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What's Drifting

  • Fall on the Waccamaw
    Continuing my focus on excellent Fall paddle destinations we now take a virtual tour of one section ... read more
  • Onto the Black
    Continuing my Fall paddle series I would like to take you on a virtual tour of the Black River The B... read more
  • Feels Like Fall
    It s starting to feel like Fall October 1st arrived and it was as if a seasonal switch had been flip... read more

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On White Water

It might be stating the obvious, but there are no significant white water rivers in Southeastern, North Carolina. The Haw might be an exception, but since I've never paddled it I can't speak to it directly.  Many rivers are dependent on rain fall to replenish or maintain water levels. The Black and the Lumber are the two that most easily come to mind. The water levels in these two rivers can vary widely in a short space of time. At one end they can become so shallow you spend more time walking then paddling certain sections. We got to see the extreme opposite end of the spectrum last September, when Hurricane Matthew pumped up both rivers to historic levels. I've paddled the Black at flood stage, and it's not something I would suggest doing. But...it is the closest you get to white water in our neck of the woods. The normal 8 mile run time from Ivanhoe to Beatty's Bridge is approximately 3 hours without stops. At flood stage it took half that time. It's a fun run down river, though a bit disconcerting because the normal flow and look of the river are changed drastically. The landmarks you are used to seeing, down trees, beaches and the like, have temporarily disappeared giving the river a very different feel. As I write this we are under a flood advisory for New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties. The Black was running low when I paddled it a few weeks back, but it won't be running low for long. Once the run off discharges into the river we get to witness a Jekyll and Hyde transformation and a short lived shot at a little white water. 

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The Latest

Continuing my focus on excellent Fall paddle destinations, we now take a virtual tour of one section of the Waccamaw River. The Waccamaw, like its brethren, the Black and Lumber, is a meandering black...

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Scott Schmolesky has been kayaking for over 20 years and has been an instructor the last ten. Most recently he started the outfitter and guide service, The Expedition Organization which offers guided kayak programs in Southeastern, North Carolina. His paddling adventures have taken him through Australia, Europe, and throughout the U.S. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can read more of his articles here.

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