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Fall Paddle Destinations

Summer is on the way out. While it's sad to see the days get shorter, the weather in Fall is prime for paddling. In fact, October, November and December are ideal months to paddle in Southeastern, NC. On that note, I'd like to focus the next couple of posts on Fall paddling destinations as well as gear to make your experience safer and more pleasurable. With Summer winding down, waterways that may have been overly busy are seeing less traffic. Just as importantly, access points for put in and take out are seeing much less volume in the Fall. Masonboro Island is an ideal destination for Fall paddling. Trails End Park is a great access point with an easy paddle across the ICW and into the marshes of Masonboro. During the summer months, parking can be an issue. It can also be problematic jockeying for space as you launch off the boat ramp. Trails End does not have a separate canoe/kayak launch, so you share the same ramp with motor boats also. A morning put in will usually mean more parking and less boaters on the ramp. Planning your paddle around the tides is crucial. At high tide you have approximately 4 to 5 feet of water to work with as you pass through the marshes and access Masonboro. At low tide, you have perhaps half to a foot of water, and essentially a mud flat with oyster beds scattered through out. Not a great recipe for paddling. Once you have the tide cycles down, you can access a small beach, and from there a trail through the dunes that takes you to the Atlantic side of the island. If you paddle over on a week day, it may seem as if you have your own private island to explore. Next week we explore Fall paddling on the Black River!


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