My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Paddle on Mill Tail Creek

November 25, 2015

Tuesday, I went in early to work on a project and was hanging out at the desk when the phone rang. I answered it and the man identified himself as John Thomas, a volunteer I'd just met. In fact he was supposed to train me on the procedures of the Visitor Center, but we had mostly talked paddling and he showed me his kayak, paddles and lots of maps showing places to paddle.

So I said "Hi John, this is Marilyn, and he said he was calling to find me to see if I wanted to paddle with him that afternoon.  I replied, "Yes, I want to paddle, but I have to work today but can paddle tomorrow." He responded, "I have to work tomorrow morning until 12:30. Do you want to start when I get off." Of course, I never say no to a paddle, so agreed to meet him at the Visitor Center in Manteo, at noon.

So Wednesday, just after 12:30,  I was following him out of the Visitor Center, across the Croatan Sound, to Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. We went past the Maintenance Building and down to Milltail Road to where it crosses Mill Tail Creek.  We were unloading our kayaks and getting ready to leave by about 1:30 P.M. This is a quiet, mostly wide creek through a swamp.  I saw no places to take out, in about 2.5 miles.  We had to turn around in order to get home before dark.  We managed to get back right at sunset and I made it all the way home before the last bit of pink faded from the darkening sky.

We saw no wildlife, except for a few birds.  I heard or saw chickadees, turkey vultures, red bellied woodpeckers, a pileated woodpecker and lots of wood ducks - all either in eclipse, females or young. The quiet was wonderful, except for the noise of a few planes, and one sound of an ATV when we were almost back to the put-in.

John getting ready

And getting ready to paddle off the dock

The waterway - a creek through a swamp

Dark, tannic reflections

Me by John


The light just before sunset

Almost back

Last Friday, John called me again to go on another paddle.  This time we went north to Carova Beach Park and Boat Ramp, in the town of Carova, on the Outer Banks, almost to Virginia.  We paddled down a canal and the through a natural waterway, still lined on one side with expensive houses. In the front lawn of one house, we saw three wild horses. We paddled across a bit of open water and then found some channels into a march where there were lots of duck blinds. We also paddled past some of the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge.  Unfortunately, I had to change my canoe and other stuff into John's truck as we had to have 4-wheel drive to drive across the beach and I forgot both  my life jacket and my camera in my car and didn't notice for about 20 miles. .  He had an extra life jacket, but no camera.  The only birds we saw was a great blue heron, a great egret, and a flock of swans which flew over us.

My apologies to the people who saw this unfinished. I'm not sure how I managed to publish it before I was finished editing it.