"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
---Walter Elias Disney

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

74 Days: Adventuring At Home, Town Creek Kayaking edition

I began a 4-day vacation today but don't leave for Asheville until tomorrow, so John and I took the opportunity to have a little adventure at home. We had planned to take the kayaks across the river and paddle out to Shark Tooth Island, but the marching band scheduled a practice for this afternoon, so with our time cut short we decided to stay in Brunswick County. The Brunswick Nature Park offers a great kayak launch on Town Creek and we'd never been there so off we went.

Brunswick Nature Park is a wonderful little spot with minimal facilities and a focus on the "nature" more than the "park." The park borders Town Creek, a smallish river that runs from Brunswick County's northern interior into the Cape Fear River, and the kayak launch is a perfect access point for the lower reaches of the creek. We had intentions of paddling all the way to the NC133 bridge over the creek, but didn't quite get that far on our 3 1/2 mile round trip (band camp beckoned, ya know).

A good kayak launch takes some of the adventure out of setting off....
The scenery was gorgeous. The creek is bordered by wetlands with stark, bare trees sticking up throughout. We saw two osprey nests, a bunch of ospreys, crabs and an alligator. Yes, an alligator. We both hoped to spot one, but the reality was a bit of a shock. We say a "thing" moving up the creek against the current. At first I thought it was schooling fish but it soon became clear it was one critter swimming very close to the surface and sticking a nose up occasionally. We thought it was a turtle, so we went to get a closer look. We did get a closer look alright, especially John, and saw that what we thought was a largish turtle was in fact just the head of an alligator. I couldn't guess the size of the thing, we really only saw about half its nose, but it wasn't a baby.

An osprey nest
We decided we'd let Mr. Gator go his own way and carried on downstream excited and more than a little unnerved. We discovered a tide data collection station, a fallen tree making a fun little bridge to paddle under and lots more (less exciting) wildlife on the rest of our journey. The paddle back to the dock was a little more strenuous than we had anticipated (darned tide), but we made it back, packed up, stopped for Dippin' Dots and made it home in plenty of time for John to head to band practice.

Tidal Data Station
All in all, it was just the start to a vacation I had wished for. I'm looking forward to the rest. Hope you don't mind the break from Disney, Pooh Sticks is going on the road!

Happy boy :-)

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