Aimee and I ran section 9 of the South River with friends today. We couldn't have asked for nicer weather in mid-December, with highs in the lower 60's. There was a little wind, but you'd never know it on the water because of the protection afforded by the forest and banks. This is the same section that we did for the BFE 1 last February, though the water level was roughly double this time, which sped things up and reduced our time on the water to roughly 4 hours including a 30 minute lunch stop. Soup in a thermos, btw, makes an excellent lunch on cool winter paddles. The put-in (on NC Hwy. 41 near 210) was much better than it was in Feb. (due to the higher river level) and the take out (Ennis Bridge Rd Wildlife Ramp) was excellent; shuttle minor. There were a couple of little strainers, but we never had to portage. We saw a young deer swim across after we flushed him out of a canebrake and I saw my first white-breasted nuthatch. There were occasional turkey vultures perched in trees, waiting for a kayaker to go keel up I guess, and red-bellied woodpeckers darting around, but little visible wildlife otherwise. I'm sure we scared plenty off, but that's to be expected with a group of ten. I'd like to do some of these blackwater (it's actually rusty red from the tannin in the leaves, but super-clear) trip with a smaller group for better nature watching. I'd kill to see a bear out there sometime. Still, it was nice to paddle with familiar folks as well as meet a few new people. Thanks to the Geezer for setting this up. The man is an encyclopedia of local knowledge and an adept at picking proper trips for given tide/conditions.
3 weeks ago