Cedar Creek, South Carolina, March 31, 2001
An introduction to the photo album. Jen and I went on a trip with the Palmetto Paddlers to the Cedar Creek in the Congaree Swamp National Monument. The trip was originally supposed to be to the Turkey and Stevens Creeks, but the recent rains had flooded that area more than 15 feet! So the backup plan of the Cedar Creek worked out nicely. We had good weather in the 60s though the water was still chilly. We paddled about 7 miles, from the put-in at Bannister's Bridge to the Cedar Creek Landing.
The put-in filled up quickly, with our group and a large group from North Carolina starting at about the same time. After we got started, Jen and I almost immediately wished we had shorter boats, because the creek was loaded with fallen trees and strainers. It took some time for us to get good at manuevering our longer kayaks through the tight spaces. At one point, Jen took a bath trying to reposition her boat, and shortly thereafter, I went swimming after I got stuck on a fallen tree and turned over. I also found my deck bag is not waterproof, just water resistant. My camera flirted with disaster but turned out OK...a towel also inside my bag had absorbed most of the water.
After a tiring hour and a half of the upper creek, things smoothed out a bit and we were able to dry off and enjoy the trip more. We eventually stopped off for lunch in a nice open area where just about every other paddler had also stopped. It was busy but perfect to relax and eat.
Besides some scattered small birds, snakes were the wildlife attraction of the day. We saw several sunning themselves in the trees and even one swimming at the lunch stop.
After lunch we enjoyed a wide and easy section of Cedar Creek. The only blemish was a short period of rain. In no time at all we were at the take out. Despite the initial difficulties, it was a great trip! Thanks to Steve S. for organizing it.
P.S. Jen's spill early in the trip had punctured her hand with two thorns, and she got an infection from the wound. The fix required a trip to the emergency room and some strong antibiotics, but she's OK now. It turns out that the area of the palm of your hand just below the fingers is a really bad place to get an infection. Next time we will be wearing gloves!