Paddling another cleared secton of the White Oak on Wed., Nov.3rd, 2004

Under our grant the section from Gibson Bridge (the first bridge above Maysville) to the camp ground at Rte 17 is now cleared of blown down trees which obstructed free paddling of the river.

We will meet at 9:00 at the camp ground and set up shuttle. This will be a shorter trip than usual.

Our club meeting is at 7:00. Out of towners are welcome to come to my house for food and a shower. Elmer

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Paddling First Phase of White Oak River Cleared

On Wednesday, October 27, 2004 Brian Leavy, new President of the Crystal Coast Canoe & Kayak Club, from Pine Knoll Shores, Marie Justen from Spooners Creek, Gary Scruggs from Newport, Robert Welden from Morehead City, William Stanley from Hubert, Dale Weston from Jacksonville and the writer from Swansboro had the pleasure of paddling the White Oak River without the obstructions of blown down trees.

This is due to the $40,000 grant made possible by the North Carolina Division of Water Resources and by Jones County. We paddled the first section just completed from Route 17 to Haywood Landing today.

We had excellent weather. “Picture Post Card” views existed around every bend in the river. Fall wildflowers, wild chrysanthemums and “bottle brush plants” and bushes, that looked like snow, were prevalent and beautiful and added to the enjoyment of our paddle. Ducks flew up ahead of us and a great blue heron got out of our way. .

As is usual with all paddle trips of The Stewards of The White Oak River Basin, wherever we paddle, we pick up all litter and trash. Clare Brock: Please add this to your report to Big Sweep for 2004. We understand you can do this up to Nov. 2. We could not have made this trip without the removal of the trees blocking the river which was made possible by the Jones County Grant, so this credit to Big Sweep should go to Jones County. .

We thank the State of North Carolina and Larry Meadows, Jones County Manager, and The Commissoners of Jones County for making this possible. There are many more beautiful paddling streams that need to be opened like this to paddling. Tourism would increase tremendously if they were opened up like this. Croatan Forest alone has several such streams which could make lovely wilderness canoe trails.

We look forward to the completion of the next two phases on the White Oak and we will then have a 40 mile or more trail from our Big Cypress near the headwaters of the White Oak all the way to the ocean at Bogue Inlet.

One word of caution, at current water level, we bumped rocks lightly in the rapids under the old railroad trestle and at the ledge just below the rapids as you enter the lakes we scraped bottom. You can avoid this by keeping close up to the extreme left bank here. At higher water levels this does not happen. .

