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What's Drifting

  • The Pages Creek Preserve
    The cleared lot on Middle Sound Loop was nothing unusual I d seen New Hanover County trucks parked t... read more
  • Quality over Quantity
    Quality over Quantity That s what was written on the dry erase board at the YMCA Pool I would stare ... read more
  • Something in the Water
    The water quality of the Cape Fear River was a major concern in 2017 There is no doubt that it will ... read more

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Onto the Black

Continuing my Fall paddle series, I would like to take you on a virtual tour of the Black River. The Black is one of those river gems that remains relatively unexplored. It truly lives up to it's title as natural and scenic, and you may not even see another boater while paddling certain sections. One of the more popular routes begins at the public access in Ivanhoe and takes out at Beatty's Bridge. This is an 8 mile point to point, down river paddle, meaning you will need to leave one car at the put in, and another at the take out. The majority of the paddle has very little development along the banks, save for a few houses. One of the main reasons paddlers are drawn to the Black, are the ancient bald cypress trees that can be found along its banks. The oldest of the old can be found in the Three Sisters channel, with some trees estimated to be upwards of 1500 years in age! Three Sisters is accessible about 8 miles below the take out at Beatty's, and can be tricky to navigate. It's wise to bring along some one who has paddled this section before. Another great aspect of the Black, is what's not there. Silence can be experienced in abundance, with the only sounds being bird life in the trees overhead, or the occasional fish jumping out of the water. River otter, deer, wild turkey, and Bard Owl have been spotted along this stretch of the Black. Depending on water levels, tree fall and logs submerged in the Black can be a factor during paddling. A short portage may be necessary in a few spots, but it's almost always an easy drop back onto the River. Once you reach Beatty's, the take out is on your right, just below the bridge. This might be the most strenuous part of the paddle, as you need to carry your boats up a small embankment to the road. Its a small price to pay for a serene down river paddle on one of the prettiest rivers in the state!


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The cleared lot on Middle Sound Loop was nothing unusual. I'd seen New Hanover County trucks parked there over the last few weeks, so I figured it to be some sort of public infrastructure project. A f...


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Experience first hand what it's like to kayak with the Expedition Organization.

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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