sort of picked Oconoee State Park at random. It's a decent park, tucked up in the mountains near the upper-left corner of the state. It was expensive to camp; for some reason they charged me a reservation fee for a walk-up, and there's 10% tax charged too. We had a section of the campground nearly all to ourselves, and it was pleasantly quiet. The following day we took a trip up to Whitewater Falls, which straddles the NC/SC border. We stopped at the upper falls. The fall colors were just thinking about appearing there. I've been there three times, and a weekday morning is a good time to go there and avoid the crowds. Sometime I'd like to get down to the lower falls but I haven't had the time for it yet.
I think I've had enough mountains for now; I need some beach time!
Tuesday, August 29. 2006
paddling.net photo of the week. See more of my pictures from the Canadian Rockies.
A long time ago I got this photo from Lake Jocassee and this one from the Sparkleberry Swamp picked for photos of the week.
Wednesday, May 3. 2006
Sunday, April 23. 2006
While discussing options for a new kayaking "expedition," my paddling buddy Brian told me about this website: Canoe Camping Top 40. I didn't count to make sure there are forty listings, but there are a lot, and each comes with a good description of the river, the camping, and has links to books, outfitters, water gauges, and more.
I've only paddled on the Edisto and Suwannee from their list; I guess I have a lot more to try! Currently we're looking at maybe doing the Green in Kentucky or the Buffalo in Arkansas.
Unfortunately their website is an AOL-member site, and can be pretty slow. Someone get these guys a webhost!
Friday, August 26. 2005
Last Saturday I joined the Palmetto Paddlers for an evening trip out to Bomb Island on Lake Murray. This island, also known as Lunch Island or Doolittle Island, is summer home to many thousands of purple martins. The island got its name because it was a practice target for World War II pilots.
We kept out of the way of the boat traffic as best we could. We paddled to a nearby island and into a shallow gap. From there we could see Bomb Island across a large patch of open water. There was still plenty of daylight so it was an easy crossing.
A few powerboats lingered in the vicinity of Bomb Island, many being used as swimming platforms to beat the heat. We circled counterclockwise around. A few boaters had stopped for a picnic on the western side, which isnít closed off. We eventually ended up just off the eastern end. Signs on this side of the island proclaimed the roost and asked people to keep out. The water here was shallow enough to get out of the kayaks, and many of us jumped in to swim and cool off.
As the sky grew darker, we got back into our paddle-craft and circled to the north shore of the island. This side was loaded with a flotilla of powerboats, and it really offered a better view of the birds than the eastern end. Here you could see hundreds of birds at the waterís edge, getting a drink or playing in the mud of the sharply eroded shoreline.
crepuscular rays? We sat for a while and debated the best time to make the crossing back to the landing. Start before the powerboats or wait for them to leave? We ended up waiting for many of them to leave.
The members of our group had a diverse group of kayak/canoe lighting methods. A few others and myself had headlamps, others had elaborate marine lighting attached with suction cups, and others had blinking red LEDs. As we paddled back, it became apparent that the more lights, the better, as several powerboaters crisscrossed the lake, churning up the water. One idiot in a noisy "muscle" boat doubled his speed after he noticed our group.
We probably should have kept our paddle group tighter as we returned, but we fortunately all made it back without incident, with stories to tell about the birds of Bomb Island.
Update 2005-09-01: The club trip report.
Wednesday, April 27. 2005
South Carolina's governor, Mark Sanford, is going to paddle the Sparkleberry Swamp this weekend. This area is the proposed site of a controversial bridge which will connect the tiny towns of Lone Star and Rimini. The trip is open to anyone who wants to join in.
I can't go on the trip, but I agree with the governor that the Sparkleberry Swamp is a poor place to put a bridge. I've paddled this beautiful area twice, in December 2001 and January 2003. The Palmetto Paddlers go there frequently.
Sunday, April 10. 2005
Click here to check it out!
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