Addendum to Trip Report
- I was totally remiss in not mentioning that Andy Kurtzman was one of our hardy paddlers yesterday on the Lumber ice breaking expedition. It should have been hard to miss him in his optical orange sweater and black felt fedora, but he WAS uncharacteristically quiet (and did not have his camera). Sorry, Andy . . . or is it Artie?
- I sometimes hear people say that Hurricane Matthew was not much of a wind event around here, but if you go out into the forests around Fort Bragg, you will get a good idea of what the combination of 15 inches of rain in a 24 hour period and 50-60 mph wind gusts can do to 100 foot trees. All along Vass Road from Spring Lake to our put-in on Morrison Bridge Road, we saw downed pines (which, btw, should have clued us in to the challenges ahead on our trip). The power of wind and root loosening rains was on display.
And if you can't visualize how much water is dropped in a hurricane like Matthew, go out on the Lower Little River and look up in the still standing trees along the banks and see the debris twenty feet overhead, including whole tree trunks. Fifteen inches does not seem like a whole lot, but when it's collected over dozens of square miles and drained into a Piedmont stream with no surrounding swamps to trap the excess water, the effect is amazing.
Despite the hardships we encountered on the river yesterday, I considered it a good day on the water (my shoulders and back may disagree with that assessment). The beauty of that stream will lure me back in the not-so-distant future (with a chainsaw next time), and the fellowship of shared pain and mutual concern and assistance has only served to strengthen the bonds of friendship with the club members who were brave (foolish?) enough to join me on this paddle trip.