Saturday, January 16, 2010

Paddling at West Point on the Eno

1/16/2010 - West Point on the Eno, Durham, NC

Hello from the kayak cockpit! :-) Yes! Back on the water again! All week the temperatures have been steadily climbing as this latest round of arctic weather retreats back North. Saturday was mostly cloudy, temperatures in the mid 50's, and SSW winds at 3mph - another great day for paddling! My put in was at the West Point on the Eno, City of Durham park and take out was at Penny's Bend, a distance of 4.54 miles. It took me about 2 hours to complete this paddling trip.

My wife Rachel dropped me off at West Point on the Eno and took a few pictures of me at the put in area. In the shaded and still areas of the Eno River, some ice lingered.
My put in area was just down from West Point Mill. This mill functioned longer (1778-1942) then any other mill on the river. At one time there was a community of about 300 families centered here with a general store, cotton gin, saw mill, and still! ;-)

Spied this egret as I started my paddle run. He allowed me to get quite close and then flew off down the river. Lots of tree debris clogged the Eno River

Here I approach a pedestrian bridge that is part of an extensive trail system within the Eno Park.
I really hate to see this pollution. That's about $1,000 dollars worth of shopping carts that have been dumped unceremoniously into the river to rust.

Between West Point on the Eno and Penny's Bend, there are a dozen or so Class I riffles. These usually are fun to navigate through, but water levels were low and I got "stuck" a few times among the rocks. However, in about the 10th Class I riffle I crossed, my kayak went sideways and I got wedged between two large rocks. The kayak lunged dangerously and at one point I thought I was going "duck." Fortunately, I managed to swing the stern around, so I scooted "backwards" through the riffle!

Lots of erosion along the river banks.
The Eno River narrowed several times during my paddling trip and sometimes it was no wider then 10 feet from each bank.

The forecast was for "partly sunny," but it was more like "partly cloudy." ;-)
I came across this abandoned structure. I have no idea what purpose it may have served at one time.
This was a stairway that led up to a small industrial park situated on the banks of the Eno River.

More Class I riffles.

Here I approach the Old Oxford Highway bridge at Penny's Bend.

Take out at Penny's Bend. You have to traverse a pretty severe Class I riffle right before you enter the calm waters of Penny's Bend. You can see the riffle in the background of this photo.

Another fun kayak adventure comes to an end!


  1. We eventually will be building trail on the north bank just along the route you paddled. I haven't yet explored that area. That tower is really bizarre. Which bank is it on? How about the steps? Good to know for future plans.


  2. Hi Arthur! Both the tower and steps are located on the same bank of the Eno as your existing MST trail - reference the GPS map you sent me earlier. So, I believe it would be the North bank? Both structures were located to my right as I paddled from West Point on the Eno to Penny's Bend. BTW - right after you leave Eno Park and paddle under the North Roxboro Road highway bridge - there is a LOT of pollution (shopping carts, clothes, bottles, rusting metal grates, etc.)in and on the river banks. Sad commentary on man's ability to mess up nature. :-(

  3. Mike,

    Thanks for the clarification. What we plan as a routing is on the north bank (left going downstream) from West Point, through Penny's Bend, and then hitting Old Oxford. At that point we cross the Eno on Old Oxford and then continue on the south bank (right going downstream) which is the map I sent you. So it sounds like those two structures will not be on the trail route which is good since they would be an attractive nuisance.

    With regard to trash in the river I agree. We already have about 1.5 miles of trail along the Eno from West Point to Riverforest Park. The trail runs on the left under the footbridge in your picture above and then under Roxboro Rd. When we built that section of trail we pulled more junk out of there than you can imagine. I think the neighborhood on the bluff above was using it for a dumping ground. Not our most attractive section of trail.

    If you want to get really depressed go look at Ellerbe Creek where it runs under Red Mill Rd. There is a "trash dam" just below the bridge. Apparently Durham is a major source of problems with the water quality in Falls Lake. It's been the subject of a lot of controversy lately with numerous write ups in the N&O.


  4. Hi Mike! This is Steve & Caroline:)

    Rachel told me about your trip on this day and said that your blogger site was "cool"...we agree! You are quite the "paddler" it looks like!

    Enjoyed your just might see one pop up on your next visit:)

  5. Hi Caroline & Steve! I discovered I had a passion for both paddling and blogging - hence the "birth" of Durhamblogger! ;-) Look forward to our next visit! Thanks for stopping by and hope you "check in" here often.

  6. Hi Mike,
    I gotta tell you, I'm really jealous of your trip and your weather. As I type this it's 25 degrees here in Vandergrift,PA. The rivers have thawed but now they're running too high and really fast, and they're full of debris. I'll just have to continue to live vicariously through you for a while longer.
    Mark Swank

  7. Hi Mark! We start our mornings here in Carolina in the low 20's with highs in the 40's and low 50's on a mild winter day. Unfortunately, with my work schedule and very cold temperatures on the weekends, my paddling has been limited... but I'm thankful for what "yaking" I can get in! ;-) Thanks for stopping by!


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