Monday, April 9, 2012

Landsford Canal State Park, S.C.

The Landsford Canal, located in the Lansford State Park, just outside of Lancaster, in South Carolina, is about an hour south of our house. After having eaten the requisite amount of chocolate to fulfill our annual obligations to the Chocolate God, we were left with nothing much to do on a beautiful Easter Sunday. So, we did what we usually do; hopped in the car and headed out. Sue had a desire to see the old Landsford Canal, and, as I had no real objection, having a love of old canals myself, we set forth.

It was everything it was purported to be; historic, idyllic, inspiring and also there were turtles everywhere! On the rocks midstream, and all along the banks, were turtles, some small, some large, sunning themselves. Absolutely oblivious; or perhaps somewhat immune to the presence of humans; they lay all about.

The Catawba River, at that point, is choked off into rapids by the fallen, aged trees which block the normal gentle, and somewhat smooth flow of the river. In the early portion of the 19th century, the Catawba was a main inland commercial route, used for shipping cotton and tobacco from up north, as well as to bring goods back up river from the ports in Charleston, and also Norfolk. But the rapids were a problem, often the cause of financial loss, as well as the toll it took in human lives.

Still, it is an idyllic place. There is something in the air which makes you feel younger, and more vital. Here I am trying to walk out on this limb over the water; it looks simple, but to tell the truth, it was not that easy coming back! And to boot, Sue went much further than I did! But, in spite of some limited mobility, I still insist on climbing things that I know will do me absolutely no good. Oh well, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, so I'll take the aches.

Sometime around 1810, the canal was hand dug to by-pass the rapids. The dirt was loaded into carts and used in creating the embankments for the locks, which raised, or lowered, accordingly, the barges which traversed the canal. The canal was also a safer way to navigate the river during times of flooding, allowing the bargemen to have more control over their movements.

It's a beautiful area, also known for its annual explosion of water lilies, which usually occurs in May. Judging by the mild weather and early spring, it may happen sooner, rather than later. At any rate, we will be back for that event. The lilies are said to spread from bank to bank on the Catawba, and is one of the few places in the world where this happens.

For more on this beautiful place to spend an afternoon, visit their site at;

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