Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wonderful Morning Paddling at Kerr Lake

10/9/2010 - Island Creek (Kerr Lake), NC

Durhamblogger embarked on his longest road trip to date... a little over one hour from Durham... and paddled at a new location - Island Creek located on Bugs Island / Kerr Lake. But it was a paddling trip that almost never happened. Saturday, the family was scheduled to visit the mother-in-law in Clarksville, VA... leaving no time for paddling. Then I had a brilliant plan. Since Island Creek was on the route to Clarksville... why not pack the truck with kayak and gear Friday night... drive separately... leave a few hours earlier Saturday morning... get in a couple of hours of paddling... and then meet the family at my mother-in-law's house? Sometimes I even scare myself! ;-) Saturday was forecast to be sunny... 84 F... o% chance of rain... and light and variable winds. Nice! I was up at 6:00AM Saturday morning... and on the road to Island Creek by 7:00AM. However... while Saturday "day" had a warm forecast... Saturday early "morning" it was only 45 F... so I wore my water resistant paddling pants, and jacket. It was a little "nippy."

I took back roads from Durham through Oxford and along Highway 58. There was little traffic this early and I made good time. I arrived at Island Creek about 8:00AM.
I discovered that Island Creek had a voluntary park entrance "collection" system. You fill out an envelope with your vehicle license information... put $4.00 in the envelope... tear off and display your park pass on your rear mirror... and slip the envelope into the collection box slit. There were signs warning folks about the possibility of fines if your vehicle did not display a correct park pass. A while later... as I was parking my truck... I did spot a fellow driving through the parking lot checking for park passes.
Again, one of my "favorite" signs near the Island Creek boat ramp. Sadly... few persons wear PFDs.
Saw these two groups of fishermen as I prepared to put in. The boat moored to the dock was having engine problems and would not turn over and start. It's kind of funny when I have encounters with local fishermen. They don't always know what to make of me... since I don't fish... and I paddle a "strange" little boat with no motor! I greeted them with a cheery "good morning"... but they were not happy campers because of the engine trouble. I heard one of them chuckle out loud to his companion as I got into my kayak... "That guy is going to flip out of that little boat!" I ignored the comment... launched from the boat ramp and starting paddling SW on Kerr Lake. The whining of a boat motor unable to start and the fishermen's curses slowly faded in the distance. I was thinking "happy" thoughts to myself!
Put in at the Island Creek boat ramp.

A short distance from the boat ramp, there was a line of electrical power transmission towers that marched across the landscape with some of the tower anchor legs in the lake waters.

I spotted this bird nest built within the tower framework. There was nobody home.

Early morning on Kerr Lake! The water surface was very calm making for some wonderful tree reflections. In the distance, there were a few patches of mist rising from the water.
Back in some of the shadowy coves, the mist ebbed and flowed skyward. Mysterious and beautiful at the same time. Within minutes of taking these next two photos... the sun moved above the treeline... and the mist vanished.

As I paddled SW into the more quiet areas of Kerr Lake... there were numerous homes built on the lake. In this photo, the land owners had trucked in large amounts of rock to build a breakwater for their property. A rusted ladder descends into the water for swimmers and boaters.

There were all kinds of water craft on the lake! Here, a toy paddle boat.

And also "hard core" fishing boats. This craft sported no less then 6 fishing poles with an electric wench for nets or trolling.

Again, the less traveled areas are the best! Quiet coves on Kerr Lake with still waters and nature in all her splendour.

A "splash" of autumn color against a bright blue sky.

In a few short weeks... fall will be well underway here in NC. Leaf watchers are predicting magnificent colors this year because of the dry conditions.

Island Creek dam. A few cars drove along the roadway on top of the dam as I paddled below.

I saw several vehicles slow as they spotted my brightly colored yellow kayak. I don't believe kayaks are a familiar sight in these waters! ;-)

After a few hours of paddling, it was time to return to my put in / take out area at the Island Creek boat ramp. Looked like the fishermen had gotten their stubborn boat motor to start... since they were no where to be seen. I sure hope they had an enjoyable time on the water... because I certainly did! ;-)

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  1. Just moved to the Kerr Lake area, and am looking into getting kayaks as a family activity to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and electronic gadgets. I really enjoyed this post. Any tips or advice for a new kayaker?

    1. Please reference my "How to" section near the top of Durhamblogger:

      Lot's of great advice on purchasing kayaks, paddle selections, getting fitted for a PFD and more! Thanks for your comments!


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