Thursday, March 12, 2009

Smith Creek

Paddled Smith Creek with Mike and his pal Pete this afternoon despite the chill and wind. We launched from Kerr Ave and wove our way to the Cape Fear River to the takeout at the foot of Castle St. The first section is pretty and quiet until you get to the airport, where it's interesting to watch the planes land since the creek is perpindicular to the runway and they pass overhead at very low altitude. The next section mostly consists of winding back and forth under the MLK bypass, which means that you're very aware of your proximity to traffic and civilization. We poked into Burnt Mill Creek as far as we could and paddled through another little marsh creek. Along the way there were belted kingfishers, laughing gulls, ring-billed gulls, a great blue heron, turkey vultures, cormorants, great egret, a couple of osprey (first sighting this year), and a little blue heron (the highlight of the trip, my second in the area, my third ever). We were about 3 hours on the water, covering about 10 miles. I'm glad I got out, but I'm not sure I would padde it again. Because of the bypass there is a significant portion of the paddle that you're listening to trucks rumbling down the highway. Part of the reason I paddle is to get away from all that, and there's plenty more remote waterways to explore. I'm experimenting with nutrition and energy food for longer paddles (which today was not). Today I ate a Clif Bar on the way to the launch and snacked on Jelly Belly Sport Beans (orange flavor) along the paddle. I like the jelly beans for keeping energy up along the way. A bag is 100 calories, about 15 beans. I just popped a few every thirty minutes or so and that seemed to keep me going without any fatigue. They're a keeper. Today was the first time in a week I drove my car because I've been riding my bike more consistently in the warmer weather. That, friends, is a beautiful thing.

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