a flooded cypress swamp

2.20.24 ~ Colleton State Park, Walterboro, South Carolina

On our way home from Georgia we stopped to stretch our legs at a state park in South Carolina. The nature trail we walked on followed a cypress swamp alongside the Edisto River. This river is the longest free-flowing blackwater river in North America and on this day it was flooding over into the swamp.

part of the boardwalk was submerged

A blackwater river is a type of river with a slow-moving channel flowing through forested swamps or wetlands. Most major blackwater rivers are in the Amazon Basin and the Southern United States.
~ Wikipedia

part of the boardwalk
some of the water came very close to the trail

When we talk of flood control, we usually think of dams and deeper river channels, to impound the waters or hurry their run-off. Yet neither is the ultimate solution, simply because floods are caused by the flow of water downhill. If the hills are wooded, that flow is checked. If there is a swamp at the foot of the hills, the swamp sponges up most of the excess water, restores some of it to the underground water supply and feeds the remainder slowly into the streams. Strip the hills, drain the boglands, and you create flood conditions inevitably. Yet that is what we have been doing for years.
~ Hal Borland
(Sundial of the Seasons)

This magical rest stop helped so much to break up the long journey home. The walk was a only a third of a mile, a perfect finale to a wonderful getaway. And it was so good to get home to North Carolina a few hours later.

29 thoughts on “a flooded cypress swamp”

  1. Swamps are so mysterious. I once visited the lower Suwanee in northern FL when it was flooding and all I could think of was how easy it would be to get lost out there and all the alligators and water moccasins… I got kind of got creeped out as you can imagine!

    1. I looked up the Suwanee River you mentioned and learned that it is also a blackwater river. It starts in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia; the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is another mysterious place we visited back in 2012. We got some amazing pictures, and yes, all those alligators so close to our skiff was unsettling!

    1. It made me wonder what other beautiful natural wonders we zoom past and miss as we zip down interstate highways on our way from one place to another…

    1. So true, swamps of all kinds are mysteriously and uniquely beautiful. We had a cedar swamp in the woods behind our house when we were growing up.

    1. We were looking forward to walking out on that boardwalk spur but nature had other ideas for us that day.

  2. What a whirlwind of a getaway Barbara! I read all your posts as you sent them this week.

    I’ve been dealing with health issues and wasn’t able to comment. I’m okay now.

    Today I read them all again. Looked up a map on google so I could follow you better. I also noticed today that the posts were not in chronological order.

    You two, and then four, did some heavy mileage in a very short period of time!

    This cypress swamp where you stretched your legs is a bit scary for me. I’m feeling like an alligator might peek up at any moment. My heart is racing from my thoughts!

    1. It sure was a whirlwind trip, TD! I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better, I was hoping it was nothing serious. Sorry to confuse you with the lack of chronological order — I was kind of scattered in the research I was doing to organize the pictures and my thoughts about them. Lucky for us our son loves to drive and seemed to be enjoying carting his parents all over the place. 🙂 I wondered about alligators in the cypress swamp but didn’t see a one. Not sure if I was disappointed or relieved. 😉

      1. Oh I was dealing with medication change and panic to find a new healthcare provider. Have an appointment Monday with a new organization.

        I can understand that it must have been wild in your mind organizing such an action package of wonderful sights you saw. I really loved reading about it all!

        1. I do hope things go well with your new provider. It’s so frustrating dealing with medical logistics these days. I’m really missing the old-fashioned doctor I used to have in Connecticut, although I’m really pleased with my new optometrist. So glad you enjoyed my vacation, TD! I’m still savoring the memories.

          1. The new health care provider was good. I tried to find an old fashioned doctor, but those practices have seemed to disappeared. I was worried because this health organization has 3 Doctors but none taking new patients. So I decided to try a physician assistant, a women only 3 years experience out of college and she is so very young! I like her. She’s smart, kind, patient with me, really listened, and understood my situation. The place is less than 5 minutes from home, clean, organized and efficient. I’m happy with the change!!

          2. Oh, I forgot. I wanted to tell you that I was laying on my bed looking out the window. I couldn’t believe what I saw. A woodpecker landed on my hummingbird feeder. It was quite confused! And once I realized what I was really seeing, it made me laugh so hard!!! 🤣 Thought you might get a kick out of the thoughts of that visual…

          3. 🤣 I can picture it! You have to wonder what it made of the contraption it encountered in its world!

          4. I’m so happy for you finding a kind and patient PA — I really like some of the ones I’ve had. They seem to have more time than the doctors these days. I hope I can find an acceptable one soon. At least you don’t have to worry about a young one retiring, which is what happened with my favorite old-fashioned doctor in 2022. Sigh…

  3. Beautiful but eerie with the trees in the swamp water. A fellow blogger lives in Tennessee and often photographs Cypress trees in the swamp and after seeing them every time she posts, I told her I am amazed the cypress trees continue to live after having “wet feet” for long periods of time. You have certainly captured their beauty here Barbara.

    1. Thank you, Linda. It was an eerie kind of beauty, very mysterious. I found myself wondering what it looks like when the river isn’t flooding it. Wetlands fascinate me, being a unique zone between a body of water and dry land. This one is probably classified as a freshwater swamp forest, with very nutrient rich soil from the river’s frequent flooding. Even though the water looked still we did see an occasional leaf floating by on the surface, so there must have been some kind of current.

      1. Very interesting. I know Rebecca showed some photos of the cypress trees during an ice storm and I was amazed they were not destroyed afterward. So resilient!

        1. That must have been quite a sight! I would think ice storms are pretty rare where swamp cypress trees grow.

          1. Seems like it’s not as rare as I might have thought. It probably happens as often as it freezes in Florida and damages the citrus crop.

          2. Oh, that’s too bad … with our strange weather lately, I hope we don’t lose a lot of these trees. It is bad enough with wildfires.

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