It’s an interesting turn of circumstances. When we first got our kayaks we would run up to Lake Cunningham a couple of times a week to get some exercise and to relax. Then we moved into our current house, which is on a lake. Now we hardly ever paddle, even with ready access to water. Today we decided to reverse that trend, and get back into paddling on a regular basis. Partly, I feel the need to get into shape before a planned 17-mile jaunt down the Edisto River in mid-July.
Lake Cunningham and its larger sibling, Lake Robinson are on the South Tyger River. Both of these are owned and operated by the Greer Commision of Public Works and serve as a water supply for the area. The lakes are open to the public, but there is a fee for any type of watercraft. Fortunately, the size of boat is limited on both lakes, so one can kayak peacefully without the fear of jet skis or other fast craft nearby. Daily permits are $3, or you can buy a yearly pass for $30.
As already mentioned, Lake Robinson is the larger of the two lakes. It’s public access park is near the dam, and the picnic areas offer dramatic views of Glassy Mountain and the Blue Ridge.
Unfortunately, development around the lake is really taking off, so housing tracts are now replacing trees along the banks.
Lake Cunningham is smaller, and its development is a bit more mature and understated. Instead of McMansions on tiny lots, the homes are more modest, and tend to include more land. You get a more unbroken coastline for paddling and exploring. Also, the boat ramp here is at the lake’s headwaters, so you can paddling upstream into a lily pad area where the Tyger gets narrows. It’s a great place to explore and do some bird watching.
We first drove up to Lake Robinson and purchased a day pass, which is good for both lakes. The parking lot was crowded with boat trailers, and a church was holding a service in the picnic area. We headed on over to Cunningham.
At Lake Cunningham two ducks begged for food as we off-loaded the boats. We put in at the ramp and paddled upstream into the lily pads. Red-winged blackbirds darted among the aquatic plants, and we saw a couple of herons flying nearby.
We headed on downstream and into the open water of the lake. Aquatic plants have really choked off the upper end of the lake, and that is also true of the fishing dock. Still, there were several casting lines into the lake from the dock. The open area also proved to be quite a bit hotter. Our first trip out in quite awhile didn’t last very long, but it was still a pleasant diversion. We made plans to come back soon.
[tags]paddling, kayaking, Lake Cunningham, Lake Robinson, Greer, South Carolina[/tags]