I met my friend Joan of Rambling Hemlock and fellow Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador and headed off to meet the water of the Congaree River in South Carolina.
Early on I realized I had stupidly over looked getting my cook kit out of the duffel used for transporting gear from home and truck to the river and kayak, once I realized I didn’t have it I began looking for cans for stove and pot fashioning and soon found exactly what I needed.
Like most paddlers we went with the river flow taking advantage of the current for 40-ish miles until we reached the mouth of Cedar Creek where we paddled up stream 7-miles. Paddling against a slow current in touring kayaks should have been an easy task, what followed was some of the hardest physical work I’ve ever experienced. Nine portages in 7-miles would follow, each requiring a different approach as to how to get around, over or under the fallen and the on going battle with South Carolina swamp muck.
The first portage was relatively easy, rather than unloading all the gear we slipped the boats under. The next wasn’t as easy resulting in carving out footsteps in the creek bank, unloading gear, hauling, reloading…repeat, repeat, repeat.
When we reached the sixth portage for this day and only 5-miles of creek behind us I was exhausted and tired of unloading, hauling, loading, mud, muck, slick creek banks and tripping over cypress knees. Not knowing how many portages may lie ahead I made the decision to call it a day… I had had enough of hell for one day. We camped in the cold and very damp swamp, lucky for me there was a high spot for tenting.
With the King Snake trail bridge in sight we were both elated…hell was behind us…WE WIN!
It’s been a few days…I’m now laughing as I reflect back on a trip that started as an easy go with the flow turned hell…type three fun I suppose. Don’t think I would want this kind of fun often, but it sure makes for grand stories.