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One of the tricks of traveling is to eat where the locals eat. This
is why we chose Deep Hole, a 150 foot deep sink at the south end of
Lower Myakka Lake, for our lunch stop. This was populated by about
20 alligators including a 14 foot bull as well as numerous black
buzzards. A flock of rosette spoonbills was also nearby. Entry into
the sink required some wading at the rim but the gators obligingly
got out of our way. It was anxiety-provoking during our meal as some
of the larger ones gradually and deliberately swam closer.
Our trip began about 11:00 AM after we all registered our license
tags in the park office to ensure that if our cars remained in the
parking lot after sundown they would know to go looking for our bones
the next day. Sandy Huff, in her Paddler's Guide to the Sunshine
State describes paddling in Myakka as "not for the faint of heart"
due to the abundance of gators there. I have heard that this is due
to the fact that during the ongoing rapid encroachment of nearby
Sarasota and Bradenton into alligator habitat, the gators are
regularly relocated into the park.
The launch site here requires portaging several hundred yards across
a grassy picnic area from the parking lot. Easier spots occur two
miles upstream at the bridge and 4 miles up at the concession stand
but these would have required additional return paddling decreasing
the amount of the wilderness to be viewed. The water was low today
(4.1 ft at Myakka City Gage), several feet lower than the last time I
did this trip. There were frequent beaches on the two mile stretch
of river which meanders through oak/palmetto forest then marshland
down to the lake. Just about every bend was populated by at least
one gator. Some would launch into the water as we approached,
sinking to "periscope depth" with only eyes and snout showing, then
suddenly disappearing completely in the tannen stained water.
Others, usually the largest, would hold onto their beach perches.
One, right at eye level as I closely rounded a bend, was particularly
The entry of the river into the lake required some poling and a north
wind made crossing the lake challenging. After lunch we mostly waded
through mucky sand across about 1/2 mile of very wide river or small
lake. After that the banks again grew more forested. We proceeded
down past a spot labeled Shineytown on one map but showing no sign
of recent settlement. When we ran into a spot which required more
wading, we decided to turn around.
On the way back the wind was with us across the lake and the minimal
current made going upstream relatively easy. As we crossed the lake
we spotted a herd of feral pigs on the northwest shore. I went
ashore trying to get closer but being downwind was easily spotted and
they fled. I remember visiting this park in the '70's and having
these pigs approach the car for food. More recently, the rangers
discourage feeding and hire people to trap these animals, exotic to
Florida even though they have been here since introduced by the
Spaniards in the 1500s. They tend to tear up many acres of soil with
their rooting activity. I have seen a sow with ten piglets in tow so
they must be very prolific. In any case, they are universally very
skittish these days, always fleeing when approached in any manner.
We got back to the put-in about 4, all very fatigued after about a
ten mile trip. We took our time with the return portage and returned
to our CCC built palm trunk cabin for an excellent three course meal
of salad, shrimp creole, and pudding prepared by Katie Dupin.
Paddlers on this trip included Frank and Katie Dupin, Jim and Mia
McDermott, Mary Martha Vaught, and yours truly.
Juan Ortiz, a Sevillan captured by Florida Indians in the 1500s
described a method of torture called "barbacoa" whereby the victim
was placed on a spit over a fire and slowly turned. This word has
survived in both Spanish and English languages as a means of
preparing meat, probably the only extant word of the Calusan
language. The capitol of the Calusa, a fierce, warlike south Florida
tribe, now mostly extinct, was located on an island in Estero bay,
then called Calos, now called Mound Key State Archeological Park (>
http://www.floridastateparks.org/moundkey/ <). At the time of the
Spanish arrival there were supposedly 10,000 inhabitants, the island
having been inhabited since 100 AD. In line with more recent Florida
development, the Calusa dug canals and filled land to elevate the
homes of the well-to-do. Today it is deserted, bordered by mostly
inpenetrable mangroves with only two entrances to on the north and
south ends of the island. A trail connects these two ends which
climbs over several mounds, the highest at 30 feet offers a 270
degree view of the bay).
