River Clearing Trip - Wednesday August 31, 2011, Lumber River
- Evidently, a chainsaw makes the river longer. Five of us ran a river clearing trip today on Section 3 of the Lumber River, McGirts Bridge to NC 71 near Maxton in Robeson County. It took us about 6 1/2 hours to cut about 25 trees out of the river, enough to make a reasonable passage for the average paddler.
We hit some really big trees, too. Omer Register and Jim McDermott cut through a pine tree that was all of 30 inches in diameter, that's as big as a tire on an 18 wheeler. We cut a couple more that were in excess of 20 inches, but we were able to make a good path down this beautiful section.
The river level was 6.5 feet at the Maxton guage, and I will call this a minimum level. There would still be a lot of water in the river at lower levels, but the number of bumpover logs will greatly increase. If the river rises a couple of feet above this level, there will be two portages at very large trees that we didn't want to tackle.
Frank Dupin, Omer Register, Jim and Mia McDermott, Andrea Payer and I (mitch lloyd) worked ourselves into near exhaustion, but the beauty of this section is worth it. Omer brought his larger Poulan chainsaw, I brought my two Stihls, Jim's Stihl was still in the shop where it will never wear out. Mia was the boat whisperer, she kept the boats rafted up so they wouldn't leave us. Andrea used a chainsaw with the best of us, but that ain't saying much. She pulled limbs and threw logs out of the river and I saw her shoving a piece of pine log that was easily 5 times her size and mass. Whenever we do a river clearing trip, I want her to go along. Omer never saw a log that he wasn't willing to tackle. Frank gnawed away at limbs with his trusty loppers and both Omer and Frank tackled limbs with their handsaws as well.
We dunked two saws but recovered. In one place, I tripped on an underwater snag with the chainsaw in my hand, but I managed to keep the saw above the water, even though I went under. How did they find Mitch's body? They looked for the chainsaw sticking up out of the water; save the chainsaw, we can find other fools to use it.
We coined a new term for water depths today, something we called Big Eye Deep. This is when you are walking in the river and the bottom suddenly falls out from under you and you drop in to your neck, when it happens your eyes will suddenly get real big. The people who observe say it's real funny to see.
This section is now open for business, it makes a very pleasant 5.5 mile trip that likely can be down in about 3 hours. If you put in at the Stevens Mill Water Intake Structure on River Road (part of Section 2) you can add another 3 miles to make an 8.5 mile trip. Add it to your bucket list.