Monday, July 22, 2013

The Trials And Triumphs Of A Lowcountry Walkabout

Sunday, I went on a Lowcountry walkabout. The day began with plans of fishing at Bulow Landing. A friend told me about the place and shared stories of the fish he caught there. The ideal time is two hours before high tide and two hours after. I packed a couple of sandwiches, a drink, got in my truck and headed to Bees Ferry Rd and Savannah Blvd where I searched for shrimp. After trying to locate a bait place, I ended up purchasing a half-pound at the Publix off of Savannah Blvd.

Bulow Landing is a paved boat ramp on Rantowles Creek, also popular with paddlers. When I arrived, the tide was already heading out. The ideal time was missed. Despite this set back, I decided to make the most of it. I baited my hook and tossed it into the fast moving current. It moved swiftly up the creek, making it necessary for me to reel it back. I tossed it in a second time. On this attempt, it got hung up on an oyster bed. My only option was to break the line. In the process, my rod tip broke off. In this short span of time, things were not exactly working out for the best. I rebaited and tossed it in again. It started to rain. After a few more casts and somewhat wet, I packed it in and headed out back onto Savannah Blvd.

I recalled seeing a sign pointing the way to Kiawah, Seabrook and Beachwalker Park while searching for bait earlier. It was at that moment I decided to turn at recalled sign onto Main Rd and follow the gray snack to wherever it would take me.

The spotty rains had passed for the moment and the sun was shining. The first notable landmark I ventured onto was the Limehouse Bridge over the Stono River. I was tempted to make the turn to Limehouse Landing located just below the bridge to try my luck again, but I resisted and pressed on.

Main Rd became State Rd, which ended at a traffic circle where Kiawah Island Pkwy led to Beachwalker Dr and the beach access. To my dismay, parking was $8, but I made a deal with the person at the parking booth and was able to park for free. I told her I would only be there a 1/2 hour at most. From the parking area, the view of Kiawah River was beautiful. The wooden walkway to the beach was picturesque. The beach was spacious, and this should be of no surprise, excellent for beachwalking, but I wasn't there to beachwalk. I stuck my feet in the water and took pictures. On the way off the beach, I stepped on some nasty beach prickers while trying to get one more good shot of the river. Ouch. I exited with a wave of thanks to the booth attendant. Next stop, Freshfields Village.

The Village is an eclectic island oasis of shops and restaurants located at the crossroads of Kiawah, Seabrook and Johns Island. There are 500 large trees, including over 200 palm trees adorning its streets and landscape. All of the trees were transplanted from the Coastal Islands. It has a man-made lagoon stocked with two alligators considered village "mascots". At present, The Andell Inn is under construction and slated to open early 2014. The hotel will have 100 rooms starting at $250 a night. I just might consider a stay during its grand opening.

Driving back from Kiawah, cruising in and out of the broadening shadows of the old live oaks lining the road, I made a quick stop at Angel Oak. While I was taking pictures, a young man standing nearby in awe of the sprawling tree summed it up when he said, "I have never seen anything like it." Angel Oak looks like a giant octopus covering 17,200 square feet of real estate and from tip to tip its longest branch is 187 ft. At 500 yrs young, it has survived hurricanes, civil war and everything else the Lowcountry has been able to throw at it.

On the road again, I finally did make the turn to Limehouse Landing. I fished with an watchful eye on the horizon. Dark clouds relentlessly moved in from the southwest with lightning and the threat of heavy rains. No luck fishing. It was 5:30 pm. It was the end to my triumphant Lowcountry walkabout.

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