Recently, our staff was invited to paddle the Tar-Pamlico River Water Trail by Heather Deck, riverkeeper for the Pamilico-Tar River Foundation, and Daniel McClure, an intern with the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation. What a cool experience that was. I've paddled many places but I truly saw more wildlife on this ten-mile paddle than I have on most rivers in the area. The day initially looked sketchy weather-wise with forecast highs in the upper 40's and rain, but the rain cleared out and though we didn't really see the sun, we were comfortable in our boats when the temperatures rose into the upper 50's.
We put in in Rocky Mount in a nice, wide stretch of the river. The water level was up enough that the current kept us clipping along at a good pace without having to work too terribly hard, which made for decent photo opportunities. Even in the overcast, chilly weather, the wildlife were hopping: wood ducks, mallards, a pileated woodpecker,kingfishers, barred owls, hawks, turtles and beavers all made appearances. Well, saw might be overstating the beaver sighting on my part, at least--one created a ruckus as we passed by, sliding down the bank and then briefly stalking us under water, which we could see from the air bubble trail it left behind. I think Daniel and Ryan were quicker on the draw and saw the beaver clambering down the bank.
|A beaver slide along the banks|
Heather and Daniel were fantastic hosts, knowledgeable about the local wildlife and fauna and easy paddle partners. It takes a great deal of work and salesmanship to fund efforts like this one, and a good rapport with volunteers willing to give of their free time to help build structures. The platforms are pretty sweet camping locations--screened in sleeping areas with a nice deck and picnic table. Take-outs are easy, too. Starting at the head of the Tar River and ending in Beaufort, the Tar-Pamlico Water Trail will eventually have platforms 8-15 miles apart once it's completed so that paddlers on this end of the state will have multiple routes and campsites to choose from. Platforms must be reserved and there is a minimal fee; more information about that is here.
All in all, a great day on the water--is there such a thing as a bad day on the water? We're grateful to our hosts for sharing this with us, and DPR Outdoor Recreation is definitely planning a fall trip down the river, so keep an eye out for the fall programming schedule!
|Giant fungi on a downed tree|
|Having a picnic at the Vollmer Farm platform with Daniel and Heather.|