Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cape Lookout, NC


Cape Lookout National Seashore :
preserves a 56 mile (90 km) long section of the Southern Outer Banks, or Crystal Coast, of North Carolina, USA, running from Ocracoke Inlet on the northeast to Beaufort Inlet on the southeast. Three undeveloped barrier islands make up the seashore - North Core Banks, South Core Banks and Shackleford Banks. The seashore includes two historic villages on Core Banks, Shackleford's wild horses, and the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, which has a black-and-white diamond pattern. A visitors center for the seashore is located on Harkers Island.

‘Lookout’ for this Trip…
by Maria Gibson
the next time it’s on the calendar! Just as promised, some of the
most beautiful paddling in North Carolina was had the weekend of 22
May paddling to Cape Lookout National Seashore from Harker’s
Island. This was my second trip there with Frank, the first was in April
and, wow, what a difference a month makes! May is warmer but has
more bugs; stays light longer but attracts more people. It was
beautiful in either month and I highly recommend it.
We took off from the mighty metropolis of Zebulon at 9:05 am on Saturday morning
with a fiery red-haired Hungarian and her paddler hubby (names withheld by request
but we all know who camera and luckily this is where our dynamic duo pals made the
discovery of a tent left at home. Off to Great Outdoor Provision Company where our
good friends took care of us ‘toot sweet’ (read – sold a tent without delay!) and we
were off once again. Being just a little behind schedule and expecting the fifth of our
merry band of paddlers to be waiting on us at the put in, we filed the float plan at the
visitor’s center and then headed for the parking lot across the street where the put in
is. Just as we wondered if he had been and gone, Chris from Wilmington pulled up
hoping we had not had to wait too long for him ~ serendipitous! Introductions were
made and then the serious business of boat loading for kayak camping began.
Once we were all loaded, which didn’t take long, and Frank gave some
instructions on the route as we packed, we jumped in and headed out.
The water was pretty smooth (only a little choppy from boats right at
the start) and the wind was light as we made our way toward the first island
and decided to bear to the right of it to avoid most boat traffic and stick to the
shallowest of water so we could visit a little and enjoy the scenery. This
wasn’t a hurried journey with time on the brain; this was forgetting that
clocks and watches exist and soaking in each moment.
After the first tiny leg to get behind the island we snugged up to discuss the route now that we could actually see our goal of the lighthouse and then took off again.
The tide was with us mostly and we had no issues as we passed the second island from the outside.
We marveled at the perfect sunshine and light breeze.
Heading straight for Shackelford,
we found a way in to the shallows where we could view the horses from afar and
take pictures. Through these wandering, shallow channels we came out to paddle
only a short crossing to the docks by the lighthouse. This is the fun part where
currents and motor boats collide and it’s really fun to see how fast you can paddle a
heavily laden boat across the channel and still land at the intended spot!
Just a short walk around to look at the map, gaze at the lighthouse up close, use the facilities before we got back to finding our camping spot. It was getting a little later in the afternoon and the sun was dipping about five hours past ‘who cares,’ casting a glow that was a golden ripple on the sound; our temporary new home was calling.
We pulled up to the sandy stretch about a mile away with a fairly wide cut
through to the other side where you can go see the ocean and the jetties.
All tumbled out, drug boats a *long* way across the sand to the brush and scoped out the camp sites.
Real estate stakes claimed, we returned to unload the boats and then the swarm of bugs landed upon us!
They feasted and nibbled greedily on sweat and Deet as we swatted and swore our way
to the finish of tents erected and goods stored. We gathered drift wood and
crowded around for some food, conversation and fun tales around the fire. It was a
small fire as the wood supply was low but that was fine as we were all tired anyway
so we headed off for rest.
Sunday morning was a little less sunny at first but no less a wonderful treat to all
of the senses.
The winds were light again and the water was as calm as a lake.
Frank and I took off walking around the hook to explore the end where ocean meets
sound and marveled at the dolphins which were plentiful among all of the fishing
By the time we returned our paddle mates were almost packed up and we had to catch
up. It was pretty grubby business so just before we left I took my very first
ever salt water bath……nirvana! The water was so refreshing and an ending fresh water
rinse (extra tap water to the rescue!) finished it wonderfully.
The group decided that an ocean water adventure was in order since two of us had
never experienced it before. We rounded toward the same hook traveled by foot
earlier and as we approached the buoy, the water which had been gorgeous
already, became the most amazing shade of light emerald green and unbelievably
clear. We stuck our paddles as low as we could and were still able to read the
brand name from several feet down. We rounded the buoy with shouts of triumph
and then headed to Shackelford for lunch. There were a couple of sea turtles which
we got fairly close to before they dove under, their wise, old eyes taking us in only
briefly before they disappeared. After a brief lunch on the beach we headed back
as our short trip was coming to a close. Perhaps its just the nature of the area but it
seems as soon as we headed back, the wind kicked up, the clouds rolled in, and the
water became a little rougher. We made our way mostly along the shore of
Shackelford and then had to decide if it was to be sticking to shallow water for a Page 10 of 15
shorter trip or deeper water for an easier trip. The group left it up to Chris and Frank
who have the most experience in those conditions and they decided on depth. We
strove for the channel and had to fight a little to stay on course as well as keep
together since the motor boats were a little thicker; they, too, were headed back. At
one point there was a sandbar and a division amongst the ranks as to the best route
around it so a race began! Sadly, four of us had to get out and drag our boats as we
watched Chris ease around and wait with a big grin until we were all back in and back
to the business of getting to the starting point.
We made it back shortly from that point, the impending storm blew away in the
distance and the water stayed at a constant and steady level. We arrived a little tired,
a little hungry and very happy to have had the time together in such a wonderful and
beautiful place. I can’t wait to go back especially with some experience and
knowledge behind me ~ we need something besides Deet to give the gnats to snack
on, we need to remember to be sure the bag of ‘after paddle clothes’ actually makes
into the car when packing and….what was that other thing??
Oh yeah.
Always go with my CKC pals!

