Travelers Canoe Lumber River
Orrum, North Carolina--The Fellow Travelers usually do a three-day canoe trip in early April. This year the powers that be decided to do a two-day paddle instead because of the driving distance to North Carolina’s Lumber River. The river is located near the South Carolina border in eastern North Carolina and eventually flows into the Little Pee Dee River. Don Meece, who lives in Salemburg, was familiar with the river and did most of the planning for the trip. The section choses was from US 74 fairly near Lumberton to the picturesque town of Fair Bluff. The total distance paddled was only eighteen miles. Camping was at Lumber River State Park’s Princess Ann campground.
The actual paddling was done on Friday, April 8, and Saturday, April 10, but everyone arrived at the campsite on Thursday night. The state park has limited facilities. Most camped in a grassy field which had no facilities but a few reserved individual campsites which included a tent pad, a table, and access to a smelly outhouse.
Don brought his wife, Sandy, and she was the only rookie on the trip. W.H. Stines and Lesley Robinson drove down from Asheville for camping and meals but did not actually canoe, although Lesley did take a canoe for a short jaunt on the river at the park. They left after Friday’s supper.
Greg Baker and Donald May met at Charlie’s house on Thursday morning and followed Diane Stines, Paul Tolar, Charlie Stines, and the dog Ami from Moultrie to the park. It was a long trip. After a lunch at Wendy’s in Richmond Hill the groups was stalled for about an hour in construction near Savannah on I-95. Before reaching the North Carolina border Charlie received a call from Kim Lippy saying she needed some cous cous for a dish she was preparing so the group took a detour to the Wal-Mart in Dillon, South Carolina, to buy some cous cous.
Ronnie and Kim Marchant also drove from Moultrie and caught up with the other two vehicles in time for the Wendy’s lunch.
Kim and Dave Lippy came from Franklin, North Carolina, to make their first trip since leaving central Florida. Their Lab, Trekker, came along. He is a beautiful dog and is very well-behaved. Trekker apparently likes riding with Dave more than with Kim.
Art Shelfer, Janice Shelfer, George Royal, and Carol Royal drove to Plains to rendezvous with John Williams for the drive to North Carolina.
Sam Brown drove his own coroner car from Thomasville.
Don and Sandy were the first to arrive at the park, but the Lippys soon arrived as did Lesley and W.H. The park is not on a main thoroughfare and various GPS direction, well, they varied. All the tents were in place by dark and everyone cooked their own suppers.
After that, everyone sat around the campfire and told lies. Greg and Don each brought some good firewood. Eventually, everyone went to the tents for a good night of shut-eye.
Again, there was not a community breakfast so individual meals were prepared. Then it was time to shuttle to the put-on at US 74. John soloed his Mad River, Don and Sandy used his Penobscot 16, Art and Janice took John’s Penobscot 16, George and Carol paddled the freshly-painted Perception Chattooga, Ronnie and Kim used their Mohawk Nova 16, the Lippys each had their own Mohawk Solo 14, Sam and Paul manned the Wenonah Escape, Donald and Greg rode Greg’s Wenonah Spirit II, and Charlie, Diane and Ami handled the Canadienne.
The weather was near perfect. The sky was not overcast. The spring flowers, including wild azaleas and dogwoods, were in full bloom. The river is much like the shallow blackwater streams of south Georgia and north Florida. Recent rains gave the stream a moderately strong current. The obstructions were minor. There were birds and turtles. There is little development along the banks and it was free of litter. The river flows almost entirely forested land and there are lots of trees, including some pretty cypresses, growing in the water. Some of the root formations were truly pretty.
Everything went smoothly as the travelers negotiated the turns and wound through the trees. There was a long and relaxing lunch break at Upper Parker’s Landing. The landing is a grassy area with nice trees and it is undeveloped.
After leaving the landing the canoes headed downstream. There was one unfortunate incident when Ronnie and Kim ran sideways into a small shrub and overturned. They handled it well but Ronnie’s digital camera took a soaking.
After the rescue, the paddlers enjoyed the scenery as they paddled toward the destination at the park landing. It was around three when the group reached the park.
The shelter was available. It has electricity but no lights. Preparation for supper began. Some of the men grilled steaks on the camp grills. Ronnie and Dave Lippy made desserts of pineapple upside-down cake and peach cobbler in Dutch ovens, Kim Lippy made cous cous and salad, and Charlie baked potatoes in a Dutch oven. They could have used a little more baking time.
After the tasty meal it was again time for some group companionship ;under the shelter. Sandy brought some nice gifts and there was a raffle for the gifts. W.H and Lesley left after supper but it was really good to have them along. After that, there was another gathering around the campfire. Finally,all went to bed.
Saturday started with a community breakfast. Art brought the eggs laid by his own chickens, and there were grits, sausage, Dutch oven biscuits, and coffee cake.
Saturday morning was not as nice as Friday since the sky had become overcast and the temperature was somewhat cooler. Still, there was no rain and it was a good day for enjoying the river and the company. The paddle was much like the Friday trip. Some saw a beaver and some otters playing near the put-in.
Just before take-out George and Carol had an upset. Art went to their rescue and managed to turn over as well. John, Sam, and Paul assisted in the rescue. It was a rather difficult task but everyone eventually was on the bank and alive.
After group pictures some went home, but Greg, Art, Janice, Carol, John, and Sam decided to spend Saturday night at the park. They had their suppers and breakfast at the group campsite and then went their separate ways.
Donald, Paul, the Lippys, Ronnie and Kim Marchant, and Diane and Charlie Stines started the long journey back to Georgia and arrived home around one on Sunday morning. It was a good trip and it was nice to experience a new river.