Duck hunting is about over for the winter so these areas that have been closed for hiking are opening up this week. The maze of old rice dikes, built by hand by slaves, make great walkways through the marshes that used to be rice fields along the North Santee River.
The rice fields have reverted to grassy marshes and cypress swamps and now is the time to enjoy them -- before the mosquitoes make it impossible to hike without going mad.
The first green plants were blooming among the cypress knees. The slight hints of yellow at the back of the photo are the flowers.
I wasn't able to find out what these are.
Some kind of water plants out of which grows a strange flower stalk with knobby things on it that I assume have pollen on them.
These old timbers lying on the side of the dike look like parts of the original wooden gates that let the water in and out of the rice fields.
If so, they were hewn in the 1800s by slave hands.
On this map, the dotted lines are the major dikes where we hiked. The faint lines within the green area are smaller dikes, marking the boundaries of each individual rice field. I hadn't realized that each field had a name, but it makes sense. How else would the overseer tell the slaves where to go to work every morning?