Tag Archives: eastern North Carolina

GetExploring! Greenville: discover down east

One of the first paddle trips I took east of I-95 after arriving in North Carolina in the early 1990s was to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. I’d driven past the 154,000-acre lowland several times on my way to the Outer Banks, but for some reason never thought to bring a boat. Then I saw that the refuge was leading weekly paddle trips, so I signed up. As we were paddling the expansive Milltail Creek east toward the Alligator River, someone in the group asked why we weren’t seeing the refuge’s namesake reptile.
The ranger leading the trip told us to raft up and watch the river bank to the south. The bank was dominated by three-foot-high reed grass and what appeared to be fallen logs in the water.
“Watch,” he instructed. We did, and before long we noticed that the logs were blinking.
I tell this story a lot when explaining the allure of exploring Eastern North Carolina. There is so much to see east of I-95, it sometimes just takes a little extra patience and perseverance. I’ve since embraced that approach in telling the adventurous story of Eastern North Carolina, a story that’s yet to be fully appreciated by a larger audience.
We hope to change that in the months and years ahead. One way is by teaming with our friends at Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Greenville to form GetExploring! Greenville.
Our goal is two-fold: read more

It’s Summer!

Summer, it officially begins bright and early (6:51 a.m.) Saturday morning.
To ensure that you’re prepared we’ve assembled a list of resources to help you figure out how to best capitalize on the solstice with the mostest.

Paddling

Rent a boat: Don’t have a canoe or kayak (or stand-up paddleboard)? No problem. We’ve found 52 places across North Carolina where you can rent a canoe, kayak or SUP — and for as little as a couple bucks an hour. A paddle is within reach! Info here. read more

90 Second Escape: Eastern N.C.’s Contentnea Creek

Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video or slide show of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a fluorescent bulb. read more

Let the paddling season begin

Heading out on Milltail Creek, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

The sun was unimpeded in chasing off the morning chill, a gentle breeze played in the marsh grass and my swamp kayak rocked ever-so-slightly in the near-still water. Fifteen feet off my starboard bow, an alligator dozed. I watched for several minutes, expecting him to blink. He never did. Apparently, he, too, was savoring the delayed start to spring.
My opening day on the water for the  2014 paddling season, and it was hard to picture a better start.
I started paddling Milltail Creek in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in the mid-1990s, drawn both by the refuge’s well-deserved reputation for being some of the wildest 152,000 acres around, and also by the promise — guarantee, practically — of seeing an alligator. The wild was hard to miss: the impenetrable tanglescape beyond the creek’s banks, the cacophony of bird song and assorted other swamp noises, the realization that alligators, bears, red wolves, three types of venomous snakes (cottonmouth, copperhead and timber rattler) and who knows what else roamed the reserve. Yet I’d never seen an alligator. At least that I was aware of.
In 2006 I took one of the guided paddles led by the NWR between June and August. Twenty minutes into the trip, someone asked, “How come there aren’t any alligators?”
The ranger got us to raft up about 20 yards from the south bank. “Watch those ‘logs,’” he advised. After a minute or so, one blinked. Then another. Before long, about a half dozen logs had revealed themselves. I’ve since seen a number of alligators along Milltail Creek.
As I was loading my boat, a guide with two clients arrived at the put-in. He’d been on Milltail read more

Exploring North Carolina’s northeast corridor

At our weekly GetHiking! Triangle hike a couple weeks back, I was approached at the trailhead by a woman who introduced herself as being from Virginia Beach, Va. She, her daughter and a friend were in town asked if they might tag along with our group. read more