Accident on the Haw, A Near Death Experience

Many of you know Paul from his paddles with us and as author of his guide book, “Paddling Eastern North Carolina”.Before his accident he was to join The Crystal Coast Canoe & Kayak Club on a paddle lead by Missy Tenhet in Pamlico County. He was to speak at our October meeting in Morehead City and paddle with the Stewards of The White Oak River Basin the next day over to Bear Inlet.On October 23rd he was to speak at the annual fund raising dinner in Jacksonville of the New River Foundation.Paul is recovering nicely from this terrible accident. Here is his story in his own words. We all look forward to paddling with you again Paul. Elmer—————————————————————-Elmer, The White Oak River TrashmanStewards of the White Oak River BasinPlease visit: www.whiteoakstewards.org————————————————————————————————————————————- Original Message —– From: “Paul Ferguson” <paul@paulferguson.us>To: <CCClist@YahooGroups.com>Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 4:59 PMSubject: [CCC] Accident On The Haw River>> Accident On The Haw River: A Near Death Experience> by Paul Ferguson>> I paddle my canoe into the bank just above the dam. I have trouble> getting the bow beached. I make a couple of more attempts but fail to> realize the stern is swinging slightly with the current. Pete is> already on the bank scouting the road to use as a portage path. He> sees my trouble and runs down the hill. Suddenly there is a moment of> horror as I realize that the stern has reached the fast water at the> lip of the 15-foot dam. It is a sheer vertical drop with little water> and many boulders below. I take quick forward strokes, but I am> overpowered. I look straight at Pete and he looks intensely at me.> I’m out of his reach and in the grasp of the current. Nothing can be> done. There is no time for even a word. I am descending backwards to> probable death.>> It is September 29, 2004. Pete Peterson and I decide to take> advantage of the recent heavy rain and paddle some river sections we> have never seen. I had previously paddled all of the Haw River> downstream from the NC 87 bridge at Altamahaw. In the past year, the> state established Haw River State Park. One of their primary areas> of interest is land along the Haw near its headwaters. This part of> the river is not run frequently and is likely to contain downed> trees. High water will help us maneuver around trees and make the> journey easier. This watershed includes the headwaters of the Haw> River, Troublesome, and Little Troublesome Creeks. It drains less> than 200 square miles, and there are no gauges. Reedy Fork and> Buffalo Creek empty into the Haw downstream of where we will paddle> today. My guess is we have about 700 cubic feet per second of flow at> our put-in.>> We meet at 9 a.m. and decide to run from the NC 150 bridge, in> Rockingham County seven miles southeast of Reidsville, to the NC 87> bridge at Altamahaw, a 12-mile trip. I am not sure we can make this> distance since we have no recent reports of paddling conditions. We> decide to divide our day into two runs. The first leg is from the NC> 150 bridge to Troxler Mill Road (Guilford County 2711) bridge. If> time is available, the shuttle will be reset and the second leg will> be from Troxler Mill Road to NC 87.>> We are paddling canoes. I am in a 16-foot Mad River Explorer, my> preferred flatwater boat. Pete paddles a 15-foot Dagger Legend. The> water is up, but not out of its banks. It is about 50 feet wide, and> I cannot touch the bottom of the riverbed with my paddle. Current is> generally less than two miles per hour. I am just where I want to be> – exploring a new stream in beautiful weather and good company. There> are many river birch and sycamore trees hanging over the river. At> times the banks rise to 40 feet and have mountain laurel. We are> making good time as we slide over many downed trees that will require> portage when water is lower. Just upstream of Troxler Mill Road> bridge, there is on old broken rock dam creating a Class 1+ rapid.> Near Brooks Bridge Road is a small but very dangerous dam. The drop> is about three feet, and the river is less than 75 feet wide. A> powerful hydraulic extends for six feet in front of the dam. We> easily avoid it by landing on the left bank and carrying around the> dam to put-in below. The hydraulic today will capture anything it> touches. We reset the shuttle by dropping my van at the NC 87 bridge> and get back on the water at 1:30 p.m.>> Near the end of our trip, a horizon line marks the 15-foot Glen Raven> Mills Dam, a few hundred feet upstream of the NC 87 bridge. We pass> the sluice taking water left toward the active mill. At the right> bank, we beach our boats 100 feet before reaching the dam. We start> scouting by slogging through a swampy area, and then go uphill to the> right side of the dam. It seems that someone’s yard is to the right.