Eager to visit the birthplace of BBQ, six of us headed south of Fort
Myers on I-75 down Corkscrew Road to Koreshan State Historical Site (
> http://www.floridastateparks.org/koreshan/ <) where we put in at
the ramp then paddled upstream to the Bamboo Landing. This is the
loacation of an interesting settlement of a ninteenth century
religious cult who believed that we live on the interior of a hollow
globe and using a device called the rectaliner sought to prove that
the surface of the earth is convex rather than concave. The last
believers died in the 1960's with their faith being somewhat shaken
by the moon landing.
After that we headed down with a slight outgoing tide and a fair
headwind towards the key, said to be about 4.5 miles from the ramp.
The upper part of the river is heavily developed, and beyond Halfway
Creek it becomes wide and mangrove bound but with even more
development clearly in progress. We stopped on a spoil pile by the
entrance of one canal back into the mangroves around noon. Shortly
after lunch, Frank and Katie headed back to take advantage of the
wind. When we reached the the bay at 5+ miles Mound Key was visible
over the oyster beds but Mary Martha and Mia were frightened by the
whitecaps on the bay so they turned about there. I ended up heading
across the 1/4 mile open stretch to the peninsula extending from the
island. Since the wind had turned north, I had to deal with a slight
lateral sea, but once beyond the peninsula, I was able to traverse
the glassy surface to the south entrance with little effort. I
quickly jogged the trail over the length of the island, stopping to
take some pictures of a gumbo limbo tree and the view from the top of
the Calos Mound (see photo section). The only wildlife seen on the
island were multiple lizards and many mosquitoes. I entered my name
in a registration book at the northern inlet, somewhat more sheltered
from the small southern beach and glanced at the displays along the
way. These have more to do with the Calusa Culture generally than
the island in particular and I recommended more site interpretation
in the registration book. After an uneventful recrossing of the bay,
I held up a steady pace going back and caught up with the rest of the
party as they arrived at the ramp. The entire trip distance was over
12 miles on my GPS. We stopped for gator tail and seafood at RJ
Gators in Fort Myers on our way back to our Myakka cabin.
Seven paddlers set out about 11 AM from the Brownsville Park on
Brownsville Road in Brownsville, FL. This park has toilet and
camping facilities. The water was low with the Arcadia gage reading
1.5 feet. This is cattle country but the first livestock spotted was
a herd of llama on river right, a definite first for me on a river.
This section of river is heavily used by outfitters who maintain it
well. There were no instances of treefall even threatening a snag,
all having been cut well back. The only hazards were occasional
sandbars and gravel. This section of river is noted for fossilling
and we spotted one gentleman searching through a sieve but he hadn't
found anything yet. I found one 1 1/4" sharks tooth early in the
float just picking up a handful of gravel here and there. Jim McD
found some probable bone fragments later on. All along the way there
was exposed marl similar to that seen along the Edisto in SC.
A mother otter and two cubs were spotted early in the float.
Frequent turtles, fish, and several gators were spotted as well as
some bird life.
Considerable but well spaced development lines the river. At one
spot on river right, an outfitter has named and posted several
campsites. We took our time with two breaks on unclaimed sandbars and
arrived at the takeout at about 3:30. Paddlers included Jim and Mia
McDermott, Frank and Katie Dupin, Mary Martha Vaught, Barbara Cherry
(my sister), and myself. (See Lumber River Photo Club for pix).
I received the following news of Lumber River land donated by
Progress Energy donates land to Lumber River Conservancy
Progress Energy has recently donated nine acres of land from its property
adjacent to the Weatherspoon Plant in Lumberton, N.C., to the Lumber River
Conservancy. The land rests along the historic Lumber River. Mark Frederick,
plant manager at Weatherspoon, handed over the deed to Carr Gibson, chairman and
president of the conservancy, in a recent ceremony overlooking the river.
"We are extremely pleased to donate this land to the conservancy and to help its
mission to keep the Lumber River pristine so that future generations can enjoy
its natural beauty," said Frederick. "The Weatherspoon Plant has been a part of
the Lumberton community for more than 50 years, and our employees have striven
to be stewards of the environment, particularly the Lumber River. We look
forward to continuing our work with organizations such as the conservancy."
The mission of the conservancy is to preserve and protect the Lumber River as a
natural and scenic river. In 1998, the U.S. Department of Interior designated an
81-mile stretch of the river as a state-managed National Wild and Scenic River.
