To the River

IMG_1503I 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.




IMG_1515We intentionally left the trip plan loose allowing for slack time, camping and taking breaks on sandbars and creek exploration.



IMG_1475I camped on a pristine sandbar while Joan retreated to the trees to escape the wind and hang in her hammock.

IMG_1574Cold morning wind blown fire

IMG_1580Tree tops seizing the morning sun


IMG_1540Early 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.

IMG_1589Like 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.

IMG_0996The 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.


IMG_1602Post portage nutrition

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.


IMG_1562An improvised alcohol stove and pot never worked better or more appreciated…a very needed hot soup for supper.

IMG_1615Next morning we awoke to ice covered kayaks and three more portages within two miles…more hell and it really did freeze over.

IMG_1625We didn’t get this locals name but he’s a regular at this fishing spot on Cedar Creek and the first human we had seen in four days.

IMG_1607Bald Cypress


With the King Snake trail bridge in sight we were both elated…hell was behind usWE WIN!


IMG_1633It’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.

IMG_1632Favorite gear for this trip NRS neoprene Boundary boot and NRS Motion Mamba pogies.

IMG_1634Post trip nutrition, ice cream…nom, nom, nom.


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5 thoughts on “To the River

  1. Don’t know how much I would of loved the ice and muck part….but yeah I would love some kayak camping. Call me next time!

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