Culbrerth Campsite, Butterflies, and Beer
- After paddling the McGirts Bridge to NC 71, Section 3, I wanted to see Lumber
River State Park's Culbreth Canoe Campsite on Section 7. It is only a mile
upstream from the take-out on Rowe Road. Omer, always looking for a way to
increase his paddling mileage, decided to accompany me. We were not sure if
there would be a lot of blockages, but we were able to paddle upstream without
any problems. There were signs of a few recent log cuts.
The campsite is on a one-acre peninsula, with flat ground and up about 8 feet
above water. It is equipped with a picnic table and fire-ring. The best landing
is on sloping sand at the tip of the peninsula. From the site, there is a view
of the river on two sides, but it was marred by a lot of trash, mainly beer
cans and beer bottles scattered on the ground. It appears people have been
coming here via a small drive/trail. We walked along the trail leading up the
river. It passed boundary markers for the state park, but we saw no signs
saying that people walking in cannot use the area. After a few hundred yards,
we turned back. Checking the aerial maps later, the path appears to come from
the end of a road adjacent to Deep Branch Elementary School. I'll call the
state park and see if there's anything they can do to keep out the trashy, land
Omer asked me to post a report about our trip because he does not have computer
access. I doubt he knew I would include his story.
Before paddling back, we sat at the campsite picnic table. I drank water and
complained about being surrounded by beer litter without a cold one in my hand.
Omer said, "I bought the first beer of my life recently at age 80." I forgot
about my longing and asked him to continue. "I found a can of beer on a river,
took it home, and poured it on the ground before throwing away the can. Soon
the beer soaked area was swarming with yellow swallowtail butterflies. For days
they were all over the ground where I poured the beer. It was so pretty that
when they left, I went to the store, bought a single can of beer, and poured it
on the ground. The butterflies did not return - not a single one."
I asked if the old beer had any fizz when he opened it. He said no, it was
flat. I have no experience with giving beer to butterflies, so when I came home
I asked the great oracle in the cloud. WikiHow says: "Do you think butterflies
are only attracted by the sweet smell of flowers? Wrong! This recipe works just
as well owing to the sugary, ethanol delight that is beer. And it's a fantastic
way to use up stale beer after the party!"
I reflected on the state of the world, butterflies, and beer. Sober reflection
often produces little, at least for me, and this session was no exception. I
popped a cold one and came up with this: Plant a butterfly bush to attract
butterflies. They do not need beer. Never let your beer go stale. Never give
one to Omer.