cape lookout

Share your Adventures with SpotAdventures

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CKC Symposium 2010

May 7th - 9th 2010
Vista Point Campground
Jordan Lake, Apex, NC

Join us for our 1st CKC Kayaking Symposium. A weekend of on-water clinics, demonstrations, and general camaraderie for paddlers of all abilities, and with kayaks in all shapes and sizes.

Not your typical Symposium, this club event is dedicated to the fun and joy of paddling, offering an enjoyable and supportive learning environment, complete with the opportunity to connect with others who love and enjoy the sport. Whether you are just getting started or you have been on the water for years, we are planning an affordable weekend packed with fun and learning opportunities for all.

Symposium Events:
• Stargazer Night Paddle
• Bonfire & Dessert Party
• Morning Mist Lake Hikes
• Bar-b-Que Catered Dinner
• Door Prizes and Entertainment
• Early Morning Feldenkrais Clinic
• Early Morning Yoga Clinic
• Kayak Race for All
• Roll This! Challenge
• Lakeside Used Gear Sale

On-Water Skill Classes (requires pre-registration)
• Introduction to Paddling
• Fundamentals & Foundation
• Stroke Refinement
• Forward Stroke Workshop
• Balance, Bracing & Support
• Turning and Maneuvering the Recreational Kayak
• Turning and Boat Control
• Draws and Sculling
• Wildlife Watching on Jordan
• Kayak Racing
• Basic Self and Assisted Rescues
• Advanced Rescues and Towing
• Paddling with a Greenland Stick
• Rolling with a Greenland Stick
• Rolling Clinics

Off Water Demonstration/Classes:
• Knots for Paddlers
• Playing with Fire
• Rescue Flares & Smoke Demonstration
• CKC Trip Organizer Training

Special Exhibits:
• Knots for Paddlers
• Playing with Fire
• Rescue Flares & Smoke Demonstration
• CKC Trip Organizer Training
• Wooden and Skin on Frame Kayaks
• Outfitting and Customization Station
• Towing and Making a Rescue Contact Tow
• How to Make a Greenland Paddle
• Packing a Kayak for Multi-Day Trips
• Where to paddle in NC
• First-Aid and Hypothermia Kits
• Rescue Gear Exhibit
• Signaling and Communications
• Paddling Wear Exhibit
• Kayaking Navigation Exhibit

Monday, May 3, 2010

just having fun


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Horseshoe lake ,NC


A visitor to one of the country's most extensive Carolina bay complexes, the Horseshoe Lake natural area, will be rewarded with many sights that are uncommon in North Carolina. Rounding a bend in this horseshoe-shaped Carolina bay near Fayetteville, you might see an anhinga perched in a tree, black and white wings spread wide, or thousands of yellow pitcher plants floating on a soggy vegetation raft in the middle of the bay.

Horseshoe Lake is located near other ecologically significant state-owned land including Jones Lake State Park, Bushy Lake State Natural Area, and Bladen Lakes State Forest. These natural areas comprise a vast expanse of unique natural communities considered nationally significant by the N.C. Natural Heritage Program.

The largest bay in the area, called Horseshoe Lake or Suggs Millpond, is best explored by small boat. The expansive, partially water-filled Carolina bay is dominated by unusual vegetation, such as floating and rooted aquatic plant beds, floating bog mats, and pond cypress stands, that may have been created naturally after deep peat fires or possibly developed from beaver ponds. The lands surrounding the bay contain other rare natural communities, including pocosin, Atlantic white cedar forest, and pond pine woodland. The rim of the bay is characterized by pine flatwood, sandhills scrub communities, and an array of rare plants, including populations of Venus flytrap, white wicky, and threadleaf sundew. In addition to the rare anhinga, Horseshoe Lake is home to waterfowl, American alligator, fox squirrel, pine barrens treefrog, and mammals such as black bear and bobcat that require large expanses of land.

Conservation Highlights:
In 1998, the State of North Carolina purchased approximately 8,000 acres of the Horseshoe Lake natural area in Bladen and Cumberland Counties from Canal Industries, Inc. The tract is now managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission as the Bladen County Game Land and is open to the public for hiking, fishing, boating, birding, and special permit hunting. The Nature Conservancy assisted the State with the acquisition of the Horseshoe Lake property. In addition, Dohn Broadwell is donating a series of conservation easements to The Nature Conservancy that will eventually protect 1,915 acres adjacent to the game land.

Heading south from Fayetteville on I-95, take exit 49 and go east on NC 53/210. Follow NC 53 after it splits to the right from NC 210 after about 2.8 miles. After about 8 miles turn left onto SR 1327 just past the community of Jerome. Take the right fork when SR 1327 seems to split where the pavement ends, this is still SR 1327. After about 4 miles, look for a dirt road to the left. Take that road to get to the game land. At press time, the Wildlife Commission was in the process of marking the game land boundaries, so look for Wildlife Commission signs.

horseshoe lake ,nc

Share your Adventures with SpotAdventures
Locations of visitors to this page