Day 037 – Charleston, SC > Givhans Ferry State Park

I was packed up and on the road by 7 am today to beat some of the heat. I had to ride north and west in a big arc back through Francis Marion State Forest on my way south. It’s about 100 miles longer than if I was in a car, but that goes to show the work South Carolina needs to do to make their roads bicycle friendly.

I stopped in at a deli near Cordesville to get some cold drinks and rest my legs a bit. There were three guys eating lunch so I chatted them up for a bit. Raymond (pic) is local to Cordesville and the other two guys work for Santee Cooper, a public utility. One of the guys from Santee Cooper owned land in Jamestown and knew David the fire chief that I met there on Day 32. They all suggested I check out the museum in The Old Santee Canal State Park in Moncks Corner.

The museum was closed, but I went to the interpretive center and learned about the Santee Canal that connected the Santee River to the Cooper River. After completion it was possible to get from Columbia, the capitol of South Carolina to Charleston, thus saving a journey along the Atlantic to get to Charleston Harbor. This was important because riverboats couldn’t navigate the ocean so cargo (rice, cotton and indigo mostly) would have to be transferred twice in order to get it on ships bound for Europe. It’s easy to forget how instrumental waterways were to moving anything heavy around the US before railroads and paved roads came into existence. The canal never did make much money for it’s investors, but it was vital for plantation owners to get their products to market.

The canal connected to the Cooper River through Biggin Creek, the location of the interpretive center. They really did a nice job with the building and the surround paths that wind through parts of the old canal. I got some great pictures of the area. Very different then the flora I’m used to. There were signed about not feeding the alligators, but I didn’t see any. I did see lots of blue and red dragon flies and heard loud croaks of frogs though.

While I was inside there was a huge downpour. I was happy to finally make it to Givhans Ferry State Park because the humidity was high enough to have my swimming on my bicycle again.