> Barbed wire fencing is strung across the path, but there is enough> room to get a canoe under it. Below the dam, we would have to> descend down to the river and then go back uphill to reach my van at> the bridge. This right side could be portaged, but we think there> may be an easier path on the left side of the dam.>> The bank on the left side above the dam does not go straight to the> dam. About 10-15 feet before reaching the dam, the bank cuts inward> for maybe 30-40 feet. Pete goes first and paddles carefully into the> narrow channel leading to left bank. I follow with an uneasy feeling> about how close this path is taking me to the edge of the dam. There> is little flow affecting my boat as I paddle past the upstream side> of the land in the narrow channel. Everything is going well.> Paddling to beach my boat near Pete’s canoe, I cannot make my bow> stick to ground. I take another shot and try to power into the low> bank, but again I get no purchase on the ground. Pete is scouting> the road on the left side of the bank, and I see him returning. I> make another attempt to land my boat and think the bow sticks. I get> up to walk forward in a crouch, but the effort sends my boat back> from the bank. I paddle again but do not immediately notice a slight> current catching my stern and swinging it toward the dam. I paddle> harder and harder as Pete runs down the bank because he sees that I> am getting into trouble. Suddenly there is a moment of horror. I> realize the current at the lip of the dam is rapidly accelerating my> stern. I am 10 feet away from Pete. We lock eyes and each knows> that nothing can be done. There seems to be a bright light> illuminating the scene. I’m sure the bright light was in my mind from> the focus of all my mental faculties on dire consequences of the> situation.>> A 15-foot drop these days is commonly run by very skilled paddlers> under excellent conditions. Excellent conditions require a deep pool> of water, a lack of rocks, and no hydraulics. There were no such> places along this dam today, but the left side was especially low and> rocky. No paddler would attempt this run.>> I am being swept backwards over the dam. It all happens in just a> few seconds. I feel the canoe surge and start to drop. I feel my> body hitting something as I am thrown out of the canoe and go> underwater. I do not know what or how I hit. My body is thrashed as> violent forces play themselves out. I come up from underwater next> to my canoe and grab a gunnel while standing on the bottom in about> four feet of water. The canoe is about 10 feet out from the dam and> partially pinned by a large rock. A rocky peninsula is just on the> other side of the canoe. Water flows out to the right to the main> channel downstream. I try to walk but something is wrong. There> seems to be a log between my legs preventing them from moving. Using> my hand, I push down to free it. The log is my left leg, broken> somewhere above and the knee, a
nd now dangling in the current. Pete> is scrambling down the bank. He is relived to see me alive after> expecting to be on a body recovery mission. He quickly stabilizes> the boat from the downstream side, and tells me to try to make it to> his side. I manage to use my good leg and the gunnels to work my way> around the canoe, close to Pete. He takes me by the shoulders and> slowly pulls me up on the small rocky peninsula. I am laying face up> at a 45-degree angle, looking straight at the dam where I just came> over.>> Pete formulates a plan to get me out by paddling the few hundred feet> to the bridge. I tell him I am injured too badly to assist in my> rescue. My leg is swelling, the pain is coursing through me, and I> know I have injured my neck because of pain when I move it. I tell> Pete to call for rescue and give him instructions on where my cell> phone is stowed. He takes the phone and goes uphill to place the> call. When he is gone, I realize my cell phone has a security code,> preventing its use until entered. I expect to see him return for the> code, but he finds a store near the bridge and calls the rescue> squad. He leaves instructions at the store on how to find me and> comes running back. I am still lying on my back staring at the dam.> My camera in its waterproof case is still strapped to my chest. I> raise it to take a picture of the scene in front of me, but I can see> nothing through the viewfinder. The camera case is wet, and the spray> from the dam is keeping it wet. I have nothing to dry it, so I give> up on photography.>> The rescue squads seem to arrive within minutes. My leg is swelling> and pain is increasing. It must be about 75 degrees and sunny, but I> am wet and losing body heat. I shiver uncontrollably. The rescue> squad guys try to start an IV into my arms, but they are having> trouble hitting a vein. They shoot me with some morphine to ease the> pain and tell me that Duke Hospital is sending a helicopter. It is> only minutes later that I see a helicopter pass over the river. They> put me on a stretcher. The medics from the Duke helicopter team> arrive and assist getting me up the hill to the road. They place me> in a truck and drive a short distance to a field where the helicopter> has landed. They transfer me to the helicopter and tell me it is> only a 12-minute flight to Duke.