The four-mile paddle from Bolan Hall Landing to the Edgar Glenn Boat Ramp on the Chechessee River is only a 15-minute ride from Bluffton and very accessible. Take Highway 462 north toward Ridgeland and take a right onto Bolan Hall Road. A brown sign directs you to the landing. The Edgar Glenn Boat Ramp is on Lemon Island off S.C. 170 between Bluffton and Beaufort. Both landings are open dawn to dusk, and parking is free. It is recommended that you put in on an outgoing tide and be familiar with the channels and waterways for successful navigation. If you are interested in kayaking at night or for other unique experiences like the dawn paddle, several local outfitters can arrange for tours including very rewarding "moonlight paddles" and other times when dolphins and Lowcountry wildlife may be best viewed.
THE PORT ROYAL SOUND FOUNDATION AND MARITIME CENTER
You have driven past it a thousand times: a tired-looking building of tin and woo d that still perches on the edge of the marsh on the Chechessee River. The old Lemon Island Marina once saw use on the business end of the Lowcountry and has fallen into disuse over the years. Now there are plans to revitalize this unique place to form a marine science center to offer a museum and interpretive center for the ecosystem that surrounds it.
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The tide quietly gurgled through marsh grass, soundling like the feeding of a tiny baby. My paddle dipped into the black water with the feeling of turning of a page in a good book. Startled ducks exploded into the air from the mouth of a creek and a fish rolled carelessly in the main channel. Above it all the fire-bright sherbet-orange blaze of the sun cracked the gray stillness of sunrise.
A new Lowcountry day had begun, and there was no better place to enjoy it than in a kayak on the water.
A new year has begun and, like a crisp dawn on the river, it is filled with promise and possibility. This space is dedicated to discovering and enjoying the unique landscape and outdoor offerings of Bluffton and the surrounding area. Whether you are a native or a new arrival you cannot help but be taken in by the beauty of the land. Getting out into it is the challenge. The creeks, swamps and beaches that we cross in our cars to and from work or view from well-trod pathways hold an allure that can seem unreachable to all but the most dedicated and seasoned adventurers. Fortunately for us the town, county and state -- along with focused nonprofit groups and landowners make much of the Lowcountry available to you -- if you take the effort to get out there into it.
From pocket parks to wildlife refuges to open land trusts, Bluffton is truly blessed to have so much of this wild world to enjoy so close to home.
This chilly dawn as our kayaks slid through the near-darkness of a new day, I could not help but think of the opportunity that was being presented and all at a minimal cost of simply being there.
A group of friends and I had put in at Bolan Hall Landing and entered the stillness of pre-dawn Euhaw Creek. We rode the outgoing tide into the Chechessee River, threading our way past piney hammocks and acre upon acre of marsh.
As the sun rose and a milky fog loosened its grip on the wet spartina grass and popping beds of oysters, we landed at the Edgar Glenn Boat Ramp. As we headed off to find a hot breakfast, we could not help but feel how lucky we are to be in such a place as this where nature and adventure meet.
This is the call of the New Year, to get out and explore the world outside our front door -- one park and one creek at a time.