A Journey down the Congaree River Blue Trail

In November I got to take an amazing trip down 47 miles of the Congaree River Blue Trail.  I was joined on this trip by former Congaree Riverkeeper Stuart Greeter, southeastern director of American Rivers Gerrit Jobsis, and river enthusiast Philoma Skipper.  We spent four days and three nights paddling the river and camping on sandbars.  While the temperatures were a bit chilly, and some nights were a bit rainy, the trip was extraordinary.  The scenery, from the leaves changing colors, to big trees of Congaree National park, to the bluffs rising over the river, was truly breathtaking.  The wildlife we saw, which included more than a dozen bald eagles, a large group of wild turkeys, and feral hogs to name a few, was remarkable.  The river abounds with not just wildlife, but history as well.  The journey we took down river was not much different than the journeys people in our region have been taking for hundreds of years, when the rivers served as the main transportation corridors.  Along the way we saw sunken wooden barges that were used to transport goods, collected a few artifacts and camped on sandbars that had at some point likely been occupied by native Americans, early explorers, traders and soldiers at some point. In addition to the scenery, the wildlife and the history, I have to say our campfire dinners were quite impressive too.  Stuart and Philoma’s lamb chops and Gerrit’s Italian sausages with sautéed peppers and onions certainly put my mac and cheese to shame.  This trip gave me an opportunity to disconnect from the demands of daily life and reconnect with the wilderness and the river, but it also allowed me to accomplish a personal goal.  As a result of this trip I can now say that I have paddled every mile of the 90 mile Congaree Riverkeeper jurisdiction.  The Congaree River Blue Trail is an amazing, though somewhat challenging, recreational asset in our region.  I encourage anyone who has the desire, and the time, to experience it.

Here's a short video I made...

And you can view some pictures from the trip here.

For more information about the Congaree River Blue Trail visit this website:http://congareeriverbluetrail.blogspot.com