Thursday, November 18, 2010

Where I've Been For the Last Few Days

Just another southern blackwater river flowing through a swamp with owls, turkeys, otters, and near as we can figure it, a bear. 

This is the Black River near Kingstree, SC. We were stopped at one of the bridges over it and looking at our maps to figure out where we should put in, when a guy in a pickup stopped on the road and rolled down his window. That is either a good sign or a bad sign on trips like this. Mr. Kirby wanted to know if we would like him to open the gate so we could get closer to the river. "I just close it 'cause some people trash it out so bad," he told us. I know exactly what you mean. Mr. Kirby.

The beavers were apparently mad at us for camping in their dining hall the first night. It sounded like they were throwing refrigerators into the water for most of the first half of the night. I've never encountered that kind of sustained tail slapping. Usually it's one big "pow-ka-thunk" and they are gone.

We misread the guide book, which turns out to be somewhat suspect anyway, and set our shuttle vehicle 8 miles closer than we intended but we still covered about 30 miles in three days and two nights, a pretty laid back trip for us.

More pictures later.

The canoe I used is called a Sojourn. It's a solo touring boat that is the perfect choice for this kind of paddling  with a load of gear. I've had it for ten years and finally got it out on a trip worthy of its style.

Yeah, well...You put up tarp lines your way and we'll put up tarp lines our way. We did scare the rain off and an 80% chance of thunder storms turned into a ten minute shower under the lunch tarp. We don't usually take ultralight trips. All of us have done that and now prefer to camp in style with fine dining and appropriate spirits. This trip was sponsored by LaPhroig Scotch, a 23 year old rum, and some other delicacies. I think we should write the culinary guide to canoeing in the South.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. It appears that you know how to canoe!!!

  3. I've been known to paddle a canoe or kayak on several continents around the globe. Haven't made it to Antarctica or Australia, or Africa, yet, but I'm working on it.

  4. I've taken the liberty to loosely translate your blog entry and post a few of your fine photographs on my own blog about the Richelieu River.

    We've just had our first real snowfall, the days are getting shorter, and we're in a middle of a fight against shale gas drilling and fracking (I'm not swearing - look it up!).

    Your nice pictures, wonderful countryside and the beautiful Black River are a feast for sore eyes!

  5. Unfortunately I am very aware of fracking, which is slang for explosively fracturing the underground geological rock structure surrounding a well. It essentially means that a well can never be plugged after it goes dry and that the acidity and oil residues can now seep between layers and destroy ground water quality. We have had homes explode because of gas intrusion into their water wells. Fracking is suspected.

    Keep fighting.