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Blackwater River Report


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Report By:  paddlesolo    Date: 4/19/2008 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 13 photos     Map & Directions: View


An 11-mile paddle on the upper Blackwater from Kennedy Bridge to Cotton Bridge.

My Report:

A member of the canoe club that I belong to posted a trip on the Blackwater from Kennedy Bridge to Cotton Bridge. I had not paddled this section of the river, so was eager to join the group. The weather front that had concerned me earlier in the week moved through during the night, and as we drove to the put-in, the sky cleared up to a beautiful azure blue. The humidity was low, and the temperature for the paddle was in the 70's. The weather was absolutely perfect. There were 7 solo canoes, 4 solo kayaks, and one tandem canoe paddled as a solo.


The young man did quite well by having the front seat in the back and sitting so he was facing the back seat. This put him a little further up into the canoe, and he put his gear in the front (which would be the back if there were two people) and it weighted the front down, and he made good time.

The river was up and the current averaged three miles and hour, and since it had rained the night before there were many little stream emptying into the river. Several of them had small waterfalls and made a merry splashing sound as the water reached the river. The Mountain Laurel was in bloom on both banks, and the new leaves on the decidious trees were bright green against the darker pine trees.

We paddled without meeting any other people or seeing any development on the river until we arrived at Peaden Bridge, 4.8 miles downstream. There were two cabins, one on each side of the river, at the bridge. It is possible to take-out and put-in at this bridge down a steep bank, and the livery was putting people in for the section of the Blackwater from Peaden to Cotton Bridge. There were people camping on the sandbars, driving down to the riverside on forest roads and swimming and picnicing, and quite a few young families with small children. It always warms my heart to see families taking their children out in nature, I know they aren't sitting in front of the Boob Tube!
There were times when my GPS indicated it wasn't getting satellite reception, so club members convinced me the paddle really is 11 miles. The group took two rest stops and a lunch break. When I arrived at the take-out at the road side park I found out the the river had filled in a broad area over many years, and the former boat ramp ended yards away from the river bank. So we lugged out boats and gear up into the parking lot.

If the only section I had paddled was from Kennedy Bridge to Peaden Bridge, this paddle would rate a 5 for the absolutely stunning scenery. Downstream from Peaden there were more people on the river and distractions such as loud music, cussing, and young adults smoking some funny looking cigarettes. Because of the heavy useage there was more litter. This section would get a 3.

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Canoe
Distance (miles): 11
Fees/Costs $: Free


Photos from Blackwater River:    (Click image to view full size)

Kennedy Bridge View No Comm
Kennedy Bridge View

This is a view from Kennedy Bridge looking downstream at the Blackwater River

Getting Organized No Comm
Getting Organized

A couple of my friends are preparing for the paddle

Breaking News No Comm
Breaking News

Evidently a new bridge is in the making, although my friends tried to convince me it would be a boat ramp with an elevator.

Mountain Laurel No Comm
Mountain Laurel
Buddy and Kojo No Comm
Buddy and Kojo
Taking a Look Around No Comm
Taking a Look Around

Charles wanted to look at the campsite on the river bank. I know the Old Town Tandems are stable boats, but this is ridiculous!

Mountain Laurel No Comm
Mountain Laurel

Here is a close-up view of the Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel III No Comm
Mountain Laurel III

Another close-up taken from the river.

Waterfall No Comm
Waterfall

Water was pouring down the riverbanks.

Diane and George No Comm
Diane and George

This kayak is going under Peaden Bridge

Take-Out No Comm
Take-Out

This is the view of the take-out from the way-side park at Cotton Bridge.

Volleyball No Comm
Volleyball

These girls were going to have some difficulty if someone missed the ball and it went floating downstream at 3mph

High Cliffs No Comm
High Cliffs

There were sections of the river with steep cliffs and long-leafed pine growing on the flat plain above.



Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsHurricane Lake has two camping sites nearby, and Karick Lake has two camping sites a little further away. Most of the paddle and those two lakes are in the Blackwater State Forest.



Post Date: 4/19/2008

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