>> We are landing on the pad at the hospital, and I am being wheeled> into the emergency room and given over to the trauma team. The X-> rays, CAT scans, and MRIs begin. The neurosurgeons find that I have> cracked two vertebrae in my neck (C2 and C7). They say the forces I> experienced could have easily snapped my neck and severed my spinal> cord. Why it did not was just a matter of luck. To stabilize my> neck and allow the cracks to heal, they install a halo. The halo> fits around the forehead and locks to my head with four screws that> penetrate the skull slightly. The halo has bars extending down my> back and chest. The bars are strapped to vest fitted tightly to my> chest. It must remain in place at least two months.>> All the testing for neurological damage delays repair of my leg.> After two days, my leg operation is scheduled. This operation> involves a long incision to insert a plate over the break in the> femur. The plate is screwed to the bones, and a cable is placed> around the assembly to help strengthen it. My orders are not to put> any weight on the left leg until bone growth starts. This could be> approximately a month after the operation, but only X-rays will tell.> In the meantime, I am able to use a walker to get myself around by> using my arms and my right leg, with just a touch and go for my left> leg. There are some exercises to keep my leg limber, but really> nothing substantial can be done until there is some bone mending.> After a week in the hospital, I am ready to go home to start my> recovery.>> After my accident, when I was whisked away in the helicopter, Pete> transported my canoe, gear, and van to his home. Only a sponge and> hat were lost, and my canoe suffered just a minor dent. Pete called> Len Felton, my friend for more than half of my life. Len notified my> son and mother, and came to the hospital that night to see what he> could do for me. I owe much to Len and Pete for their assistance> during my hospital stay and afterwards. Pete took a room near the> hospital and stayed with me from early morning until night. Pete and> Len took me home, and Pete stayed a couple of days at my house until> my son and mother arrived to start the family nursing care.>> It would be a lot easier on my mind if I could point to some external> cause of the accident – equipment failure, a lightning strike, a> squall. There was none of that. I was simply working too close to> the dam. Why was I doing it? I can only guess that good judgment was> overcome by overconfidence. In hindsight the risk was enormous -> loss of life. The reward almost nonexistent – a few extra minutes> crossing farther upstream and perhaps some muddy shoes. I have been> paddling about 35 years. I have paddled hundreds of rivers, run> thousands of rapids, and portaged countless dams. I know my memory> is not perfect, but I cannot remember in these years ever running a> rapid I did not intend to run or being the least bit out of control> near a dam. Sure I have had my share of messing up rapids, but that> is part of the sport – a calculated risk. Part of this memory must> be somewhat an illusion. There must have been times when I was too> close. That little discomfort I felt when I approached the narrow> channel above Glen Raven Mills Dam was the warning I failed to heed.> I did not put the risk in perspective.>> My prospects for recovery are good. I have been given a second> chance at life by narrowly avoiding spinal damage. In a couple of> months, I hope to have the halo removed and be able to put all my> weight on my left leg. Perhaps I will be back in my canoe by early> next year. As I paddle again, I know there will always be a part of> me still in that moment of horror, being swept over the dam. I plan> to use this recurring memory to never come close.>> When I am able, I want to repeat the trip with Pete. I will give the> dam wide berth, sit on the rocks below the dam where I lay, stare at> the dam, and empty my mind.>> Thanks to all my friends for the cards, notes, and calls wishing me> well. It has meant a lot to me to know you care.>> Paul@PaulFerguson.us>> ——————–>>>>> For help in using or unsubscribing from this list:> http://www.carolinacanoeclub.com/mailing_list.html> Yahoo! Groups Links>> <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ccclist/>> <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:> ccclist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com>> <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:> http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/>>>>

