We put in on a Friday afternoon at the Buffalo Creek Boat Ramp off Barksdale Ferry Road. To get to the launch site, take a left on Caldwell Drive. You can find all of the landings in the area, along with 51 miles of scenic water trails, on the Little River Blueway map. Download a copy at www.littleriverblueway.org or pick one up at one of the convenience stores in the area.
The one-lane ramp sets you out at the confluence of Buffalo Creek and the Little River. Take a right at the fork and hug the coast to access the Buffalo Creek Route. As you wind your way along the creek you’ll come up on one of the holes of the Monticello Golf Course. You’ll see a few homes behind the fairway, but otherwise it’s almost all forestland.
At this point the creek begins to get shallow, keeping motorboaters out of the area. About a half-mile from the golf course you’ll come to the Huguenot Parkway Bridge. When we kayaked the trail several weeks ago, there was not much water past the bridge, forcing us to turn back up the creek.
When the water level is high, you can make it all the way to the historic Badwell Cemetery, the burial ground of the Rev. Jean Louis Gibert, leader and founding pastor of the French Huguenot settlement in McCormick County.
We took our time paddling back to the landing, savoring the last bit of sun on a cool fall day.
I hope to return to the area this winter to paddle the upper reaches of the Little River located within Sumter National Forest. It’s a great way to explore some of the vast wilderness not accessible by land.