The Lumber River is also part of the North Carolina Natural and Scenic River
System. The land donated by Progress Energy is a nine-acre stretch that includes
High Hills Bluff, thought to be the highest point in Robeson County and one of
the more scenic views along the river.
The coal-fired Weatherspoon Plant generates up to 177 megawatts of electricity
and began commercial service in 1949. The plant and its employees have a long
history of serving the community and supporting efforts to preserve the Lumber
River. Over the years, the plant and Progress Energy have donated $50,000 to the
Lumber River State Park Citizens Advisory Committee to help create the Lumber
River State Park and to produce a video on the history of the Lumber River that
is used in area schools.
I would like to thank everyone that helped with the club's picnic andfloat. We
all had a wonderful time,good food,and good fellowship.THANKS EVERYONE!!!!!!!
Greetings everyone! Some of you have not met me but I have been a
member of the Lumber River Canoe Club for several years. I live on
the Tar River near Rocky Mount, NC. My wife and I do not paddle to
often with the canoe club but we always keep up with the activities.
Last summer my wife, Dianne, and I traveled to Alaska and Yukon
Territory. The absolute highlight of our trip was a hundred mile
canoe trip down the Yukon River from Dawson City, YT to Eagle,
Alaska. The beauty of the land can only be understood when you see
it. My immediate thought was, "I AM COMING BACK AGAIN!"
Dianne retires from teaching school in May of 2006 and we plan on
returning to the Yukon. This time the canoe trip will be longer than
a hundred miles. We have not yet decided on just how long but the
minimum will be the distance from Whitehorse to Dawson City, which
is about 450 miles. That is about a two week trip on the river by
Yukon River standards. The swift current and 24 hours of daylight
allows you to canoe until you drop. Thirty miles a day is a piece of
cake. Any member of the club who is experienced in canoe camping
would be able to easily do this trip. There is only one area of
white water and that is Five Finger Rapids and it is safely run via
the far right channel.
Due to the expense involved in just getting to the Yukon, it is a
trip that would require months or years of advance planning for
some. With gas prices escalating as they are, I am not sure what the
costs would be. I did check on the Internet and a couple of weeks
ago the price of gas in YT was nearly $4.00 a gallon. Aren't you
glad you don't live there!
The purpose of all this is to hopefully plant a thought with someone
that a "trip of a lifetime IS POSSIBLE!" I have done hundreds of
hours of research and read numerous books on the subject of the
Yukon River. The more you know and understand, the less intimidating
the idea becomes. IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL IF JUST ONE, TWO, THREE OR
EVEN MORE COULD ENJOY THE TRIP WITH US DOWN THE RIVER. Dianne and I
will be pulling our travel trailer and will get to Whitehorse
sometime around the third or fourth week in June, 2006. Others could
car pool or fly to Whitehorse or fly to Anchorage, Fairbanks or
Seattle and arrange transportation to Whitehorse. There are plenty
of canoe rental companies to provide canoes. You could find a
partner and split the expenses in many areas. While it is true that
a trip of this magnitude does require a lot of logistical planning,
you will learn a lot just in the planning process.
Please feel free to email if you are interested and I will be more
than happy to share what I can to help with your planning. In
closing, everyone would be the "captain of their own boat." It is
neither my intention nor my desire to lead or guide a trip down the
Yukon River. To be in the company of others to share the experience
would be exciting for all.
Thanks for reading,
The below links offer exciting reading. Dianne and I met Tommy
Taylor last summer while he was canoeing the Yukon.
Verlen Kruger made this trip to celebrate his 80th birthday!!!
Except he canoed all the way to the Bearing Sea…over 2000 miles!!!!
And he took along his wife!
I cannot not give a float report the day of the picnic as I did the
cooking and preparation along with Jim McDermott and the other people
under the picnic shelter who helped out making this years's picnic a
big success. We had about 45 people (I did not get an accurate count)
and everyone contributed the success. Thanks to eveyone who came and
thanks to those who brought desserts, salads, chips, etc. If there
are any suggestions for next year's annual picnic, let the club know.
This picnic was free for the members and guests as a benefit of club
membership, and we even acquired two new club members. Thanks again.
