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Hannah's Creek trip, 2/29/04

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  • jimdepree
    Persistent clumps of snow still clung to road and riverside as six paddlers and one dog met at Mickey Dee s in Benson for a bissextile paddle (and you thought
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 29, 2004
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      Persistent clumps of snow still clung to road and riverside as six
      paddlers and one dog met at Mickey Dee's in Benson for a bissextile
      paddle (and you thought this was a family oriented club). On this
      quadrennially unique day the temperature climbed up out of the 30's
      to hit the mid-sixties by lunchtime. Just after the 11:00 put-in at
      Parker Bridge on Juniper Church Road, one of our party lodged his
      boat onto a stump and went for an inadvertent swim. After accepting a
      volunteered replacement shirt, he opted to head on with the trip
      anyway. In spite of this inauspicious encounter with snow
      melt, the 7.3 mile trip only got better. The sky went from mackerel
      to unclouded with negligible wind making for gradual stripping away
      the layers of fleece as the trip progressed. The snow melt made for
      clear, high water with lilie pads visible about 3 feet below the
      surface. Although the stream was over its banks, there was a readily
      discernible current throughout the course of the trip and the tree
      fall encountered could be easily circumnavigated. Two beaver dams
      sufficient to require running broke the surface but only by a foot or
      two. The heron rookery located about .4 miles above Hockaday Bridge
      was not active with young this time of year although about a half
      dozen adult heron were spotted in the area. Other wildlife included a
      barred owl, who flew out and inspected us from a branch over the
      stream, a pileated woodpecker, wood ducks, mallards, Canada geese,
      turkey vultures, various song birds, and turtles. The stream is
      bordered by swamp forest with occasional high ground piney woods,
      farm land, and cow pastures.

      Below Lee Bridge some barbed wire crossed the best channel to river
      right. I limboed it in two spots while the others had the good sense
      to go around. Barbed wire also fenced off all the decent landings on
      river right from there to downstream from Cooper-Thompson road so we
      chose to take out at that road for lunch. There was relatively
      little traffic to annoy us and it represented the only easily
      accessible high ground. Mary found a goat skull at the lunch stop
      which she sported as a figurehead for her boat the rest of the
      trip. In the final section leading up to the takeout at Barefoot
      Bridge on US 701 there are several large islands making for multiple
      channels to explore. It is said that on an island in this swamp the
      swinging bodies of Yankee marauders, caught and hung near the end of
      the war, could still be seen on moonlit nights
      (http://ncghosts.batcave.net/swamp.htm). I looked for good hanging
      trees but didn't see any. Night paddle anyone?

      We took out about 3 PM with a 3 hour 15 minute paddling time. Along
      on today's float were leader, Charles West, Tom, Mary, and Conan
      Florian, Frank Dupin, Chris Murphy, and myself.
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