Monday, September 6, 2010

A Beautiful Morning Paddling at Sandling Beach, Falls Lake

9/06/2010 - Sandling Beach (Falls Lake), Wake Forest, NC

Labor Day weekend signals the "official" end of summer for many folks. Both Rachel and I had been busy this holiday weekend visiting an out of town relative and completing a few yard chores. So we were certainly "laboring" this "Labor" Day weekend... but, come Monday... Labor Day... we were both ready for some relaxation and paddling! :-) I decided to try a new paddling area... Sandling Beach located on Falls Lake. I had loaded the kayak on the back of my truck Sunday evening... so we were able to get an early start Monday. We drove 45 minutes NE through Butner, Creedmoor, and then along Highway 50 toward the park. 8AM Monday morning the temperatures were in the low 60's, light wind, abundant sunshine, and low humidity... gorgeous weather!

We arrived at Sandling Beach at approximately 8:45AM. Very light traffic on the road.

I paid the "customary" $6.00 park entrance fee at the attendant station and asked the park employee about the best put in sites. She informed me that the picnic shelters had level beach areas. Here we have backed into a parking slot next to shelter #4.
And at 8:45AM, we had the entire shelter and parking lot to ourselves! I love it!
The only "negative" was that the beach area was 100 - 150 yards from the parking lot... and our 65lb kayak seemed to get "heavier" the farther we had to "walk it" down to the shoreline. Note to self - Bring my kayak cart next time!

Looking NE from our put in area.

Rachel preparing to put in at Sandling Beach. We had to "walk" the kayak out about 40 feet before we had enough water under our keel to launch.

Sandling Beach had elaborate and large shelters equipped with restrooms, grills, and picnic tables. Many shelters could seat 50-75 persons.

Rachel in her customary front seat.

As the morning progressed, boat traffic increased. We encountered several skiers and a few jet skis water craft. But we kept close in and followed the east shoreline... avoiding the majority of the power boats.

The east shoreline had many shallow marshy areas with entire fields of dead tree stumps. We had to pick our way carefully and slowly through these areas since it did bottom out quickly and there was a lot of debris just below the water surface. It was an ideal area for water fowl and we spotted several different species. Here was a blue heron.

An unusal dead tree on it's "last leg." It will soon topple over and become another of the many tree stumps that dotted this shallow water area on Falls Lake.

We spotted this man-made structure and a huge nest perched on top!

Not sure what bird would build such a nest. Maybe a bald eagle?

We spotted at least six Anhinga perched on dead tree stumps. I was excited since I had never seen so many Anhinga together at one time on the water. We paddled and then drifted closer to the birds, keeping absolute silence. I handed the camera to Rachel, who was sitting in the front seat, and she took the next four photos. Pretty remarkable photos considering we don't have a decent zoom lens on our camera!

The Anhinga is also known as the "Snakebird" and you can see why in this photo.

After our encounter with the Anhinga, we spotted four white herons wading alone the shoreline. I managed to snap this photo of one... the others were very skittish and would not allow us to get very close. In fact, right after I took this photo, the bird flew off down the lake.

On our return leg, power boat traffic had increased sharply. This boat passed rather close to us and another pontoon boat towing a raft crossed our bow at an uncomfortable distance. We were glad to have put in early and to be on the way out as the water traffic got heavier. It was, after all, Labor Day!

I spotted this kayak "at rest" near a picnic shelter.

Back at our put in / take out area near shelter #4.

Another wonderful paddling adventure at beautiful Falls Lake on Labor Day! It don't get much better then that! ;-) Stay tuned. Always new paddling adventures just around that next bend!


  1. BEAUTIFUL!!!! Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Thanks for stopping by Caroline! Hopefully, I can get you and Steve out on the water some day? ;-)


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