Someone who floated the trip, jump in with a float report as I do not
think the leader will post one.
Starting out with the usual Saturday morning, pre paddle breakfast
consisting of a home made with lard biscuit with ham, and a sausage
and egg sandwich with a little ketchup, we headed off for our paddle
trip on the Great Coharie Creek in Sampson County. The Great Coharie
is one of three tributaries that form the Black River. Our trip
started out at Boykin Bridge Road and ended at Wrights Bridge, a
distance of 9.2 miles. In Paul Ferguson's book Paddling Eastern North
Carolina, he recommends a minimum height of 4.9 ft and 500 cfs on the
gauging station that is 25 miles downstream on the Black at Clear Run
Today's gauge read 7.3 ft and 1000 cfs. We encountered numerous
trees that required going under, over, and portaging around. One
paddler said he got out of his boat 11 times. All of these downed
trees are a result of the last hurricane, and ice storms, as they were
all cleared after Hurricane Floyd and Fran. This section is a
beautiful section with many big hardwood trees and overhanging
branches. Wildlife reported being seen on this trip included several
big snakes in limbs, banks and on the water, heron, a turkey reported
by one paddler, and other bird life. After the paddle, most of us
drove the short distance to, you got it, La Tienda Y Taqueria for some
authentic tacos and quesadilla's washed down with Jarritos drinks. A
visit to this eatery is becoming a tradition when paddling the nearby
rivers, South, Great Coharie, Little Coharie, or Six Runs Creek, or
even if you are just passing the intersection of Hwy 701 and Hwy 210.
Paddlers today in canoes and kayaks were Wayne Charles, Bill Clark,
Jim Depree, Charles West, Mary Martha, Cleon Lanier, Jim & Mia
McDermott and dogs, and Sandy and yours truly. This was not a LRCC
scheduled club trip although all the participants were members
How can a beutiful little creek be so mean? A handful of cheerful
grenadiers, out on a holiday to commune with nature, expecting a good float with
hindrances - as promised by their misguided leader - ended up being on the water
almost seven hours because of very low water and lots of blankey-blank trees
that decided to lay down in our path. Some of us were hoping for a few
challenges, just to make the float interesting, but not a confidence course.
gorgeous day with a bright sun above, but lots of shade over the creek due to
the canopy. Most of the way had no huts, shacks, houses or other buildings
along the course of the stream, but alas! also very little in the way of
wildlife. A family of Canada geese, a bird here or there, a few turtles
our arrival around bends by sliding into the water, but no snakes or other
meanies. The distance was, oh, maybe five miles or so, but we need to add
mile or so for all the ups and downs we accomplished climbing over those dang
tree trunks! At the take-out everyone congratulated themselves and each
other for coming out in one piece, albeit wet, scraggly, dirty-seated one
And they were even kind (sort of) to their leader! Some of them,dirty as they
were, even had the nerve to drive to Sammio's Restaurant in Hope Mills for
dinner! Those participating, maybe for the last time, were Mike and Liz Britt,
Jim DePree, Bob McDowell from Florence, S.C., Mary Martha Vaught, Marshall
Thompson, and Frank Dupin, Leader.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Mary Florian and Conan also participated. Mary found a dead owl that
had bee3n caught in some moron's neglected trot line. Jim Deprey
took a picture of it which will be on the net soon and maybe in
The Lumber River Canoe Club held its bi-annual Hanging Rock camp out
and Dan River paddle trip the last week of April and first two days
May. Izzie & I got to the park on Sunday the 25th of April as we
were on vacation. The rest of the campers and paddlers came to the
park from Wednesday to Saturday.
On Friday, the trip consisted of six paddlers, Rudolph Floyd, Myron
Whitley, Bob & Frances Roberson, and Don & Sandy Meece. The section
paddled was at the Hanging Rock access at the end of Flinchum Rd down
to Moratock Park in Danbury, a distance of about 5 miles. This was
easy paddle with the water level about 1.6ft at the gauge near
Francisco. Another reason it was an easy paddle, no one tried to get
to the take out before anyone else and race, as is usually the case
some of the club trips. They stopped for a lunch break on an island
below 7 Bridge Rd, an old steel bridge that is now closed. This
section is scenic with rock formations and caves. Wildlife seen on
this trip was geese with goslings, herons, turtles, and other birds.
