Friday, May 29, 2009

May 28. Jay Wolfe. My day began in the wee hours of the morning as two owls and two other unknown animals seemed to be talking back and forth around our campsite.

We got off to an early start with granola for breakfast. We were originally only going to go 20 miles today; however, due to the enormous water level, courtesy of Duke Power's dam release, there were absolutely no sandbars to rest on. Everything was flooded out! We barely even had high ground to stop and eat lunch.

Eventually we did find a spot which we thought was a private boat ramp. We stopped for a long break to just relax and catch up on some reading.

After lunch, we soon covered the remaining distance of the 20 miles for the day. Unable to find any decent camping spots due to flooding and severe strainers, we resigned ourselves to a long day of paddling all the way to the take out, a whopping 16 more miles!

Late in the afternoon we reached the confluence of the Wateree and Congaree Rivers! As the Wateree River and Congaree River merge into the Santee River, our Wateree River Trail ended with it. We made the whole trail against all the odds: flooding, sleep deprivation, poison ivy, sunburn, heat rash, crazy amounts of huge bugs and a very sketchy amount of wading through a near waist deep flood plain.

The day was not over yet, though. We paddled two more miles down to an isolated, unused boat ramp deep in the bowels of the swamp. As we paddled through, my imagination ran wild thinking about all the different swamp creatures that could pop up any second and attach us. Thankfully, all we found was tons of fire ant mounds at the ramp area. The paddling part of the day finally ended with a total distance fo 35 miles.

The last challenge of the day involved cooking and setting up camp in the midst of a fierce battle with horseflies, mosquitoes, and fire ants. The group prevailed and now here I sit, safely in my tent writing this blog.

Sometimes the longest and more challenging days are the most fulfilling. Now it's time to enjoy the peace of the night as I drift off to sleep with the sweet noise of crickets and frogs singing in the night.


  1. Jay,
    This is a beautiful are descriptive and I can imagine the owls, you know sometimes I hear that one in our woods. It sounds like the 35 miles were an exciting adventure. Rob graduated tonight....bittersweet for sure and we missed you. Wish we could attend the end of the trip celebration but as you know school will still be in and I will be giving exams. We can't wait to see you...happy, MOM

  2. You created a vivid picture of the day-- and quite a challenging one it was! Good job! Congratulations to everyone. The trip is almost over!