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Blackwater River Report
(Cotton Bridge to Norman Riley)

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Report By:  slashpine    Date: 8/30/2008 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 4 photos     Map & Directions: View

Kayak trip on the Blackwater from Cotton Bridge to Norman Riley Camp (NRC). NRC is about halfway from Cotton to Bryant Bridge.

My Report:

This short trip gave us time to contemplate nature to its fullest. The river from Cotton Bridge to the Norman Riley camp is wide and deep with no obstructions and a few interests that might even be good for off river investigation. The river was up on this day and we started at noon. In hindsight, we believe the best time to go on this section of the river would be early morning or late afternoon. This would afford more opportunities to see wildlife.

We still spotted a number of fairly large turtles sunning on logs and we were tracked by some creatures on the banks. The leisurely pace--paddling is almost an afterthought, the way is so easy--makes for a quiet ride. A blue heron sported with us a bit. He flew around bends and waited for us to arrive. We desperately wanted a photo and without a sophisticated lens, we had to maneuver quietly along the banks, speed up at just the right time, and hope to surprise the heron. More often than not, we were just too slow, too noisy, or too clumsy, and the heron winged his way around the next bend and then waited for us to catch up--and so the game continued for a time.

We found red clay cliffs that had underground water trickling from crevices. As you glide along these cliffs, you're relaxed by the sound of this water. Similarly, there are several locations where waterfalls can be heard but not seen. We were tempted to leave our kayaks and go find these waterfalls, but we remained afloat instead. One waterfall was visible just north of the boat ramp, which is located on the western bank just north of the Norman Riley camp. We traveled up two coves, until the way was impassible. These were not deep coves, but interesting to investigate. One was possibly a small creek feeding into the Blackwater.

In addition to the boat ramp, a newly constructed pavilion with picnic areas and a wooden boardwalk that leads to a parking lot awaits the traveler. This area sits upon a slight incline and gives a wonderful view of the southern part of the river as it winds around two bends before disappearing beneath the forest.

We met no other humans until the very end of the trip. Some canoers were just ahead of us and a lone camper who told us of where to catch catfish (with chicken livers) was preparing to stay the night at the Norman Riley camp.

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): ~5
Fees/Costs $: 0

Photos from Cotton Bridge to Norman Riley:    (Click image to view full size)

wide river No Comm
wide river

Blackwater River flowing deep and full between pines.

smooth river No Comm
smooth river

Blackwater River flowing deep and full between pines.

easy day's work No Comm
easy day's work

Blackwater River flowing deep and full between pines.

as good as it gets No Comm
as good as it gets

Blackwater River flowing deep and full between pines.

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsSmall waterfalls, underground water from cliffs

Post Date: 9/1/2008

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