2007-12-27 Great Lake, Croatan National Forest

Great Lake in the Coatan National Forest, December 27, 2007
Here we are in this natural wonder of the state of North Carolina, this lake is nearly 3000 acres.
This is the center of the wilderness of Croatan National Forest.
It is is a very shallow lake and canoes and kayaks should avoid it on windy days.
Come with us today and enjoy this fantastic gift of Mother Nature.

Julia Miner of Araphoe is leading the charge onto the lake. We marked the entrance so we could find it on our way back. Doug Toltzman of Hubert used his GPS too and we had compasses. In bad weather do not come here.

Elmer Eddy of Swansboro and Jim Niedermeyer of Hubert getting ready to launch at the end of the six mile dirt road to the lake. We passed scores of deer Hunters with dogs. The largest deer hunt we ever saw. On our way out they told us they shot three deer. Season is all over in a few days.


This is Elmer’s photo of Julia looking across the expanse of the Great Lake. This was taken in the morning, while the water was still calm. (photo by Elmer)

This is our lunch stop. A sandy beach was around the next point! But we had a good time here in the woods. The woods here were actually open so you could walk through them.

Scenes you don’t see anywhere else.

Look at that tree on the right. The water level seems to be about a foot below normal.

A leaning cypress. See the sandy beach in the background.

The vastness is overwhelming. The bottom is hard as rock. Must be a hard clay. We hit it with our paddles as we went along all around he entire lake.

This is a mountain range!

The cypress on this lake are entirely different from what we see on our White Oak River.
They seem to grow on legs! And they seem to be stunted and turned into to grotesque shapes.
We must come back in the springtime and see what the look like then.

These cypress on the north east quadrant of the lake seem to be larger and straiter.

How vast and spacious!

These are way out in the lake far from shore.

More of the same.

They are all over the place on this side of the lake.

Elmer and Jim paddling along. Well, Jim is paddling anyway.


We came on two baby ducks like this. They couldn’t or wouldn’t fly. We saw a whole flock of large ducks. But very little other bird life except for song birds. Sorry, we lost the picture of the immature duck. Maybe we can get it back in later.

Rounding the last point toward the our take out we thought. We got there after three more points.

Julia unloading and our trash collection in the canoe. Yes we picked up two empty Deer Corn bags and a crate and a lounge chair and a few cans and bottles.

With the exception of Elmer’s photo of Julia on the calm water, all of the photos up to this point were take by Doug Toltzman.

It was a most unusual and interesting day on the water. It stayed calm all day.

We are sorry to have to close with a very sad commentary. Litter and trash have found it’s way into this pristine wilderness. There was very little around the lake shoreline being two empty bags of Deer Corn and a plastic crate and a few bottle and cans. A canvas and aluminum lounge
chair,( We bet he was asleep when the ducks came by!).

Most of the trash we picked up today was at the parking area and launching area and dock. We walked down a road to the north and it is lined with trash. This is despicable and needs to be removed. It has no place in this beautiful wilderness, our very own Croatan National Forest.

To add to this, the toilet facilities constructed here have been severely vandalized and is unusable. The door has been shot many times and the door handle has been broken off.

This is a National disgrace. We have got to learn to take care of our very own National Forest.

Here is the GPS plot of our journey. The lake portion of our trip was 9 miles, according to the geosychronous satellites.


Merry Christmas 2007

Elmer’s Christmas tree. A potted Norfolk Pine. Merry Christmas to all.

Up coming events:

2007-12-27, Thursday, Great Lake in Croatan National Forest. We meet at 9:30 at Pap’s Variety Store in Kuhns on Rte 58. This about 8 miles north of Rte 24 and about 10 miles south of Maysville.

We caravan together to Great Lake from there. We plan to be off the water by 3:00

2008-01-01, New Year’s Day, Pettiford Creek, upstream, east of the 58 Bridge. Turn west on Pettiford Road north of the bridge to the ramp on a dirt road at the bottom of the loop. We plan to be off the water by 3:00. And a Happy New Year too! Elmer


2007-12-19 Wallace Creek Camp Lejeune

Only Jim Niedermeyer and Elmer Eddy showed up for this wonderful winter
paddle. We got on the water about 10:00 AM and by this time the
temperature had modified and soon we were on the hot side and
considering taking off a layer of clothing. Come and ride along with us and see what you missed.

This is the lovely mirror like water surface that greeted us at
Gottschalk Marina. It was a beautiful sight to behold and most inviting.
We couldn’t wait to get out there.

