Old Acquaintances

October 31, 2015.  I don’t get out on the Weston Lake Loop Trail until midday, having done a guided walk in the morning for an environmental studies class from USC-Aiken. I am still in the assessment mode for evaluating flood damage. So far I’ve found little change on the Weston Lake Loop Trail. And, as […]

Flooding Aftermath

October 23, 2015.  This is my first real opportunity to walk in the park since the floodwaters of October 4th receded, so I take advantage of it and hike the River Trail. Both the river and Cedar Creek have almost returned to normal levels for this time of year, the former reading six feet while […]

A Piebald

October 15, 2015.  I have never seen the swamp stay flooded for this long, now going on for eleven days. The water at the South Cedar Creek foot bridge is about three feet lower than when I was last here a week ago. I’m paddling Cedar Creek this morning and go as far as Tupelo […]

The Great Flood

October 8, 2015.  The South Carolina Midlands has suffered flooding of Biblical proportions, a catastrophe the likes of which has never been experienced in modern memory.  A rare combination of events created a “perfect storm” of record rainfall: a stalled coastal cold front, along with strategically placed low and high pressure fronts, resulted in a […]

Warbles and Wolves

October 2, 2015.  This has been about the gloomiest fall I can remember. We’ve had nearly two weeks of mostly overcast weather, mixed with rain. This morning the sky is a hundred percent overcast with light sprinkles of wet stuff. From the high boardwalk I watch a squirrel feeding on swamp tupelo fruits on the […]


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 […]