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We put in at Whetstone Crossroads at 12 PM on Friday and began our trip. We did not know the flow of the river and if we could paddle to Colleton State Park (19 miles; the first day) so we decided to find a camp site along the river. We paddled under I-95 about 5 pm but did not want to listen to the noise while camping so we paddled on till about 6PM passing Colleton State Park. We found a nice sanding beach and set up camp. There is a Power Plant near by that we could hear the cooling towers and machinery. During our paddle we saw plenty of deer, turkey, wood ducks, and other low country wildlife. The temperature was perfect 70+ degrees.
We were back on the river about 9 am with Saturday’s goal being to make it to Givhans Ferry State Park, where we had a campsite reservation, before the forecasted thunderstorms rolled in. The overcast skies made for a nice paddle until about 2 pm. The skies turn black to the southwest and we began to paddle at a frenzied pace (5-5.5 mph) as we knew that Givhans should be close. A local resident told us that we were right around the corner from the park just as the first LOUD clap of thunder hit. We were in such a hurry that we missed the unmarked canoe & kayak landing of Givhans Ferry State Park. Just as the first wave of showers hit we took shelter under HWY 61 Bridge. After a 30 minute break the showers slacked off and we headed back up stream and found the park. We lugged our gear to the campground, trying not to get in the way of a wedding, and were able to get camp setup before the next downpour.
Later were learned that we were under a tornado warning for most of the afternoon. On Saturday were paddled 22.5 miles and again saw abundant wildlife including a feral piglet getting water.
Sunday morning we packed up our soggy gear, loaded the boats, and headed out about 9:15 for our final 13 miles of paddling. We were a little soar in the shoulder and a lot sore in the rump but we got into a rhythm pretty quickly. We did have a stiff tail wind that did help out.
On Friday, I took a waypoint with my GPS when we parked a vehicle and on Sunday we used this waypoint to navigate to. As we were getting close we noticed the closing distance to the waypoint started to increase and then we saw Hwy. 17 Bridge and realized somehow we missed the take out and for the second day we headed back up stream. Then we saw the entrance to Long Creek and we paddled up the tributary and found the landing about 12:30.
This was a great three day paddle on beautiful river that is constantly changing, keeping us on our toes. I was surprised that there was minimal motorboat and paddling traffic. We hope to extend our trip next year; we are considering putting in on one of the upper fork landings and paddling to St. Helena Sound.
We found that the SC trails map available on the web to be fairly accurate and very useful for two paddlers that had never been on this stretch of the Edisto. I also recommend Paddling South Carolina: A Guide to Palmetto State River Trails by Gene Able & Jack Horan.
I did capture waypoints for each of the public boat ramps and other key area with a Magellan Meridian Platinum:
Whetstone Crossroads (Our Put In Point): N33 10.646 W080 48.167
($2 per boat feet we did leave a vehicle here from Friday to Sunday)
Green Pond Church Landing: N33 06.271 W080 40.281
Canadys Bridge Landing: N33 03.873 W080 36.791
Mas Old Field Landing: N33 03.302 W080 26.960
Givhans Ferry State Park: N33 01.813 W080 23.424
TW Messervy Landing: N33 00.005 W080 24.333
Good Hope Landing: N32 57.973 W080 25.087
Long Creek Landing (Our Take Out Point): N32 56.150 W080 24.185
Distance to this landing from the Edisto will be .23 miles before starting to increase.
(Entrance to Long Creek is directly opposite of large sanding beach)