September 28, 2015.  I believe the word that best fits the mood of the swamp this morning is somber; some may even call it gloomy. The sky is 100% overcast, and the trees are dripping with moisture from all the rain we’ve had the past week – over six inches at my home in Columbia. […]

Camping at Boggy Gut

September 15, 2015.  A pre-fall cool front came through central South Carolina this past weekend, bringing with it northeast winds, lower humidities, and cooler temperatures – in other words, perfect camping weather.  I only hike in a relatively short distance before setting up camp near the south side of Cedar Creek, close to the junction […]

A New Park Acquisition

September 10, 2015.  This morning I’m checking out a new park acquisition (as of August, 2015) on the west side of the causeway at US 601, historically known as Smith Fork Swamp. This 263-acre parcel is like a peninsula that juts out into the Congaree River which borders it on the south and west, while […]

Lost Species

September 2, 2015.  It’s been two weeks since my last visit to the park, interrupted by a backpacking trip to the high Sierras and giant sequoias of California. On the ride down this morning I see the roadsides gleaming with white sprays of autumn clematis, Clematis terniflora. This non-native has been a favorite of gardeners […]

Gators at Little Buckhead

August 19, 2015.  I hear through the ornithological grapevine that a large number of wading birds, including wood storks and even a roseate spoonbill, are foraging in the drying sloughs on the east side of the US 601 causeway. When I get there this Wednesday morning, however, I find not a single bird. I decide […]

Hammock Camping

August 13-14, 2015.  A front has brought in an east wind to the Midlands. The humid weather has lifted a little (although that’s a relative term for August in South Carolina), and nightly lows for the next few days are forecast to be in the upper 60s. All in all, it sounds like pretty fair […]

Zebras, Spiders, and an Interesting Vine

August 7, 2015.  We had two-and-a-half inches of badly-needed rain yesterday afternoon at my house in Columbia, but it’s obvious not a drop fell here at the park, only fifteen miles away. It reaffirms that summer rainfall in South Carolina is local. Since my last visit five days ago, I see that the squirrels have […]

Possum on the Half Shell

August 2, 2015.  I decide on another night visit to the park to take advantage of a day-after full moon. Unfortunately, it does not rise until 9:15 and has still not cleared the trees by the time I leave the park thirty minutes after midnight. I start out on the high boardwalk. A light rain […]

Moonrise at Dawson’s

July 30, 2015.  Moonrise this evening is 7:45, one day shy of being full, and I decide on a moonlight paddle on Cedar Creek. When I arrive at the landing at 8:45 the katydids have already started singing, and a few cicadas are still calling at the end of the day shift. Cedar Creek is […]

Good To Be Back

July 27, 2015.  It has been six weeks since my last visit to the swamp, time occupied by a detour to Maritime Canada, where I was sleeping under two or three blankets at night and wearing a fleece pullover in the morning. The swamp is so different from Canada that I may as well have […]