Hike Report: Merchant Mill Pond Canoe/Kayak Trip 2016-04

After a long drive to Merchant Mill Pond in northeast NC, we loaded our gear into one canoe and two kayaks and headed for the group campsite deep (1 mile) into the swamp. Our group of four humans and two dogs set up tents and tarps in preparation for the predicted rains. Most of the frequent showers were short lived and came during the evening and at night. The next day we paddled around in the 200-year-old, 700-acre mill pond complete with cypress trees, tupelo trees, snakes, turtles and a few alligators. We saw numerous turtles, birds, lily pads and other aquatic plants. Friday Amanda and I headed up the creek (with a paddle or two) to explore Bennett Creek. On a previous trip several years ago, we spotted two bear cubs and the momma. No bears this time! We did find some cypress knees that looked like little Christmas trees which I am told is a primitive liverwort. Back at camp, Lynn spied a very large beetle which turned out to be an eastern rhinoceros beetle. Saturday our island campsite was overrun by a couple of Boy Scout troops, but the rain put a damper on their nocturnal activities. Paddling out on Sunday, Lynn and Amy spotted an alligator swimming across our route. Amy gave chase and managed to get a not-so-close-up picture.

Wayne Lipscomb

Pictures Amy: Campsite, Lone Turtle, Turtles on a log, Alligator
Pictures Wayne: Beetle, Campsite, Knees with Trees, Swamp, Amanda & dogs