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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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Feels Like Fall

It's starting to feel like Fall. October 1st arrived and it was as if a seasonal switch had been flipped. We went from the summer like conditions of late September to the clear, dry and cool temps of October, literally over night.  Returning to our Fall paddle preview, I'd like to focus on the black water rivers for the next couple of entries. The Lumber, Black, and Waccamaw Rivers are similar to one another in many ways. All three boast natural and scenic sections of river, ideal for paddle excursions. They are particularly attractive destinations in the Fall. This has much to do with the foliage change as we make our way from October into November. The banks of all three rivers host a variety of deciduous and coniferous trees. Pine, bald cypress, and oak provide a mixed canopy of trees, with some losing leaves and others remaining evergreen. As the deciduous trees go through their seasonal change, the reds, golds, and yellows provide a striking contrast to the dark waters below. It has the appearance of a fire works display flipped upside down. Each river is well worth paddling in the Fall. In terms of accessibility, the Lumber might be the easiest put in and take out. There are several public access options, with one of the most popular starting at Lumber River State Park and taking out in the town of Fair Bluff. This is a 12 mile point to point down river paddle. Depending on water levels, it might take any where from 3 to 4 hours to float. Most of this paddle is natural and scenic with very little development along the banks. Bear, deer, and a variety of bird life can be spotted along this stretch of the Lumber. At lower levels, there are plenty of sandy beaches at which to pull off for a water break or picnic. Checking water levels prior to launching is essential, as at very low levels you may hit many a snag or down fall. At higher levels the main channel can be difficult to discern, making navigation tricky. With a little planning, a Fall float down the Lumber can be a magical experience! Next week we check out the Black! 

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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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