Here's what SCDNR has to say about Hamilton Ridge WMA:
Hamilton Ridge WMA is located in the Lower Coastal Plain in Hampton County, South Carolina. It is comprised of 13,281 acres and has 8.5 miles of river frontage along the Savannah River. Approximately half the acreage is in bottomland hardwoods, creek drains, oxbow lakes and other wetlands. The other half of the WMA is upland habitat and is primarily pine stands of various ages with the predominant species being loblolly, with some sand and longleaf pine present. Scattered wildlife openings are found across the property. The tract is adjacent to 12,600 acres of SCDNR-owned Wildlife Management Areas (Webb and Palachucola).
What I found strewn across the roads in the WMA was gravel. State (and federal) government loves gravel, don't they? It was small gravel and there wasn't a lot of it, but to me the roads in there didn't seem to be in much better shape because of it, as compared to the roads I'd just been riding on. If there was anything else strewn across the roads in there, all I can say is "without pictures, it didn't happen."
Oh, and what looked like round metal bar gates laid in one of the roads for erosion control startled me, for the bars were parallel to the direction of travel. I said to myself, "my 21-inch front wheel is going to love this" as I hit the gas, but there was enough sand between the bars that it wasn't a problem. (I'm a fan of "when in doubt, gas it out," just in case you haven't figured that out by now. Learned that the hard way.)
Once inside the WMA I decided to ride around the perimeter and take several of the cross roads that headed towards the river. On the first cross road that I took, every so often the road would dip into washes which had some mud, and then I got to an actual small creek crossing, with a rocky bed (in lower SC!!??). That tickled my funny bone for some reason. It occurred to me later that the hand of man, instead of God, had placed those rocks in the creek bed, but it was still fun crossing it.
I encountered hunters on that first cross road I took. Hmmmm, they must be scouting for turkeys, I thought, getting ready for the season to open next weekend. It wasn't until a few days after my ride that StolenFant got around to telling me what kind of hunting he used to do on the land that now comprises the WMA. Wild hogs.
No, silly, he was talking about this kind of wild hog:
All I had on my mind were turkeys, and I did see three of them on Crab Orchard Road. Turkeys. Nice pretty birds who are always fleeing away into the woods when you see them. What would I have done if I'd felt a nudge on my shoulder while I was "in the moment," sitting alone by the river, and turned to see a feral hog snorting at me? Whacked him with my water bottle? Poured water on his prickly snout? Jumped in the river and tested the buoyancy characteristics of Klim, Teknic and Alpinestars? I'm liking that last one the best. "Um, honey? Could you bring a trailer and pick up Sasquat from the back side of nowhere and then pick me up at Kevin Barry's on River Street in Savannah? Well yes, sugar, it's a long story, but I did just win the wet t-shirt contest!"
Sorry 'bout that; my imagination goes off on a tangent sometimes. I just looked on the SCDNR web site, and sure enough, wild hog hunting with dogs (as opposed to still hunting) was allowed at Hamilton Ridge this past weekend.
Anyway, as I was nearing the river, I got to this sign, so I didn't go any further.
There were lots of lanes like that in the WMA which were closed to motorized vehicles. I then went back out to the perimeter road. I was coming around a curve and whoa, there's a silver WeeStrom parked at the next cross road which headed towards the river. Looks like I'd happened upon StolenFant after all.
By this time I was about to wind up my ride in order to make it home in time to get in the car and turn around and head right back by where I'd just been to go to the race at Pooler with the husband. But I told SF I could follow him for a little while if he didn't mind.
So we headed towards the river. StolenFant was toting the mail on that Wee. He told me about some very interesting old things to see (not really sure if access to them is permitted now that the state owns the land, so I better not mention them here). But when he asked me if I wanted to find them, I said "sure". He said the road is right over there. I looked and said to myself "Road, what road?" At that point he flicks that big Strom off into the woods and I went "wheeee" and followed. Our progress soon got impeded, however, by this downed tree that there was no way around short of dragging the bikes under it, so we turned back.
Then we went to see an oxbow lake named Fowl Craw Lake, which was cool.
Coming soon, the neatest old house ...