Kayaking on Bates Old River

On Sunday, with the weather finally warming up a bit, Sara and I decided to take her new kayak out.  We chose Bates Old River in Congaree National Park for the maiden voyage. 

Bates Old River is actually an ox-bow lake formed when a large flood in 1852 cut through the area known as Buck Head Neck and formed a new channel for the Congaree River.  Over time the ends of the old channel filled in with sediment leaving it only partially connected to the river. 

In addition to its geomorphic history this area also has an interesting human history.  Our put in off of highway 601 at the upper end of the "river" is believed to be the general site of McCords Ferry, one of the earliest river ferries in the region, operating as early as the the mid 1700's.

The area around Bates Old River, know as the Bates Fork and Riverstone tracts were acquired by the national park between 2005 and 2009. 

Bates Old River is a great flatwater paddle that doesn't require shuttling vehicles (since there is little current you can easily paddle down and back).  The area is a popular fishing and birding location and the various side channels make for great exploring, especially at higher water.  It is also rather common to spot alligators here in warmer months (we didn't see any this trip).

Take a look at some more photos from the trip on our Facebook Page.