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What's Drifting

  • Out With the Old...
    Here we are at the closing of another year Many people I suspect are ready to put 2017 behind them E... read more
  • Just Chill
    At what temperature is it too cold to go paddling The answer of course is subjective It all depends ... read more
  • On Black Friday
    It was Black Friday and I was far from scoring any discounted shopping specials I was kayak camping ... read more

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On White Water

It might be stating the obvious, but there are no significant white water rivers in Southeastern, North Carolina. The Haw might be an exception, but since I've never paddled it I can't speak to it directly.  Many rivers are dependent on rain fall to replenish or maintain water levels. The Black and the Lumber are the two that most easily come to mind. The water levels in these two rivers can vary widely in a short space of time. At one end they can become so shallow you spend more time walking then paddling certain sections. We got to see the extreme opposite end of the spectrum last September, when Hurricane Matthew pumped up both rivers to historic levels. I've paddled the Black at flood stage, and it's not something I would suggest doing. But...it is the closest you get to white water in our neck of the woods. The normal 8 mile run time from Ivanhoe to Beatty's Bridge is approximately 3 hours without stops. At flood stage it took half that time. It's a fun run down river, though a bit disconcerting because the normal flow and look of the river are changed drastically. The landmarks you are used to seeing, down trees, beaches and the like, have temporarily disappeared giving the river a very different feel. As I write this we are under a flood advisory for New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties. The Black was running low when I paddled it a few weeks back, but it won't be running low for long. Once the run off discharges into the river we get to witness a Jekyll and Hyde transformation and a short lived shot at a little white water. 

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Here we are at the closing of another year. Many people, I suspect, are ready to put 2017 behind them. Even if you don't believe in making New Year's resolutions, most everyone approaches the new year...

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Scott Schmolesky has been kayaking for over 20 years and has been an instructor the last ten. Most recently he started the outfitter and guide service, The Expedition Organization which offers guided kayak programs in Southeastern, North Carolina. His paddling adventures have taken him through Australia, Europe, and throughout the U.S. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can read more of his articles here.

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