North Edisto Blueway
For canoes and long boats.
The Blueway has several sections which are very similar. The further upstream you paddle, the narrower the river tends to be. The river here is fairly narrow, with lots of strainers to dodge and fast turns to make, requiring an advanced beginner to intermediate proficiency in boat handling. There is little time for drifting aimlessly on the Blueway. Though not difficult, this is not generally a beginner stretch. Depending on water level, the current can be can be quite anywhere from mild to strong, but always to be reckoned with! Running this section will definitely increase your boat handling skills! We Normally stop for a picnic along the way, and swimming from the white sandbars is a possibility. The north Edisto is very different from the lower Edisto. Very primitive and remote, with little evidence of human contact. In every stretch of the Blueway, my GPS shows a bit longer distance than the map indicates.
Above Poole's Mill
This stretch has not been included in the Blueway. It is runable, but has not been cleared, so is very strenuous and has many obstructions and pullovers. Not for the weak of heart.
Poole's Mill to Jones Bridge
One of the shorter stretches along the Blueway. This 3.4 mile section is a beautiful stretch of narrow winding river with little evidence of human involvement. This section is rather strenuous and involves a lot of fast turns, with many strainers and low hanging branches. Lots of evidence of beaver on the trees is seen. This is a good stretch to try if you are not sure of the effort required to make the longer Carson's Park to Slab Landing portion.
This is also not a beginner stretch of the river, and requires relatively good boat handling skills. If you are using a kayak, you should be comfortable making carved (leaning) turns, cross-river ferrying, and wet exits. Canoeists should be comfortable making rapid turns across current, an be able to accelerate quickly in a turn to avoid strainers. No single turn is difficult, but when they come one after another, the positioning of the boat is more critical when leaving one turn to be able to set up for the next, and the next...etc.
Carson's Park to Slab Landing, Near North SC.
Carson's Park - Large parking area, well observed from the road. paved with gravel. Ramp is concrete and well maintained. Check before backing up! Those few trees in the middle of the can ruin a rear bumper's day!
Slab Landing - Large open parking area, paved with Gravel and can be seen well from the road. One picnic table under roof. The takeout ramp is concrete, but narrow, so kayaks have to put in singly. There is a wooden deck overlook to the south of the landing.
A leisurely trip of about 3 hours "boat in motion" time from Carson's Park (Hwy 321) to Slab Landing (SR 73). Many places to stop for lunch. The Blueway map says 5.8 miles, but my GPS consistently shows it about a mile longer). Lots of twists and turns require a decent amount of boat handling skill. This is not a beginner stretch. At low water, several limbo trees to sneak under, while at higher levels these become pullovers or portages.
The section above Carson's park (Jones Bridge to Carson's Park) is similar in difficulty and attractions, but is only 3.4 miles long. Before tackling this section, you may wish to try that section and make sure it is not too strenuous.
Beaver, deer, birds, alligator, are all known to be in the area. The April 2002 trip showed me more butterflies than I have ever seen on this stretch!
As mentioned, lots of turns, coupled with low foliage and river current make boat handling skills essential. Lots of strainers and fast turns requiring frequent stops and backing/ferrying ability useful. Leave enough room between your boat and the one ahead so you can maneuver when they stop abruptly.