After the paddle the night was spent around the campfires at camp.
On Saturday, with clouds and rain threatening, we all paddled Section
4 of the Dan from Hwy 704 Hart Access down to Moore's Springs
Campground, a distance of 8.5 miles. After running the shuttle and
coming back to the put in, it started to drizzle rain. It rained off
and on during the day and we ran some of the low class I rapids with
no problems. We were able to find a nice lunch place with a covered
shelter. Not too much wildlife seen on this trip. When we made the
take out, the skies opened up and it poured. Paddlers on this trip
were Rudy Floyd, Mike & Liz Britt and dog Blackie, Mary Florian and
dog Conan, Myron & Dorcus Whitley and dog Isaac, Hank & Barbara
Bethea, Bob Roberson, Wayne & Lynda Charles, and Sandy & Don Meece
and me. After the paddle back at the camp, a hot shower felt good.
The skies cleared that night and we had a community covered
dish supper, with all kind of food and desserts. No one went away
hungry, at one point, a light rain shower drove us under our awning
but stopped and we were able to sit around the fire and listen to
Rudolph tell jokes and Myron and Wayne talk about their recent trip
the Buffalo River in Arkansas. Bob Robertson told a wonderful story
about how he assisted one of his professors to exit stage left.
For sale: sit-on-top Tarpon 160 by Wilderness Systems, $500,
It was like a scene from Little Shop of Horrors, trapped and unable
to move in giant floating islands of soil surrounded with carnivorous
plants. Actually, the pitcher plants, all currently in bloom on the
right leg of Horseshoe lake generally feed on nothing larger than
bugs, although some tropical varieties do eat small mammals and
amphibians (see last Sunday's funnies). We were trying to cut our
way through to the northern section of this lake which looked to be
clear water once you got over this floating island. As it was, none
of us made it, either over the island or through the surrounding
dense swamp. Various ideas were floated for making our way through
it such as dynamite or snow shoes. This problem solving aspect is
what makes blackwater paddling so much fun.
Earlier we had followed a marked trail through the cypress swamp into
the left leg of the horseshoe. Eventually the markers stopped and the
water became shallow and filled with algae making paddling through it
very difficult. There was much bird life on this side of the lake
including a very large blue heron.
Several of us had lunch on a partly flooded road that runs along the
northeast shore of the lake. There are at least three canals I
spotted which run in from the lake to intersect with the road but all
are shallow and difficult to paddle due to algae. The weather was
very sunny and hot with temperatures climbing towards 90. Some
paddlers chose to swim at the dam before heading home.
Paddlers included Frank Dupin, Jim and Mia McDermott, with dogs,
Schmidt and Maizie, Carlton and Linda Royal, Bob Marsh, Carol Warner,
Tracy Marsh, Dave Alchin, Jim DePree and MM Vaught.
I saw the following story on WRAL website:
Conservancy Preserves Drowning Creek Land
May 25, 2004
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. -- A tract that connects several natural areas
along the upper Lumber River was given to the state Wildlife
Resources Commission, the Nature Conservancy announced Tuesday.
The state Department of Transportation's Ecosystem Enhancement
Program provided $830,000 for the purchase.
The property covers 786 acres in Moore and Richmond counties. It
borders Drowning Creek for four miles and Fort Bragg's Camp Mackall,
training ground for the Army Special Operations Command, for another
The land connects the Upper Drowning Creek Swamp Forest Natural Area
and the Camp Mackall Drowning Creek Natural Area along the Lumber
River, conservancy officials said. The property has long stream
frontage bordering the Sandhills Area Land Trust McLeod Property,
which was bought recently with a Clean Water Management Trust Fund
The acquisition preserves a natural corridor between already
protected tracts of land, protects water quality and increases
opportunities for recreation, said Rick Studenmund, director of the
Conservancy's Sandhills Project.
I have a friend who wants to go kayaking this weekend. He has never
paddled a kayak, but has a little canoeing experience.
I'm looking for a nice easy paddle in the Raleigh/Durham area
preferably. I will be using my handy dandy inflatable kayak, so I'd
really like as few downed trees as possible. ;) He and my wife will
be in Pungo Classics.
