Sunday, April 19, 2009


I spent this weekend with about 25 of my favorite people eatin' pork and paddling in BFE. This was the 3rd iteration of the party, which has previously consisted of a Saturday night oyster roast and potluck dinner at Scott and Lydia's homestead, camping out on their property, and a blackwater paddle on Sunday. These are group photos from each:

The 1st Annual BFE Oyster Roast and South River Paddle

BFE 1.5 Oyster Roast and Lumber River Paddle

BFE 2 Pig Pickin' and South/Black River Paddle

This time a pig was roasted instead of oysters. We had a perfect night for an outdoor party and camping. Temps in the mid 50's. In addition to the pig, we had excellent pickled shrimp, my jalapeno cheesy cornbread muffins, various sides and salads, and a selection of deserts. It was quite a meal. There were some new faces, and some old ones, and we all had drinks and talked story around the bonfire. The highlight was the Naked Virgin Foot Race, which was hilarious but not photo apropos. Aimee and I camped on the edge of Scott's long-leaf pine forest without the rain-fly on the tent and both slept wonderfully. We woke to the rooster's crow and a very persistent whip-poor-will. Scott worked his magic in the kitchen again with made-from-scratch biscuits and homemade sausage, eggs fresh out of the coop in the backyard, a big ol' tub of grits, homemade jams and apple butter, coffee, and macerated strawberries (Lydia deserves some credit for manning the grits). After breakfast we packed everything up and drove to the launch some 45 minutes away.

The river trip:

Another Magic Bus

We paddled section 10 of the South River, which ends on the Black. The put-in is off of Ennis Bridge Rd, and is familiar to me as the take-out from the previous section, which I've paddled twice now. The morning started off a little cool, but comfortable, and warmed up as the day wore on. Water levels were pretty high at 7.5', and this was manifest in the fairly swift current and the swollen look of the river. We were 16 folks on the water, which is a pretty big group, but we managed to hang together fairly well. About halfway in we found a little beach and took a break for lunch. At the end of the South River, the river braided out into swamp and was hard to follow, but we worked our way through and found the Black for the last few miles. All said we were about 5 hours gone and 13.4 miles covered. It's a lovely paddle through cypress forest with high banked and swamp sections, very green and pretty. The highlight for me was a barred owl that Brooke and I saw perched on a branch about 10' off the water. He wasn't the least bothered by our watching him from pretty close range. After snapping some pictures we just sat there staring at each other for several minutes. It was really amazing.

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