Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The I'on Swamp Trail

Winter is the time to hike in coastal South Carolina and take advantage of the lack of biting insects, snakes, alligators, and humidity.  We've been trying to get out and explore some new trails.  

The I'on Swamp Trail in the Francis Marion National Foresr is a 2-mile walk on rice dikes built by slave labor in the 1700s.  Ditches and embankments formed a system to control water to grow rice.  The same ditches and dikes formed the main transportation system for the coastal plantations.  Wagons could travel the dikes; boats could pass through the canals like this one.

The tannin-stained black water creates mirror-like double images.

Did you see the part about the mules wearing rawhide boots to work in the rice fields?  No such luxuries for the slaves; they worked barefoot!

A nice spot for a rest

The type of boat used on the rice canals.

The trail follows the inland ricefields of Clayfield and Witheywood Plantations, owned by Colonel Jacob I'on.

Plenty of good fishing for this Belted Kingfisher

We enjoyed our lunch at a restaurant along the Black River with this sign for the restrooms.

I hope it makes you laugh, too!


  1. Thanks and I so needed the laugh. What a pretty walk, it is snowing here and the wind is raw. Might get to go home Thursday

  2. Some restroom/toilet areas do have amusing to suggestive signage.

    Looks like quite a forbidden area...........I dread to think of the mosquitoes and other "bites" way back in
    those days.

    Cool change here from the really hot weather...........I as usual with the change have got a horrible
    head cold..............courtesy of those bloody mosquitoes of PNG!

  3. When you think what slaves had to endure it truly boggles the mind. It defies belief that humans could treat fellow humans in this way - yet if a comely black slave appealed to a plantation overseer or owner he had no scruples about having sex with her. Unbelievable!

  4. You're right about this being a good time for walking. Unfortunately I've been ill so no walking for me.

  5. Oh my gosh... love the sign for the restroom. I do take that it was indoors. hehe

  6. The toilet sign made me smile. What a great tour and I learnt so much about the rice plantation, I love visiting and learning something new.

  7. Some sad history on this walk.

  8. I like the sign - pigs are not always so particular!

  9. Wish I had enough nerve to walk in woods like those. You are so brave! The sign did make me smile. Oh Cynthia, your last post on the school bus boat is amazing! I would be so afraid living along that dark water and having to catch a ride on somebody's boat to go into town! It's unbelievable! If I sound like a real fraidy cat, it's because I am! Your posts are always great!

  10. I can see your point about summer skeeters and gators. Especially since my intrepid photographer wife has had a tendency to get too close to gators and grizzly bears...

  11. The toilet sign made me smile. What a great tour and I learnt so much about the rice plantation, I love visiting and learning something new.


  12. Yep chuckling for sure at the Dunny (toilet/loo) sign! The scale of the slave labour work is immense, I still see people in Asia manually building and tending their rice paddies, but digging out whole canals big enough for boats to pass through that is huge.
    Wren x