Wednesday Paddle Cancelled. New paddle on 19th

Due to rainy forecast for Wednesday we are cancelling that days paddle.

On October 19, 2004 we are teaming up with Izaak Walton League to clean Stella Road. We meet at Boondocks, next to the Post Office in Stella at the bridge at 9:00.

We will clean the road in the morning and paddle Webb creek in the afternoon.

Pam e-mails, “I miss you Guys”. We miss you too, Pam. Elmer was written up in the Charlotte Observer on September 25th in a feature they publish every year. It is entitled, “Guardians of the Environment”. He was one of nine people listed along with pictures.

Joanne and Missy lead trip on Brices’ Creek. Please give us your trip report. How far up could you paddle? We need to encourage Croatan to open up the upper reaches of this creek by removing the blown down trees. This will make a beautiful paddle trail!

Please, everybody, join us and Izaak Walton League on the 19th at 9:00 at Boondocks for a litter free White Oak River Watershed. This is also in cooperation with NCDOT to help get this road in their Adopt-A-Highway program by the local residents.

They have started today to clear all blowdowns on the upper White Oak.This is our $40000. grant going to work. A lot of you contributed to this effort back in the spring and thus made the grant money go further. Thank you one and all!

Hopefully we will soon be able to paddle the White Oak River all the way!

—————————————————————-Elmer, The White Oak River TrashmanStewards of the White Oak River BasinPlease visit: www.whiteoakstewards.org cell phone 910-389-4588——————————————————————————————————————————–

Paddling Wednesday, October 13, 2004, Bogue Sound

Nobody showed up for this trip last week so I am rescheduling for this coming Wednesday. Please let me know you are coming so I dont go over there again for nothing.

Now it is Carteret County time for Big Sweep. We will kick it off with a paddle this Thursday, the 7th. Jimmie of Island Harbor Marina has given us permission to use his facilities to launch our boats. We will meet there at 9:00 and leave our shuttle vehicles there. To get there from the Emerald Isle Bridge go to third stop light at CVS Pharmacy and turn left. Past car wash on right bear left on Old Ferry Road to the marina. We will meet there at 9:00 and leave shuttle vehicles and drive to Island Riggs.

Ray, of Island Riggs, has given us his permission to use his facilities. Both these locations are shown on Crystal Coast Canoe & Kayak Club map of Bogue Sound. Island Riggs is at the border line of Indian Beach on 24.

We will hug the shore line all the way. The trash is along the high tide line This will be the very first time we have done the south shore of Bogue Sound. We will report results of our pick up to Big Sweep Coordinator of Carteret County,Sonya Rogers, sonya_rogers@ncsu.edu

All our paddles up to November 2 will count toward Big Sweep this year.

On future trips we will continue on until we have paddled every foot of every shore line in The White Oak River Basin. It is one of our States’ smallest basins. When it is done by kayaks and canoes it is huge and extends from Pender County to Pamlico Sound. What adventures we will have!

Paddling Thursday, October 7, 2004, Bogue Sound

Paddling Thursday, Octobr 7, 2004, Bogue Sound

Robert Leclair, one of our Stewards, reports a very successsful clean up in Kinston along the banks of the Neuse River. This was all by land. We need to plan a boat trip here for the river, Bob and Joanne.

Mary Stotesbury, Administrator, Keep Onslow Beautiful and Cordinator for Big Sweep in Onslow County reports a very successful clean up with 297 participating. Many of our Stewards and members of The New River Foundation participated there.

Now it is Carteret County time for Big Sweep. We will kick it off with a paddle this Thursday, the 7th. Jimmie of Island Harbor Marina has given us permission to use his facilities to launch our boats. We will meet there at 9:00 and leave our shuttle vehicles there. To get there from the Emerald Isle Bridge go to third stop light at CVS Pharmacy and turn left. Past car wash on right bear left on Old Ferry Road to the marina. We will meet there at 9:00 and leave shuttle vehicles and drive to Island Riggs.

Ray, of Island Riggs, has given us his permission to use his facilities. Both these locations are shown on Crystal Coast Canoe & Kayak Club map of Bogue Sound. Island Riggs is at the border line of Indian Beach on 24.

We will hug the shore line all the way. The trash is along the high tide line This will be the very first time we have done the south shore of Bogue Sound. We will report results of our pick up to Big Sweep Coordinator of Carteret County,Sonya Rogers.

On future trips we will continue on until we have paddled every foot of every shore line in The White Oak River Basin. It is one of our States’ smallest basins. When it is done by kayaks and canoes it is huge and extends from Pender County to Pamlico Sound. What adventures we will have!

We urge all others to organize clean up trips all over Carteret for Big Sweep day Saturday the 9th and report to Sonya. Phone, 252-222-6359, e-mail: sonya_rogers@ncsu.edu

Saturday, the 9th, is also The Mullett Festival in Swansboro, in Onslow County. Last year Stewards entered Big Red in the Parade with canoes on top and Izaak Walton League “Don’t Litter” signs all over the truck and the canoes. This year’s entry is shown in the picture with Snow White replacing Big Red.

Do what you can for Big Sweep. Pick up litter where ever you are. Keep America Beautiful.

Elmer

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