Carolina Swamp to Sea Kayaking Expedition
All adult survivors 18 and older whose loss occurred more than one year ago are invited to join TAPS on the Carolina Swamp to Sea Kayaking Expedition as we find new purpose, gain radical perspective, and remember what it feels like to live with determination.
TAPS Expeditions are outdoor skills-based events that require dedication, preparation and a real sense of adventure.
Professional guides will lead us through some of the country’s most spectacular ecosystems as we paddle from forested swamplands to South Carolina’s barrier islands, taking in the area’s rich history and natural wildlife.
We’ll kayak the former rice trade route in the bottomland swamps to the rich estuaries and islands that expose the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, we’ll see a variety of wildlife from alligators to Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. We’ll also explore vast stretches of beach, inland hiking trails and much more.
The expedition will be unique and rewarding, while also pushing you physically, mentally and emotionally. You’ll have the chance to gain or hone valuable outdoor skills and kayaking techniques.
Leading up to the expedition, we’ll form a team bond and gain familiarity with each other through a mandatory team meeting via conference call or video chat. During the meeting, we’ll discuss training regimens, gear lists and more. Your team will be a source of encouragement as you prepare for this adventure.
You’ll also have access to the TAPS Expeditions Facebook group, which will include participants from this expedition as well as those from previous expeditions so you can ask questions and learn from their experiences.
Day 1: Our journey begins in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, with a trip orientation, gear introduction and kayaking skills development. After lunch, we’ll launch our trip in the Francis Marion National Forest and begin the four-day journey to the sea. We’ll make our first night's camp on high ground in the swamp. Lunch and dinner provided. Kayaking: 8 miles
Day 2: On the second day, we’ll experience a landscape change from green forest to open, expansive salt marshes as we pass remnants of rice fields and break for lunch at the Hampton Plantation. We’ll spend the rest of our afternoon paddling to our camp at Cedar Island while taking in the nearly 300 species of birds and looking out for playful bottlenose dolphins. All meals included. Kayaking: 16 miles
Day 3: A slower morning, we’ll spend time enjoying the landscape. We’ll explore islands used as hunting grounds by the Native Americans who inhabited them and kayak to Murphy Island. The area is plentiful with oysters, crabs and shrimp, and we’ll try our hand at harvesting for dinner. We’ll then return for a delightful last night at camp enjoying our day’s harvest. All meals included. Kayaking: 5 miles
Day 4: After breakfast, we’ll embark on our final paddle through Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and enjoy a variety of wildlife species and stunning views of two 19th-century lighthouses. We’ll paddle our way to Jeremy Creek and enjoy lunch together. After that, we’ll shuttle back to the boathouse for the end of our adventure. Breakfast and lunch included. Kayaking: 10 miles
*Note: Please be aware that this itinerary is subject to change due to a number of reasons, including weather and participant skill level.
This schedule is provided by REI Adventures. For a more detailed itinerary, visit www.rei.com/adventures.
We fully expect your team members to become your family and an ongoing support network long after the TAPS Expedition is complete. You'll be provided with a directory following the expedition to keep in touch with each other.
A $50 deposit will be collected at the time of registration. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and sponsors, TAPS will cover the rest of the trip costs, with the exception of your transportation to and from South Carolina, your first night's lodging expenses and some meals.
You will need to cover the cost of your transportation to and from South Carolina. The closest airport is the Charleston International Airport. Please DO NOT book a flight until you receive a notification of your selection or waitlist status. You should plan to arrive in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 4.
Your first night's lodging will be on your own, but we will be available to recommend lodging options that fit within your budget. TAPS will cover the costs for all subsequent lodging and meals.
This expedition requires no kayaking experience but does necessitate that you be physically fit and healthy. The expedition will include kayaking between five and 16 miles a day and one- to two-mile hikes.
Even if you don't have kayaking experience, if this adventure excites you we encourage you to submit an application by Monday, Feb. 12. The TAPS Expeditions team will make sure you are prepared and well-informed of the nature of this trip.
To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we suggest you engage in a regular exercise regimen leading up to the trip. Prior to the trip, we'll discuss training plans and gear.
Applications are currently being accepted through Monday, Feb. 12. Applications will be reviewed every two weeks, so we encourage you to apply early. If more applications are received than we have slots available, we will do a random drawing from qualified applicants.
It’s our goal to ensure that as many survivors as possible have the opportunity to experience healing in the wilderness. Preference will be given to applicants who haven't participated in a TAPS Expedition within the past year, so long as they are capable of participating in all activities.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com or call 800-959-TAPS (8277).