Apr 12, 2009 - MERCHANTS MILLPOND. Northern NC. Rented a canoe ($14 for 4 hours). Lassiter Swamp, Bennett's Creek. Turtles. Bald cypress trees & their "knees" are so neat.

Apr 11 - OUTER BANKS, NC. Oregon Inlet Campground. Bodie Lighthouse. National Seashore beach.

Apr 10 - BEAR ISLAND from Hammocks Beach SP HQ. Much wider & better marked than route from Shell Rock. Lagoon.

Apr 9 - BEAR ISLAND from Shell Rock Landing. See dolphins as we get ready to launch. Cross Intracoastal Waterway. Brown canoe trail marker posts thru marshes. Up the Trout Channel along the island to Ferry dock - ranger told us middle of island closed due to heavy machinery on beach (backcountry campsites also closed) so we headed back to W end of island ~low tide. Sandy bluffs & dunes, very scenic. Bear Inlet very narrow route out to Ocean. Tricolored herons, egrets. Very shallow in spots on way back (even 4 hours after low tide for Bogue Inlet), we also take a wrong turn for short time.

Apr 8 - WHITE OAK RIVER from Cedar Point. Estuary, over a mile wide, now a couple of miles before the river meets the ocean, tidal. Also explored Dubling & Boathouse Creeks. Clammers. Tricolored herons. Undeveloped on E shore & islands, W side developed.

Apr 7 - WHITE OAK RIVER & tributaries from Haywood Landing. River averages 100' wide here. To Long Point & back - also explored Mulberry & Grants Creeks. Fire in evidence in pines on E shore, Croatan NF. Undeveloped shores. Wood ducks, turtles, osprey, prothonotary warblers.

Apr 5 - ASSATEAGUE, MD. Chincoteague Bay. Wild horses, little blue heron, loons.

Apr 6-13, 2008 - NC kayaking, Neuse River & Swansboro area. WS Tempest 170, a 17' polyethylene touring kayak.

Apr 13 - BOGUE SOUND. From Hoop Pole Woods (behind closed Hardee's & shopping center) in Atlantic Beach. Marshy islands at the start, many oyster beds. Headed W on the sound, very shallow at low tide. Shores mostly developed after the marshes. 8 miles.

Apr 12 - WHITE OAK RIVER. Upstream from Haywood Landing boat launch. Explored some feeders incl. Holston Creek. Turned around at power line. Water snake.

Apr 11 - HUGGINS ISLAND. From Bear Island, marked trail around Huggins then to the visitor center. Most of the islands between the barrier islands & the mainland are marshy (saltmarsh cordgrass), Huggins has a maritime forest & lies at the mouth of the White Oak River. Drove to Cedar Point campground, our base for rest of trip - convenient, some road noise, not much privacy.

Apr 10 - BEAR ISLAND. Trout Channel on N side of the island to a sandy beach at Bear Inlet. Got lost for over an hour in a maze of channels trying to follow the marked trail to Shell Rock Landing. Egrets, tricolored herons, black skimmers.

Apr 9 - BEAR ISLAND. Get camping permit & launch from Hammocks Beach SP Visitor Center. 3-mile marked trail thru marshy islands to Bear, a shallow channel leads into a lagoon & landing near campsite #7 - we have to walk the beach to site #6 which is in the dunes. From our site, it is a 10 min. beach walk to restroom/shower building. Atlantic Ocean surf zone - played/practiced, got wiped out when I didn't edge enough into a large breaking wave & lost my prescription sunglasses because in the excitement I had forgotten to attach Croakies & floater. Bottlenose dolphins, brown pelicans, jellyfish (washed up on the beach).

Apr 8 - GREAT LAKE. In the heart of Croatan NF. About 2 x 3 miles - paddled most of the perimeter - some small sandy beaches on E shore - coffee-colored water. Windy - waves to 1.5'. No development - wilderness shores - pocosin (raised bog) habitat - shapely trees in water. Osprey nest. 8.7 miles, 3.5 hrs.

Apr 7 - BRICE CREEK. From NC Wildlife Resources Commission boat ramp to SR 1111 bridge & back. Paddled upstream, explored many inlets & side-channels. Osprey with fish in claws & nest. Mostly undeveloped, W shore is in Croatan NF. 14.9 miles.

Apr 6 - NEUSE RIVER upstream from Seven Springs. Noticeable current. White, yellow & pink blossoms. Cliffs of the Neuse rise 70' above. Above the cliffs explored a swampy inlet with interesting bald cypress trees. Mostly undeveloped. Watch out for poison ivy on shore. Deer. 10.8 miles, 4.5 hrs. Drove to Neuse River campground - nice, fairly private sites, nearby sandy beach, got some great paddling maps of Carteret County from campground host.


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