Immediately, on the right going upstream we came upon these pieces of

Styrofoam insulation. This is Jim picking them up. There were a few
scattered bottles and cans too. Please, users of this Marina, you should bag your
discards and put them in the dumpster provided.
As we proceeded along the shore upstream the Styrofoam pieces became
more numerous as you can see. Note the clear water and the submerged
tire. We found many tires like this on this paddle as we did on
Northeast Creek. We cannot handle them in our canoes. We will contact
Camp Lejeune authorities and see it they can remove them. We understand
they do have a use for them. Ugly site, isn’t it. It, and the tires, spoil the beauty of this lovely stream.
Below is the source of all these Styrofoam pieces.Sheets of it piled
up on the old barge or floating dock. Storms and high water are breaking
it up and dispersing it all over the shore line. At his writing we have
not been able to contact the Marina.
Here is a happier and entertaining sight. Two pileated woodpeckers
seemed to be playing tag. Perhaps it is mating season. They were chasing
each other round and round this old dead tree going up and down it and
ignoring our presence. They certainly are beautiful birds.

Below was supposed to be a close up of these fascinating birds. They escaped the camera this time!

A very short way upstream we came to the entrance to Beaverdam Creek. We
were able to explore about 1/2 mile up this stream until we hit this
blown down red cedar blocking our further progress. With very little
work this stream could be made navigable. Who knows how far?
We returned to Wallace Creek and continued our upstream progress to
Bearfield Creek. We were able to paddle maybe just short of a mile up
this one until this blown down tree. Again it is obvious we could go
much further with a little clearing. King fishers scolded us and great
blue herons did the same. They sure have an ugly voice.
This is the bridge at Holcomb Boulevard where we ate lunch. It is a very
busy highway! We cleaned up this area of all discards By the time we
finished lunch it was two o’clock. We paddled under the bridge and
turned around to go back so we would get in at our appointed hour of three. We are disappointed we were unable to get to source of Wallace Creek. Without all this discarded trash we could have made it.

We have been up there before. It it beautiful as it narrows down and has high banks. Blown down trees stopped us. We hope some day Camp Lejeune authorities will clear these streams back to their natural state. Wallace Creek actually originates in Starretts Meadows it’s source.

Onslow County now has Grants to clear streams in the County. We hope Camp Lejeune will do the same.

Out lunch stop is very pretty without all the litter, isn’t it?

This pelican allowed us to paddle right under him.
We arrived back at the Marina exactly at three. This is our day’s haul
of trash and litter. Two five gallo
n buckets, many bottles and cans and
lots of broken pieces of Styrofoam and an empty ammo case.
We had a most enjoyable day on the water. With the water being so calm
we could have paddled anywhere on the New River. It is seldom that it is
that way. We probably should have paddled the New River itself and taken advantage of this very calm day on the water.

Many have asked us about paddling Great Lake in Croatan National Forest.
If we get a good no wind day after Christmas we may just do that.
Thanks, Merry Christmas to all. Elmer
Elmer Eddy
Elmer, The White Oak River Trashman
Stewards of The White Oak River Basin
101 River Reach Drive West,
Swansboro, NC. 28584
910-389-4588 e-mail:
Please visit our website: http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/
“If no one litters, there will be no litter!”

2007-12-11 Northeast Creek from the New River to Northeast Creek Park in Jacksonville

We obtained two weeks passes at the Main Gate of Camp Lejeune and drove to Northeast Creek Park where we left Scott’s car for our shuttle vehicle to get us back to Scales Creek in Camp Johnson where we launched our boats.

This is Scott and Jim at the little park on Scales Creek. As you can see by the water, there was no wind. It also was very warm and sunny. A delightful day to paddle in the middle of December.

This is Jim at a picnic table on a sandy beach near the mouth of Scales Creek. This table must have been carried away from the park by high water. There is no access to it here by land. The trash on it was picked up along this pretty beach.

We paddled directly across to Paradise Point. This is an eroding shore line there.

This is a party spot, on this lovely sandy beach between Paradise Point and the Golf Course. We loaded up with trash and litter right here. We found six unopened Bud Lights here. We also left more trash back in the woods where people toss it. We had to move on.

A five gallon pail filled with sand had to be dug out of the beach. We were so loaded with trash we had to unload right here where a road comes down to this picnicking area.

This is Mr. Holman, a crabber. The tide was too low for him to get to his crab pot here so we carried it out to him. There were three or four crabs in it.

This is our lunch stop on a sandy beach past the Golf Course.

This is a view toward the Rte 24 Bridge from our lunch stop. That is an a very old Cypress stump far from our present shore line.

It is now 12:30 and here comes Dale Western from Jacksonville to join us. He was a welcome sight.

These are some of the golf balls we netted as past Paradise Point Golf Course.

Dale arrives clean fresh and happy.

Ghost (abandoned) crab pots.

The Rte 24 bridge as seen from The Naval Hospital area.

Construction under way of The Rails To Trails project using the old railroad bridge.

This is as far as we could paddle up Mott Creek into Midway Park due to these blown down trees. We wonder if a canoe and kayak access exists in Midway Park for the Marines housed there to use.

Here we are at Northeast Creek Park, the end of our paddle today. It is a good thing as we could not carry any more trash.

This is the front deck of Dale’s kayak.

This is the rear deck,.

