Cowhorn Creek, June 26, 2004
I have often said, every paddle is different. Today proved it. I did not plan this paddle. Brian Wheat of New River Foundation did.
So, I was late getting there. Everyone had left. I have never been late before. I did have to go to Mike Banks in Belgrade to get a come-a-along, but that is a poor excuse. I knew I had to do that and should have allowed for the time necessary.
While I was launching my canoe a man came paddling up stream in a kayak to take out. It was It was John Althouse of the Daily News. We floated and talked and he took pictures. We had a long talk about littering and trashing of our lands and waters and how to stop it.
When I paddled on down Cowhorn Creek it was more beautiful than ever. The lush new green growth was every where. There was absolutely no trash starting out for me. I did pick up one beer can. The others before me did a good job.
I came to a beaver dam. It had been opened up. That is, there was a torrent of water flowing though it so I just cruised down over it in a rapid which was delightful.
Soon, I came upon another rapid through another beaver dam. Who says we do not have rapids in eastern Carolina? The beavers make them for us..We just have to open a gap in them and voila, we have a rapid!
This is when I realized I had left Mike’s come-along in my truck. So, I turned around and paddled back up to get it. Well, if you are paddling up stream, a beaver dam in place is far better than a beaver dam with a torrent of water rushing through an opening.
I tried every conceivable maneuver to paddle up and over the dam. I almost made in several attempts. Then I got out of my canoe. And pulled it up over the dam . And, lo and behold, I got in and went back down through the rapids backwards.
So, the next time I grounded the canoe on land after pulling it over again. Then I got in it and successfully left that beaver dam behind me.
Fortunately the next beaver dam was not as difficult to paddle through up stream and I made it on the second attempt.
When I got back to the launch area at Steed’s Park there was a young couple launching their canoe with a lovely blond, girl child in the middle. They were in a precarious position The front end of the canoe was in the water with Mamma and the rear was high up on land.
You know about tippee canoes. Under these circumstances you may as well try to balance on a tight rope. I suggested that they try to launch it side ways and close to the shore. They made an adjustment almost to this point and he got in and they were off. .
Went up and got Mike’s come-along and I paddled on after them hoping they were all right. I shot down over the beaver dams and came upon an even bigger, and higher beaver dam Brian and his crew had opened up. This was a real smooth fast rapid.
They had dropped the water level above it so as to expose muddy banks. Heretofore the plush green water weeds came down the the edge.
A mother wood duck jumped up in front of me. She must have had young nearby as she did not fly. She fluttered along the water in front of me thus distracting me from her babies which I never saw anyway. She did this around several bends and then she took off and flew back up stream to her babies.
Soon I over took the young couple with the lovely blond girl child. They were dong fine and seemed to be really enjoying their cruise. Their daughter was happy too, and I could hear her long before I over took them.
We exchanged amenities and I went on my way until I came to my favorite cypress on Cowhorn. I could not pass it up and I locked my canoe in place under it and took a picture looking straight up. Hope it comes out good
The young couple came by while I was taking the cypress picture and I tried to get a picture of them too,. But , I had already shut my camera down so that opportunity flowed by.
Not long after that I caught up with the group. They had already had their lunch. They were scattered over the river downstream. They used chain saws and come-alongs and choppers and hand saws. They played leap frog over each obstacle blocking the river.
Somewhere along the paddle I did get a picture of the young couple in the canoe with the pretty little girl . She would not cooperate in taking the picture but later she hollered at me affectionaly as they went by. I had given them my card and I will send them the picture.
We went by the gruesome, astounding, unbelievable, monstrous limestone formations. One was dragon like which looked as if it was reaching out to grab us. Soon we were in the New River. The New River water was clear. The Cowhorn water was muddy perhaps from all the work they did.
This is when Brian Wheat announced that we had a free ride home from here. I loved this as I have told paddlers the same thing. They tease me to this day that it is never around the next bend as I predicted.
Yes, we hit strainers on the New River, big ones, tight ones . Brian’s gang were in the water up to their arm pits breaking up those strainers and throwing them up on the banks.
Brian, finally told them to quit. He would get them later Our time was running out.
These folks on this cruise picked up things we had to pass up on our paddles for fun trips. This section of this paddle trail is cleared They literally went over board to do it. Our hats are off to The New River Foundation . You are The Very Best!
This trip also picked up “Paddles”. This has never happened before. A lovely docile kitten. Found on the banks away from nowhere. At the take out he was missing again! A diligent search finally found him under the seat. This is bound to be the most unusual find on a trash and river clean up trip ever made. Big Sweep, take note.
One of our quick heavy rain showers came up and all joked about getting wet as they stood in water up to their arm pits breaking up a strainer on the New River.
This is one of the hardest working groups I ever have had the pleasure of being with on the river. They are New River Foundation folks and they are really dedicated to keeping the river trash free and open to paddling for pleasure by the general public.
We owe them our thanks and support. The worst single source of a volume of trash was at North west Bridge. Some are dumping everything off this bridge. A T V. was the big item. . Why not take it to the land fill? Who are you who would do this? You could be fined heavily!
We are a society created for the common good of all. Throwing trash out of our autos and into our rivers has no place in a democratic nation. Please stop it for your own good and avoid being fined.
North Carolina is getting Mean on Clean! Elmer
The tall cypress, looking up
the young couple with the pretty blond daughter src=”http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/images/DCP01139.JPG” />
part of the group at the takeout with the tools, and trash