Thanks in advance! Larry
May 29 Great Coharrie Creek Don Meece dom@...
Cook out at Cleon's house at the take out.
June 5 Lumber River Marshall Thompson canoeman32@...
Pool party and cook out afterwards at Thompson's farm.
June 12 South River Charles West (910)894- 4737
June 16 MEETING at Ryans Exit 22 off I-95 in Lumberton, NC Time
June 19 Cape Fear River Mary Florian grant28358@...'
Hi, I have been looking for somewhere to canoe in this area. I
moved to SC in '96 from MI, since then I have only been up to table
rock canoeing....sigh. Can anyone help? I live in the Greenville,
SC area. Thank you, Glory
A group of 4 of us are interested in a trip on the Lumber in the
fall. Probably October. We were hoping to do Friday, Saturday & take
out Sunday aafternoon. Any suggestions on location will be
appreciated. Also what camping considerations to be made?
Thanks for the help!
Another day on the river pulling over trees, jumping trees, and
portaging around trees. Too many to remember. The trip this past
Saturday was on the Great Coharie Creek from Wrights Bridge down to
Lisbon Bridge at Cleon Lanier's house. A distance of about 8 miles.
The river level was low and a reading down river at the Tomahawk
Gauging Station on the Black River read 3.8 ft with a cfs of about
300. It would have to be four to five feet higher and still maybe one
or two carry overs. It was a warm day, warm enough for two paddlers
to take an unexpected dip in the cool black water after about five
minutes in the trip. The group stopped for lunch at a nice sand bar
up river from the usual stop near the Coharie Condo, a shack with the
distinctive name. Later in the paddle the group became separated with
the usual fast people out front and the rest of us about 20 minutes
behind. It became warmer and this paddler decided to take a swim.
Well, I did not decide it but rather it was decided for me, not just
once but twice consecutively at the same location. The group stopped
at Virginia Broadwell's river house for some rest and refreshment and
some even hiked her nature trail. This is a good stop on this section
as Virginia comes out to welcome you with her dog Sam and is always
the gracious hostess. We ended the day's trip at Cleon's river house
for an annual pig pickin' (BBQ pig for some of you aliens) and party
into the night with some people camping and staying for breakfast in
the morning. Many thanks to Cleon Lanier and Pat Raynor for putting
this on. Wildlife seen on the trip included turtles, prothonotary
warblers, a lot of hummingbirds at Virginia's house, a snake, and
heron. Those paddling were Frank Dupin, Tom & Mary Florian and dog
Conan, Ron Dutton, John & Carlton Royal, Craig Smith, Bill Clark, Jim
Depree, Bob Marsh, Carol Warner, George Walker, John Gary, and yours
truly, Don Meece. And yes I did flip my new canoe twice
A group of LRCC members and guests met at Hardees in Maxton at 9:30
After the shuttle we put in at McGirts Br. at about 10:30. About 15
minutes downstream we came to the first obstacle. Susan Covington
and I had done a lot of work at that site on Thursday cutting limbs
and removing flotsum.On Saturday we found that the tree had fallen
farther down so that it blocked the river again. Since I had my
chainsaw with me I was able to open the path quickly.There were
several obstacles on the first part of this trip including a large
pine that had to be portaged. We stopped for lunch at the "Skeeter
Hole" where we talked about politics ,told jokes and stories while
hawks and or buzzards circled above. After lunch we began the
second and longest part of the trip. There were several very low
logs to go under. A couple of paddlers took an unexpected swim .
We got to the Rt. 71 bridge at about 2:30.
Wildlife seen on this float included turtles, black birds, a
prothonatary wabbler, the hawks, and a heron.
Paddlers on this trip were Jim and Mia McDermott with dogs Mazie and
Schmidt, Mary Martha Vaught, Wanda and Mike Strotha,Frank and Katie
Dupin, Bob and Izzy Guckel,Jim Depree, Tom and Mary Florian, Don and
Judy Moore, and Marshall Thompson the trip leader.
Thanks to Don Moore and Frank Dupin for doing the shuttle.
After the float we went back to Marshall and Charlotte"s Legacy
Farm for a swim , food and good company.
