Lumber River trip, Lumber River State Park to Fair Bluff, June 30, 2012
Who cares that the high temperature for the day was 102, officially? All you woosies were afraid of the heat, but not us (some would say that our brains may already have been cooked). I had more people agree to go and then drop out than we had on the trip, the logistics became an interesting exercise.
Ten of us from two clubs made up our minds that a hot day on the river would be better than a hot day anywhere else and much more entertaining that a cool day in the mall or on the couch (some would say that our brains may already have been cooked).
Ed Stone and Peggy Caddis came from Friends of Sampson County Waterways. Sean Turlington and his son Brandon (if I remember correctly, brain cooking?), Emory Sadler, Mia McDermott, Omer Register and Pam and Mitch Lloyd came from Lumber River Canoe Club. Teresa was a guest, this young lady from Checkoslovakia and now a US citizen and American soldier was a welcome addition (some might say that her brain may already have been cooked). Noticeably absent were the rest of you:-)
We met at the boat ramp at Lumber River State Park at 9:30, shuttled and hit the water at around 10:15 with the temperature already above 90. Thank you Emory for doing the shuttle. Everybody had packed food and lots of water, plus we had a cooler with extra water just in case (anti-brain cooking coolant).
Being judicious (and trying to prove to each other that our brains weren't cooked) we tried to follow the shady side of the river so long as the sun allowed. Due to a locally heavy rain Monday night well upstream, the water had risen and the "crest" (about 2 feet of extra water) was just making its way down this section. As we discovered at our first swim break at 11:30, the water was VERY REFRESHINGLY COOL. In fact, one had to either do the get-it-over-with plunge or do the slow-step-gasp-wait-step-gasp-wait emersion technique. No matter which way, everybody went in to some degree.
We stopped about 12:30 for lunch, about a half hour later than some of us wanted to, because the boats in front were racing and trying to starve the rest of us to death, and we dined under a metal fishing shed complete with large wasp nests. By Emory's GPS we had already made about 6. 8 miles of progress on an 11 mile trip, I told you they were racing (maybe their brains were cooked). Before taking off again after a half hour stop, we did some more wading for safety's sake (and because it felt good and it was fun).
After lunch, the sun was more directly overhead, stealing our shade and the river was wider, so we practiced our sweating; some of us got very good at it. We stopped once more before 2 PM for another cool-down, and then it was a short run to the take-out at Fair Bluff.
Fair Bluff has built a boardwalk alongside the river for a very long distance upstream and we began to encounter local folks who used the boardwalk as an easy access to sandy banks on the river. The river had a lot of folks soaking up the coolness, you will be hard pressed to find a better way to waste a Saturday. The boardwalk includes some shelters with tables and at one point on the river, a large family group was picnicking on the boardwalk and swimming in the river.
We were off the river by 3 PM, loaded up and headed home, happy to have spent the day, hot as it was, on a beautiful river with good friends and a pleasant current.
And as far as WE KNOW, we didn't cook our brains. Although, Emory Sadler did want me to let all of you know that the river was indeed free of icebergs