by Ralph Earhart


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Ralph Did It Again!
We were headed south for a week of relief from the unusually cold weather which had settled into Central Ohio and was chilling our bones. I contacted Ralph and Todd and let them know when we were going to be in the Charleston area and we wanted to paddle!!!

Ralph got right on it and originally the trip was scheduled for Thursday, but predicted rain pushed our plans to Friday. It was a cool, but bright blue morning. We picked up Sophia on Kiawah and headed down to Jacksonborough where we met Ralph and Todd and also Lindsay and Robin who drove over from Edisto. We were headed to Chessey Creek in the ACE Basin, which Ralph told us is his favorite wintertime trip.

This trip is a loop, so we didn't have to worry about a shuttle, just unloaded and took off. It was exciting for me right from the start, because I was paddling my new boat for the first time, which I had just purchased on Wednesday.

We paddled out from Prices Bridge Landing into the Creek we were surrounded by huge oaks reaching out over the water and over our heads. With the beautiful skies and the bright sunshine, it was an absolutely wonderful way to start our trip. The trees thinned out and we were paddling through the old rice fields. Lindsay identified the occasional bird for us. It was a quiet, peaceful morning. We took out at Chessey Creek Landing for lunch. As we were talking, Todd and Ralph indicated there would be surprises after lunch, but wouldn't tell us what.

Soon after we got back on the water, we turned off into a much narrower canal. Oh, my gosh, did the scenery change!!! We paddled into an area that was heavily populated with tiny cabins or mobile homes. Everyone had a deck/dock with a cleaning sink, some had screened in areas, some were very Spartan, and others were quite elaborate with their décor. Some were making political statements that couldn't be made in the city. We paddled along, taking in the Confederate flags, Virgin Mary statues and the urinal, which was fastened to a tree and had flowers overflowing. Dogs were barking and running to the edge of their lots, not taking that last jump into the water.

On the other side of the canal we were passing the "Goat Inn" and suddenly a pig ran by! Not a goat in sight and I don't care what they told me, that pig certainly looked wild!!! We finally found the goats (they weren't anywhere near the Goat Inn) and they stood munching and staring at us. Suddenly more pigs ran by! They were wild, and crazy too!!! Hair sticking out all over.

We passed several people enjoying their hide-a-ways and decorating for Christmas. Now I know what to do with all those CD's that AOL sends me; disco balls run amuck!!! They were hanging from the trees and the shelters over the decks; some were just strung together and were twisting and turning in the breeze.

We got back to the put-in, having gained a whole new insight to life in the Lowcountry. Ralph did it again, planned a great trip and we had a wonderful day, full of learning experiences! Thanks, Ralph!

By the way, this trip is on Page 12, Trip 4 in Ralph's book.

Ralph Earhart  |  1591 Holton Place  |  Charleston, SC 29407