Edisto River - South Carolina

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Edisto River - South Carolina

Postby debbie on Sat May 08, 2010 6:33 am

Just returned from my very first canoe trip and I am totally addicted ! My friend did all of the paddling on the first day but with his guidance and paddling instructions, I managed to take control of the canoe for 10 miles on the second day and fell totally in love. The Edisto is the longest, free-flowing, blackwater river in North America. It is a beautiful river with a relatively strong current that keeps you moving in the right direction but also throws challenges at you as there are numerous downed trees along the way. I have been told that these are technically "strainers" but their roots are on shore.

There are sandbars along the banks of this river for resting, snacking, swimming (look for tree ropes along the way) and taking care of business. There are no portage points. As for wildlife, we saw egrets, herons, turtles (galore), a lynx, and alligators. Water snakes, including water moccasins are also in the area, as well as the great anhinga (large, fish-eating bird that swims with only it's head above water) but we didn't see any of these.

Our canoe trip was run by Carolina Heritage (http://www.canoesc.com/) and was perfectly organized and executed. We canoed for 13 miles the first day and stayed overnight in a treehouse that was well equipped with gas (for the grill, countertop cooker, and heater) and water. The second day was another 12 miles to Carolina Heritage where we dropped the canoe and life vests and hopped in the car headed for a walk in the "swamp gardens" of nearby Colleton State Park. Sean is the man in charge of the treehouses (there are 3) and he does an excellent job of instructing boaters on safety, the river, and the sights along the way.

I should mention that we had this river all to ourselves (how sweet is that !). There are plentiful drop points but only a few outfitters. We did see a few fishermen in rowboats and on the banks, but other than that, it was just us and nature.

I highly recommend the Edisto for canoeing and kayaking. We stayed at the Givhans Ferry State Park which is also on the Edisto. The cabins (there are 5) are clean, well-appointed, and have screened porches overlooking the river. The cabins are inexpensive ($50/nt) and so is the canoeing ($30/day or $100 with treehouse). The treehouse is an opportunity of a lifetime that you really should not miss. State and National parks are plentiful in South Carolina, as is WATER !! When you're not on the river you can tour marshlands and swim in the Atlantic (the water was surprisingly warm and the waves are a blast). We flew in and out of Savannah which was perfect because we spent the last few hours of our trip touring this historic city and there is PLENTY to see !

My first canoe trip, on the Edisto .. PERFECTION !!!
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Re: Edisto River - South Carolina

Postby rich on Sat May 08, 2010 10:50 pm

Debbie, congratulations on your first canoeing trip and welcome to the very addictive paddle sports world.

Many thanks for your great trip report, sounds like an absolutely awesome paddle. I went to the site you listed and those tree houses look great, I'm sure my family would love to try them out.

I'm guessing you are eager to start canoeing around here - if you haven't already found them you'll want to check out the Prairie State Canoeists club at some point. They have multiple trips every weekend and a lot of experienced paddlers to help you out with anything related to canoeing (and kayaking).

Here is a list of their trips:

Let me know if you have any questions about anything (places to paddle, gear, boat rentals, instruction, etc...).

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