One adventure we stumbled upon that hadn’t crossed my mind at all was to kayak through a Cypress Swamp outside of Charleston. My cousin Nick suggested it, Sara was enthusiastic, and we found ourselves on a half-day kayak through the watery maze of a fraction of the protected wilderness around what used to be Middleton Plantation.
The kayak trips are guided by a naturalist and limited to 2-6 people. As we paddled through the swamp, we were asked to stop periodically to learn about the ecosystem and the relationships between the flora and fauna of the forest. Aside from the occasional jet way overhead, it was easy to forget that we were anywhere near civilization as we maneuvered around trees, lost count of the herons and ibises flying through the trees, and even caught a glimpse of two local (small) gators and a rather large turtle.
At the end of our tour, our guide told us that if we wanted to see bigger gators, we should walk down the property (the kayaking tours are based out of the Inn at Middleton Place) and follow a tractor trail to a large pond. With some trepidation and timid steps through the deeper patches of grass, we made it to the pond and were not disappointed! Not only was it gorgeous, but we saw alligator after alligator and even had one splash in a startling frenzy as we unknowingly walked above it on the bank and sent it diving into the safety of the water. I’m not sure who was more nervous at seeing the other so close, but we all kept our distances and Sara and I made it back with all of our limbs intact.
I can’t believe how many different ways there are to explore this beautiful area. As we head home Tuesday, our time is clearly running out, and there is still so much yet to do! I guess we will just have to come back again soon.
To follow our trail…