June 12 South River Charles West (919)894-4737
June 16 MEETING at Ryans Resturant exit 22 off I-95 in Lumberton,NC
Time 7:00 PM
June 19 Cape Fear River Mary Florian grant28358@...
Moore's Springs Campground on the Dan River is having a clean up and
is in need for volunteers on June 19. Camping will be free for the
volunteers with camping certificates given out for future camping.
The manager, Janice, can be reached at 336-593-8290. Janice says she
needs people to bring shovels, chain saws, and people to spray round
up. She is also in need of a back hoe. This location is owned by NC
State but does not receive any money. This location is also a popular
put in and take out and have been accommodating to paddlers when you
leave your vehicle for the shuttles. For more information give Janice
a call at the number above.
Aquatic weeds are blocking off some of the streams we paddle. You can
help by reporting these cases to a state program designed to assist
in controlling invasive weeds.
I recently paddled the Northwest and Southwest Forks of the Alligator
River near Columbia, NC. These forks are a North Carolina Paddle
Trail and provide interesting blackwater through swampy land, but
they cannot be explored very far because alligator weed blocks the
channels only a mile upstream of their confluence.
Alligator weed (aka Alligatorweed), one of North Carolina's most
pesky aquatic weeds, is native to South America and was accidentally
introduced to the US in the late 1800s. Alligator weed forms dense
floating mats across streams, obstructing paddling.
I have reported several cases of aquatic weeds on paddling streams to
Rob Emens with North Carolina's Aquatic Weed Control Program. Rob's
contact information is listed on their Web site:
It is difficult for paddlers not familiar with aquatic plants to
identify the bad ones on a stream. Typically, any aquatic plant that
closes off a stream to paddling is going to be an invasive and/or
noxious weed. The ones on the above Web site are the worst
encountered in North Carolina and should be reported if found on
Report cases where weeds block our streams to North Carolina's
Aquatic Weed Control Program. Photos of the weeds are very helpful
along with approximate location or GPS coordinates. You can also mail
a sample of the weed, but contact them to get the proper procedure.
There are links on their Web site to assist in identification. See
the "PLANTS National Database" link.
If you also report weed blockages to me, I will put together a list
of places where they are a known problem to paddlers.
It may not be entirely appropriate to extrapolate from the Tomahawk
gage on the Black to the South River which is really an adjacent
stream but that seems to be the closest indicator. In any case, when
I got in the South at 9 AM Saturday Tomahawk was just under 4 feet
and rising and there was a healthy flow coming down under 41 bridge
on the South. I paddled about a mile upstream. At one narrow spot
there were some rapids with standing waves. Returning to the put-in
I was joined by 22 other paddlers and two dogs for the shuttle and
trip downstream. We left the bridge about 10:30 and found a good
flow with few significant obstructions and generally high banks with
the occasional sandbar.
There is occasional development consisting usually of well maintained
fishing shacks or weekend retreats. Along they way the surrounding
country side was mostly undeveloped with various high and dry pine
and oak forest habitats and some clear cutting evident and some
cypress swamps around tributaries. Just before the lunch stop, we
encountered olfactory evidence of a hog waste lagoon and made it a
point to be out of range, or maybe just upwind, by the time we
stopped. Sandbars were frequent at this level and we found a good
large one for a lunch stop at about 3 miles or just before noon.
Frank and Rudy went swimming here. Along the way we encountered
varous wildlife including ducks, turtles, a king snake, a banded
water snake, a beaver, squirrels, and varous songbirds as well as
biting yellow flies (who don't seem to mind bug spray, we need to
educate these bugs). Although there was a 30% chance of rain and we
occassionally suspected some may be coming, it remained mostly cloudy
but fair all day. We stopped again on a sandbar where there was a
log jam about a mile before the takeout. Mary Florian and I cleared
a path through it by removing a log that looked like it may have once
been part of a dug out canoe and sending it on down the river. This
made a passage through but people liked the idea of getting out of
their boats for a while anyway. Finished up the trip at the take out
just above Ennis Bridge about 3:30. Trip distance was about 9 miles
Afterwards we hit La Margarita for the usual cross-cultural culinary
experience and opportunity to be reminded how lousy our Spanish is.
