Day Trip: Cypress Swamp Tour

     Living in such a beautiful area, going outside and having memorable adventures is such a necessity for your time at Coastal Carolina. It’s a little hard to work on finding the best adventures with so much to choose from, so lucky for you, I’ve documented my experience with my eco-writing class this summer as we went to Black River Outdoors on their Cypress Swamp Tour below. It’s definitely one of the top hits in the Myrtle Beach area and worth the trip.

     The day began with a nice cool breeze and bumpy van ride but was soon transformed into a hot afternoon with a smooth kayak ride through a black river. When our class arrived at Cox Ferry, we were greeted by a goofy guide with shoulder-length brown hair and a big brown hat on top of it. He instructed us to sign a waiver so that if we were eaten by an alligator, we couldn’t sue him. Needless to say--I was slightly concerned. 

    Of course I knew before my arrival that I was going kayaking in Cox Ferry. However, I hadn’t quite considered all the logistics and details including life larger than my own and life with the ability to harm mine. Deep waters, alligators, snakes, and creepy bugs were all thoughts on my mind as I put my first foot into the kayak where our guide had just been passing a snake around for petting. I am a person terrified of much wildlife and as this was my first time kayaking, I was rather uneasy as I pushed off of the shore and into the deep, black water. 

    Although I was uncomfortable at first, the water greeted me with a warm welcome and I quickly grew more accustomed to the environment that I was in. As I leaned back and relaxed in my kayak, I began to take notice of the life around me and appreciate it. I stared forward and could see water for miles as trees engulfed the area on both sides of me. As the group of us paddled in the water, we mostly stayed together and discussed the area and nature surrounding us--including the roots of Cow Lilies, which two members of us ate. They are rich in starch, and according to those who tried it, taste like aspirin. The beautiful flower floating on top of the water apparently did not taste as nice as it looked but nevertheless, it was an experience. 

    After several minutes spent paddling through the lake, our class entered a more closed off space one by one. This area was surrounded by trees much like the others, but was more narrow and contained a richer abundance of life. Here we discovered multiple more snakes wrapped around the branches of trees and almost blending in as a part of the tree itself. Poison ivy was also present along with a plant that had cactus-like needles on its branches that would latch onto anyone who touched them. After exploring this enriched area, we all turned around and went back the way we had come to return to shore. 

    This adventure took me far out of my comfort zone and far into deep, black waters. However, the best experiences often happen once you leave the area where you are comfortable. On the water, I felt wind fly through my hair and sun shine onto my face as water splashed into the kayak at times and I enjoyed the view of the water and trees around me. Being in a place that is home to many creatures and plants helped me to realize that we are all coexisting in the world and that life is much greater than ourselves.