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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Swamp Fox

Posted March 7, 2007

I  just had to go back. As a reporter who covered the ravages of Hurricane Hugo more than 17 years ago I just had to go back and see how the Francis Marion National Forest just north of Charleston had recovered.

Well, it is doing quite well. I hiked the Swamp Fox Trail this past weekend. I really enjoyed thinking about the turf of that daring and elusive Revolutionary War hero who gave the British fits with his ambushes of guerilla warfare. One British officer once complained that Francis Marion was so much like a swamp fox that “even the devil couldn’t catch him.”

This can be a devil of a place in the summer with the heat, humidity and insects. But on a warm winter day it is a perfect place to get away from the noise of the city as you make your way through the bogs and swamps of the pine and cypress forest.

You can hike over 40 miles if you’d like. The soft, flat and mostly straight trail is well maintained. Drainage is adequate. Heavy rains had fallen less than 24 hours before our hike and we encountered no wet spots on the trail itself. You will walk over a creek with some of the blackest water I have ever seen. You will also see a few mountain bikers on the trail.  To get to the trailhead just take Highway 17 north about 25 miles from Charleston and follow the signs.

The only real irritation was the rumble from a rifle range nearby. I just pretended it was a distant battle in the Revolutionary War.

Tomorrow, warfare on the basketball court:  the hallowed ACC Tournament and why I feel it should be abolished. 

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