Find your paddle

Message From The Director

This year the SC7 organization spent time in four of our parks and on the river that will be the focus of one of our newest parks.  They hiked at Oconee, Jones Gap and Table Rock sharing the experience with others and highlighting some incredible resources.  They visited Musgrove Mill and walked the Battlefield Trail where they learned more about the significant role our state played in the revolutionary war. Finally, they floated along a stretch of the Black River, enjoying the beauty of the river that will be the focal point of a new park.  Here I got to join the group.

As we have planned for this park over the past couple of years, I have been fortunate to spend some time exploring the Black River. It is a world class resource, worthy of protection and promotion, and spending time paddling with this group only confirmed that assessment. As our group, which included people who had never been on the river and some who had never kayaked, navigated the river, we were transported to a different world.  As we meandered through a section known as the narrows, it was easy to imagine that we were a million miles away from the hustle and bustle. Floating in this place, only thirty minutes from the Georgetown waterfront, felt like an escape, a journey to a primitive and inaccessible place, where we could fully enjoy nature and each other’s company.

This river, like few others, will make an impact on you.  Floating or paddling in places like this, places where it is easy to forget man's impact, can help wash away the challenges and stress of your daily life.  Conversations on the river, tend to turn toward the idealistic and encourage journeys into the imagination of what it must have been like hundreds of years ago, when native populations thrived in these places. When floating with others, you will share stories of your favorite wildlife encounter, an exciting outdoor experience or bucket list dreams.  Gently maneuvering through the cypress knees, it is somehow natural to weave in and out of lighthearted and serious conversations with ease.  Connections to people and to the natural world seem to come more readily and run a little deeper.  Before you leave the river, this place will impact you and you will take a part of it with you when you leave.  It is special.

In our world today, finding places to connect with each other is hard. You may spend time over dinner at your favorite restaurant or around the kitchen table, at a movie or even in the comfort of your home, but distractions abound.  The urge to do, or to be connected, the need to find out or follow up with others means our conversations turn towards the practical. How was your day, can you pick up this kid tomorrow for soccer, when are you going out of town again and so much more. Our lives and the navigation of them gets in the way of the connection we all crave.

So, before this summer is over, I encourage you to seek out your special places.  Whether it is a float in an innertube or a hike up a mountain, sitting on the beach or fishing trip in your secret spot.  Find a way to navigate to that place and share it with someone special, that place where conversations flow easily and the world slips away.  Find your paddle.