The weather forecast was for unseasonably warm weather with clear skies – perfect weather for paddling. My friend Tim Taylor joined me, and we headed for a new paddling venue. This time we were headed to Piedmont, SC, and to the Saluda River.
I was aware of this stretch from creating my Paddling Guide, but I hadn’t scouted it. The Greenville Canoe and Kayak Meetup did a paddle along this stretch last November, so I had seen their photographs. Since it was close and a section I hadn’t paddled, I decided to give it a try.
Tim and I loaded up the boats and drove on down to Piedmont. The town is a mill village with a dam on the Saluda River. It’s possible to put in above the dam and paddle upstream against the slight current, then return. Most of the trek is lake-like flat water paddling.
The put-in was a rather steep dirt road that led down to a public river access. The road was rough, and I wouldn’t recommend it for nice cars. Unfortunately, the area was very trashy. There was the detritus that normally washes down rivers, but it looked like people had been using the area as a dumping ground. Both the river and especially the mud at the put-in absolutely stunk. I was starting to have second thoughts about this trip.