This is Elmer’s canoe. I could not see where we were paddling. As you know, a canoe is steered from the rear. Jim Niedermeyer had to tell which way to turn.

Several previous trips cleared the west and northern shores of Northeast Creek. Today we cleared the southern and eastern shore line. So, with previous clean up trips on the upper portions we feel Northeast Creek is in pretty good shape.

One exception is tires on this southern and eastern shore line we paddled today. We did not keep count but there must be at least 50. The are on firm sand bottom in very shallow water. They can be picked up by
wading in this shallow and clear water or by shallow draft boats.

We are asking Camp Lejeune to do this. We are also asking them to pick up the trash we left at the end of the road to picnic area between the point and the gulf course and to retrieve the picnic table at the mouth of Scales Creek.

Today’s participants were Scott Brown from Morehead City, Jim Niedermeyer from Hubert, Elmer Eddy from Swansboro and Dale Weston from Jacksonville.

Elmer and Dale are also members of The New River Foundation.

We had fun with good company on a lovely day on the water and we feel good about leaving Northeast Creek clean. It is the largest tributary of the New River.

Merry Christmas to all. Elmer

Elmer Eddy
Elmer, The White Oak River Trashman
Stewards of The White Oak River Basin
101 River Reach Drive West,
Swansboro, NC. 28584
910-389-4588 e-mail:

ace=”Times New Roman”>elmer@whiteoakstewards.org

Please visit our website: http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/
“If no one litters, there will be no litter!”


2007-12-05 Pettiford Creek/Pettiford Bay/Starkeys Creek/Mullet Gut

This is where we put in, that is launched our canoes and kayaks for today’s paddle. The water had a glassy surface at 9:00 AM. The first thing we did was to pick up all the litter and trash at this launching site which is a private site for the benefit of the homeowners of this subdivision on Pettiford Road in Pellitier. Please everybody who uses this area do not dispose of your left overs here. Please take them home with you.

After we paddled past the end of this dock we turned immediately left into a canal. We followed it to a dead end and backed out at it’s narrow extremity at the end.

We had gone by three side channels on the way up. The first one appeared to be to best to take back to the river and on our way back we took this one and came back to Pettiford Creek.

We then turned upstream and past the other two channels and paddled up to a fourth one going north. It took us up to another east / west channel where we found several homes and ramps we took our right and ended up close to Rte 58 at the back side of the Marina.

There was an alligator at one ramp but he was an ornament. We reversed and went back to Pettiford Creek and turned west again to the bridge over Rte 58. More trash was found at all four shoulders of the bridge. Certainly one of these four shoulders should be a public access to Pettiford Creek. At present there is none. Access Committee Folks, please take note.

Our put in. Thanks to the owners.
The humps in the walkway allow boats to pass under which is what we did on the very first one upstream.

A very large egret. Jim Morris found an egg about one foot long! Could it be true? Ed, it is a goose!

The crab house. We thought we were down on the bayou.
The tools of the trade. Crab pots and peeler trays for soft shells.
Crab pot storage
Large clam rakes
Our lunch spot on Holland Point on the lee side of the point. Looking across the White Oak River is River Reach and Plantation Estates. This is Croatan Forest land from here to Cedar Point downstream.
Going up Mullet Gut which is off Starkey’s Creek across Pettiford Bay. The s/w wind was causing good sized waves across the bay.

End of the line on Mullet Gut for us today.

Turning around on Mullet Gut. Ed had turned around on his seat to paddle out in reverse. We almost T-boned Jim Morris.
The group started to get ahead of us

Turning around at the end of Starkeys creek. With a little cutting and trimming we could get up to Pellitier Loop Road which goes east off of Rte 58 at the new water tank. Croatan Forest land begins upstream of here. A possible canoe and kayak access here?

We followed their bubble trail

And caught up in short order

1400 hours and looks like sunset already. Looking toward Swansboro.
Live oaks dipping to meet the water

Scott waited to get back to the put in to take a swim. He did it again for the camera.

Our trash haul for the day. Two bags of trash, a ghost crab pot and an five gallon bucket.
Jim Niedermeyer from Hubert on the left, Scott Brown from Morehead City, Connie and Jim Morris from Morehead City, (Connie went shopping and Jim paddled), Elmer Eddy from Swansboro and Ed Gruca from Emerald Isle who took the picture and ran around to get in it. Thanks Ed for all the great pictures. Ed is Mr. Paint.

This trip was from the Rte 58 bridge sou
th to the White Oak. When the tide is right so we can get up to the large beaver dam in Croatan Forest we will go upstream to The Beaver Lodge to have lunch as we have done several times before. Hope you can join us when we do.

We will paddle somewhere next week on a good weather day. Stay tuned. Elmer and Ed.

Elmer Eddy
Elmer, The White Oak River Trashman
Stewards of The White Oak River Basin
101 River Reach Drive West,
Swansboro, NC. 28584
910-389-4588 e-mail:
Please visit our website: http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/
“If no one litters, there will be no litter!”