Sunday, May 20, 2007

Landsford Canal

Landsford Canal State Park (South Carolina)

Taken along the Catawba River.

After a twelve-hour shift on Saturday, my wife and I (along with a couple of hiking/kayaking pals) drove to nearby Landsford Canal State Park. Our main goal was to paddle our canoe along the Catawba River to see the vast expanses of Spider lilies that grow in the rocky shoals protected within the borders of the park, and to see the historic site of the old canal and lock system that allowed barges to bypass those same shoals in Colonial and post-Colonial days.

The rocky shoals just before the Spider lily habitat.

The highlight of the trip was, indeed, the huge expanses of Spider lilies blooming under a clear Carolina sky, but we also managed to see river otters, gar, various turtles, herons, red-winged blackbirds, and about two dozen or more water snakes.

The vast expanse of Spider lilies.

We got a very early start on our trip, arriving at the park at opening at 9:00 am. This was a good move, as the annual Spider lily Festival was today, so the park filled to capacity while we were on the river. The water level was a bit low, which made maneuvering a canoe a bit dicey over the rocky shoals. But we had a good time exploring the river and viewing the lilies.

Well worth the canoe trip to snap this shot.

By the time I got home, unloaded and stored the canoe and cleaned up, the physical activities of the past two days caught up with me and I collapsed to my mattress to spend the next few hours in quite a deep and restful sleep. I ain't young enough to keep going at those kinds of levels and shrug it off. So much for biking the nearby greenway I'd planned for later in the day.

Snakes abound in this park.

I highly recommend a visit to the Landsford Canal State Park if you're interested in pre-Colonial engineering or American history. In addition, of course, to just viewing a slice of nature in the Carolina Piedmont area.

Red-winged blackbird.

Part of the old canal and lock system that bypassed the rocky shoals. (Based on a sixteenth century design.)

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