Ye Wee Blogger

What a Hell of a State We're in

Ye Wee Blogger

What a Hell of a State We're in

Johns Island Christmas

Mud, More Mud, Wild­life and a Brunch Market

  Johns Island, SC

We drove down to Johns Island for Christ­mas and New Year (20192020). It is an Inter­coastal Island a little south of Char­le­ston in South Carolina.

The old farm­house we ren­ted was in a quiet spot. It and anoth­er farm­house and small­hold­ing 400 metres away lay amidst acres and acres of flat crop bear­ing fields. The last two miles get­ting there were on a private and much-rut­ted dirt road. It was good to get to journey’s end after a not-so-bad 520-mile drive down I95. There was lots of safe open space to let the dogs run around and unwind. Accom­plished trav­el­lers, they had slept most of the way, mak­ing do with just one stop.

We unpacked and got organ­ised quickly. We were look­ing for­ward to eat­ing out in Char­le­ston, a city renowned for its res­taur­ants. The Fat Hen on the Island had a good repu­ta­tion and was close to the farm­house, so we went there for our first-night din­ner. We were tired, of course, but enjoyed the meal. We ate mod­estly, there was plenty of time to be bolder over the next two weeks, or so we thought.

Cop­ing with bad Weather

It began to rain stead­ily dur­ing our second night there. It con­tin­ued all the next day and on into the early morn­ing. Almost four inches of rain shattered the record for the most to fall loc­ally in 24 hours set way back in 1941. Dur­ing the night, I wor­ried about flood­ing. We were on a flat Inter­coastal Island for good­ness sake, and THE FARM­HOUSE WAS ON STILTS FORPUR­POSE! We would likely be OK up there. But, we had a three-month-old apple-of-my-eye SUV sit­ting out­side. I fret­ted and fret­ted as it rained on and on. Even­tu­ally, at 03:30, the ever-resource­ful Kar­en found a live flood pre­dict­or map on line. It indic­ated that there would indeed be salt­water flood­ing on parts of the Island but not around our imme­di­ate loc­al­ity. I thanked the Lord, rolled over and went to sleep.

The two-mile much-rut­ted access road was now under a lot of water. We knew that some por­tions would be deep and per­haps unpass­able but couldn’t quickly determ­ine where these would be. We care­fully con­firmed that the Beem­er was well equipped to wade and slide its way through the muddy water to the tar­mac­a­damed road. We could raise its sus­pen­sion and increase the trac­tion. This came at the price of reduced sta­bil­ity at speed, but that didn’t seem unreas­on­able in the cir­cum­stance. But, we opted to lim­it our for­ays out to one a day and nev­er in the dark. The dirt road con­di­tion improved slowly day by day, but more rain rap­idly reversed the pro­gress. We stuck with the one for­ay a day mod­el for the rest of the stay.

On most days, the for­ay would have Kiawah Island as the first des­tin­a­tion. The aptly named Kiawah Beach­walk­er Park is a mar­vel­lous place to walk dogs. Off-leash was per­mit­ted on the whole beach out of sea­son except for nature reserve at its far South-East end. It was nev­er crowded, and when it rained, we had the place to ourselves. We par­tic­u­larly appre­ci­ated the car park’s dog-wash­ing sta­tion where sandy paws and oth­er bits could be rinsed off. The best super­mar­ket for miles around and many oth­er good stores is at the Island entrance, so it was very con­veni­ent for those lim­ited to a single foray.

A Mas­terly Plan

Kiawah is a Bar­ri­er Island, the Atlantic washes and some­times rages against its east­ward facing shore while the west­ward one faces into the Inter­coastal system.

On KI you give way to the wild tur­keys on the road. They don’t get out of the way quickly!

Down­town Char­le­ston is just twenty or so miles away, but Big Golf’ has ensured that the Island’s incred­ible wild­life remains pro­tec­ted and gets an equit­able share of the estate. One could argue that it would have been bet­ter to leave it all alone, but that has nev­er been likely giv­en its his­tory and loc­a­tion.

So there are five world-class golf courses on the Island, each craf­ted by a dif­fer­ent design­er. The Ocean Course will host the 2021 PGA Tour­na­ment May 1723. It’s on the Golf Chan­nel, I checked.

It’s Not All About the Golf
Liv­ing with Alligators

We were wary of encoun­ter­ing alligators even though they mostly lie low in the winter months. They inhab­it every fresh­wa­ter pond in the Inter­coastal, and there are lots of them. We wondered about the pond next to our Farm­house on Johns Island. Ellen from the neigh­bour­ing farm con­firmed that there were indeed a few small ones in there. We were keen to avoid this kind of encounter the beasts:

Kiawah Island is said to be home to more than 500 of them. But, they enjoy a spe­cial place in the grand plan for the Island and gen­er­ally are allowed to do what alligators do. This includes wan­der­ing across the greens when they feel like it, appar­ently. Who is going to argue?

For­ays Plus

Right at the end of our time at the Farm­house, I did get out on two morn­ings to take some pic­tures. I expec­ted to be at a Farmer’s Mar­ket in Char­le­ston, but it turned out to be a Sunday Morn­ing Brunch Mar­ket”. On a day halfway between Christ­mas and New Year, nobody seemed much inter­ested in Brunch. They were mostly at a loose end, I think. For many, it was some­place to take the dog along.

Early on New Years Day morn­ing, I headed out to Wad­malaw Island. It’s an Inter­coastal adja­cent to Johns Island and home to a clutch of shrimp­ing sta­tions. I was treated to a stun­ning sun­rise over the salt marsh and some beau­ti­ful skies. A fish­er­man from one of the nearby shrimpers joined me. He intro­duced him­self as Rab­bit’ and explained that he knew I had been tak­ing pic­tures of the sun­rise. He told me that he sees it every morn­ing and nev­er tires of it.

Would We Go There Again?

We plan to go for Christ­mas in 2021 if we can. Maybe we will avoid long unmade roads.