River of the Carolinas

This week, drought and high August temperatures pushed my chance to paddle to the sea from the upcountry back into the planning stages. I’d planned to leave this week my borrowed boat from a put-in at Cliffside, N.C., and arrive 14 days later in the Santee delta. But checking the Broad River gauge on the internet told me in no uncertain terms that the river’s flow is down to one...

Summer River Scouting Trips

The heat and drought did in my epic summer paddle to the sea, and I decided to put it off until next May. In spite of low water and 100-degree days I was able to get in three river trips and an overnight before school started. On the first day out of town Steve Patton and I paddled through Columbia on the Broad and Congaree rivers. The water was low, but I wanted to check out that shallow, rocky...

River of Relations

Last Monday I drove with my friend Steve Patton 30 minutes up into North Carolina to the mill town of Cliffside. One of my eight great-grandparents, John Simeon Bradley, was born a couple of miles upstream near Henrietta, but what’s more, it’s where I’ve decided that I’ll put in August 7th for my 200-mile mostly solo paddle to the sea. The Second Broad River crosses...

Consider the Rocky-Shoals Spider Lilies

On Memorial Day weekend we bypassed the motor boats and the barbeque and packed a picnic river lunch. We drove an hour and a half to Landsford Canal State Park on the Catawba River near Chester to finally see the famous Rocky-Shoals Spider Lilies in full bloom. I say finally because seeing the spider lilies blooming is something that’s been on our outdoor “to do” list for...

The $35 Million River

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said you can’t step in the same river twice. It’s taken 2500 years, but the folks up at Charlotte’s U.S. Whitewater Training Center are trying to prove him wrong. This non-profit outdoor adventure park with a mile-long 12-million gallon recirculating river at its center is only an hour up I-85, and I’ve heard the hype. I’ve wanted to...

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