Little Pee Dee Camping and Trip Report
- When the going gets tough, the tough go camping and canoeing in near freezing weather. There were several tough campers this past weekend at Little Pee Dee State Park and tougher were the ones who paddled both Friday and Saturday. Wayne & Lynda Charles came first on Wednesday, Dec 1 and were there by themselves until the rest showed up on Thursday, Dec 2, which included, Peggy Caddis, Jim & Ann Miller, Mike & Liz Britt, Don (this writer) & Sandy Meece, and Mike & Sherry Jones. For supper that night Sandy and I made tin foil dinners, a ground meat patty, potatoes, onions, and carrots wrapped in tin foil and cooked over the fire. We also had a baked apple cored and loaded with butter and cinnamon wrapped in tin foil. After supper we gathered over at the Charles' camp to sit around the fire. That night the temperature got down around freezing. Everyone except Peggy was in some type of camper with heat, but Peggy with an extension cord had an electric blanket and heater in her tent. The next day, Friday, Dec 3, after breakfast of bacon and a mushroom, onion and cheese omelet we headed off to paddle the Little Pee Dee. The put in was Hwy 301 outside of Dillon, SC. Thanks to Mike for the shuttle we left our cars at the Little Pee Dee Access on Hwy 57 or I think it is now called Dillon County Park Landing. The new Boating Guide to the Little Pee Dee given to us by the park ranger reflected the distance for this trip as 8.75 miles. The put in is easy as it is a boat access with parking as was the takeout. It was cold but really beautiful with the sun shining through the moss covered trees. The trees on the river or across the river had been recently cut within a year making it easy to go through or around. All except the last mile, there was a big tree which you had to get low and make an immediate draw to the right as another tree was in the way. It was at this place that Mike Jones went under the first tree and tried to push on this tree to turn right when he flipped in his kayak. He was finally able to make it out and with help from Wayne and extra clothes from Mike Britt changed on the bank. I was shivering just watching him in the cold frigid water. He had been yawning all the way down the river; this was his wake up call. We made it to the take out without any other problems. Only wildlife seen were ducks and some type of dead animal, either deer or wild pig, bloated under the water. When we got back to camp, George Walker and Chuck Miller had arrived and set up camp; Chuck in his camper and George in a tent, two more tough brave campers. For supper that night Sandy and I had fried rice with shrimp. Everyone except Wayne and Lynda gathered at our camp for the nightly fire and storytelling. Saturday, Dec 4, we got up after anther frigid night, built the fire, and breakfast this day was spam and potatoes with scrambled mushroom and eggs. Mitch Lloyd showed up as did Marshall Thompson who were the only day trippers. We were going to paddle from Dillon County Park Access; the previous day's take out and paddle down to near Carmichael Bridge Heritage Trust Landing near the park, book says, 8.25 miles but I got 7.5 miles on my GPS. Thanks to Mitch for the shuttle as he left his car at the take out along with Mike Britt and we were doing a reverse shuttle. In other words go to the take out and put in and come back later for the cars. Thanks also to Chuck for taking Mitch's, Mike Jones, and George's boat and to Marshall for picking up Mitch and Mike Britt. We headed off down the river with everyone paddling except Sherry Jones who opted to stay in camp. This trip was probably more beautiful than the previous day, with huge cypress trees and moss. However it was not as sunny this day and forecast was for rain. We stopped for lunch at Floyd Dale Bridge landing and after lunch headed on down. We had no portages or pull over on the first half. It was different after lunch. We had two portages, however on one, some people climbed over a tree across the river. We had another portage, this time for everyone. Wildlife seen on this trip was ducks and about five little pigs running through the woods. They were small and still had some color without the fur of feral pigs. They must have escaped from a farm and would not be too long they would start growing hair. We made the takeout without anyone taking a swim. Mitch drove all the drivers back to pick up the cars and at the takeout a few sprinkles of rain came down but soon stopped.
That night Saturday, Dec 4, was a community hors d'ouevres meal and sitting around the fire. It sprinkled rain off and on but not a problem and the meal was a success. Thanks to everyone for contributing. We had little smokies, meatballs, chicken salad in pastry cups, meat and cream cheese roll ups, cheese, meat, and crackers, olives, veggies and dip, and a queso dip with chips, brownies, smoked oysters and more. If I left anything off that someone brought, I apologize. After eating we sat around the fire telling the usual tall tells and lies. The next day, Sunday Dec 5, was move out day and was sunny. Everyone packed up and left in intervals and all and all a successful weekend albeit cold. I have posted some picture in an album called Little Pee Dee Dec 2010. One final note, the Boating Guide to the Little Pee Dee that the Park ranger gave us is really nice and it begins up from Moccasin Bluff which is above I-95 but only goes to Hwy 41 and not all the way down the Little Pee Dee but as it says, it is a Scenic River Water Trail in Dillon County. You can probably get a copy from SC Dept of Natural Resources, 803-734-9100 or at http://www.dnr.sc.gov they also have one for the Lynches River.