Trip leader was Charles West accompanied by Nancy Byrnes. Also
paddling were Don and Sandy Meese, Maryanne Hartman, Maryanne
Hartman, Myron and Dorcus Whitley and their dog (sorry, couldn't read
his paw print). Mike Reed, Bob Marsh accompanied by Carol Warner,
Tom and Mary Florian with dog Conan, Mary Martha Vaught, Craig Smith,
Bob Guckel and Rudy Floyd, Carlton Royal and his brother-in-law, John
Gary and son John Royal, Frank Dupin and his two grandsons, Ben and
Patrick Dupin, and yours truly.
June 19 - Cape Fear River meet at Hardees in Lillington, NC at 0900
and leave for boat landing on Prison Camp Rd at 0930. Contact Mary
June 26 - Lumber or Little Pee Dee. Marshall Thompson at
July 1-4 - Shackleford Banks Camp. Friday night at Cedar Point,
Swansboro and leave and camp at Shackleford Saturday and Sunday. Jim
July 10 TBA Bob Guckle bob32@...
July 17 Lumber River Griffis Landing down to Nichols Don Meece
July 24 Great Coharie Charles West 919-894-4737
July 31 Cape Fear Irwin to Old Blufff Church Jim DePree
Aug 7 Little Pee Dee or Lumber Marshall Thompson canoeman32@...
Aug 14 Black River Don Meece dom@...
Aug 18 LRCC Club meeting Lumberton 7PM
Aug 21 Lockwood Folly Mary Florian 910-737-6238
If you are planning on coming on any of these trips contact the TRIP
LEADER listed for the trip.
Bob Roberson announced that he would like to lead a camping trip to
Hanging Rock the week of Sep 22-26. He wants Guckle to lead the
paddle trips and Bob will lead in the singing and rebel rousing!
Riverfest - Oct 16 If you would like to volunteer, contact Marshall
Thompson at canoeman32@...
A flotilla of 20 boats carrying 23 people and 2 dogs made its
way down the upper Cape Fear River on Saturday. The day was hot and
sunny and the water was warm. Several paddlers found the water so
inviting they couldn't stay out of it for long, especially when
going through rapids.
After breakfast at Hardees Charles West led us to the Wildlife
access, where we put in. Bob Roberson led the drivers to the take-
out at Erwin. The take out lived up to its reputation as a Class
5. A large puddle claimed one van and one car, and the waist deep
poison-ivy gauntlet we had to run while carrying our boats up the
slippery muddy slope from the riverside was unequalled.
During the first part of the trip the river was wide and had few
visible rocks. For those of us accustomed to blackwater streams, the
lack of shade was an ordeal. Paddlers at the front may have seen
herds of deer, flocks of flamingoes and scores of alligators, but
the leader, who led from the rear, saw only one large unidentified
bird flying low over the water.
Many thanks to Bob Roberson, Donald Ray and others who led us
through rapids and helped keep people safe.
We stopped for lunch at a shady area on river right, just past a
small rocky island. Some paddlers stopped at the island and sat in
the rapids to cool off.
I'll not try to name the various rapids and landmarks along the
way, but it was a very nice float and it was quite fun to do a
different type of stream. It was convenient not have to do any
portages or heave the boats up and over stream-spanning fallen
Paddlers included Charles West, Bob Roberson, Don and Sandy
Meece, Bob Marsh, Carlton Royal, Marianne Hardman, Bruce Duncklee,
David Altman, Mike Reeves, Tom and Mary Florian, Don and Judy Moore,
Donald Ray Turlington, Donald Ray Turlington, Jr., Jim Clark, Cora
Aytona, Kevin McDermott, Jim and Mia McDermott, Dogs Mazie and
Schmidt McDermott, Richard Alexander and Scott Driscoll.
End of Report. Mary Florian
PS: Have you ever paddled to Raven Rock Park and camped there?
If you have, I'd appreciate it if you'd email me and tell me where
you would suggest putting in for 2 days of paddling, with a Saturday
night campout at Raven Rock Park. I've been told the section above
Raven Rock Park is terribly boring. Is that true? Thanks.
One paddler and boat were not included in the trip report---Jim
Depree and his kayak. They were glimpsed from time to time as they
flashed by. This brings the total number of paddlers to 24 and
number of boats to 21. If there were sightings of other paddlers
who didn't sign the list, let me know.
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