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Murder Creek - Alabama Report
(Murder Creek near Brewton, AL)

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Report By:  paddlesolo    Date: 4/25/2009 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 13 photos     Map & Directions: View

The Murder Creek paddle begins several miles northeast of Brewton, AL and ends at a town park in Brewton. Brewton is approximately 10 miles north of the Florida state line. It is a paddle in completely natural surroundings with gravel and/or sand bars.

My Report:

Murder, She Wrote......oh no, that only brings up an image of Angela Lansbury -what I mean to write is about the Murder Creek paddle in Brewton, AL. Those of us in the Panhandle ocasionally slip across the border and paddle in southern Alabama or Georgia, and this paddle was one of those times.

A WFCKC member had previously operated a livery service in Brewton, and was familiar with the stream and directions so our group was in good hands. The creek was above normal levels due to recent heavy rains. Local fishermen said it was about 3 feet about normal, which actually made for a better paddle. The current was running between 2.5 and 3 mph, and the gravel bars were under water so we had the entire span of creek to play in. All the local paddlers on the river were in tandem aluminum canoes which added to my impression at lower stream levels there would be gravel and rocks that paddlers would come in contact with.

The section of the creek that was paddled is undeveloped and passes through the T.R. Miller Wildlife Management Area. There are high clay banks along the first several miles of the paddle, and they were covered with prolific mountain laural which was still in bloom. An even bigger surprise was the amount of orange wild azalea that was present. I had in the past seen two orange wild azalea plants on Holmes Creek but the plant was abundantly present along miles of our Murder Creek paddle. One of the things I noticed was the variations in shade, which I erronously thought was due to the plants being at the end of their blooming period. Using internet research I found that the plants can be yellow, a yellow-tan color, or orange. Here is a quote form a wildflower website:

"Orange-flowered Wild Azalea
Rhododendron austrinum
Ericaceae (Heath) Family

Plant is an upright shrub. Preferred habitat is edge of woodland streams. Distribution is occasional in the Escambia region.Finding this azalea in the open woods and swamps is a happening that must occur during a brief bloom cycle, at which time it is best identified. The flowering period extends over a two to three week period during March and April. The Latin 'austrinum' describes the shrub as “southern.”

Five miles down stream from the put-in is a delightful small stream that joins Murder Creek. It is Cedar Creek and we paddled upstream on Cedar Creek for a short distance to a huge sandbar, and got out and played in the water. We couldn't swim because it wasn't deep enough, but the crystal clear, cool water was very refreshing. Murder Creek was still discolored from the run-off from heavy rains.

As we paddled on past Cedar Creek I noticed a change in the landscape. The banks were lower, and the vegetation changed to primarily hardwood forests with a few pines. We passed the remains of two historic wooden bridges, one with high posts, the other with short posts which presented a challenge course to navigate due to the swift current. One kayaker took a "swim" in Murder Creek at this point, but the water level was low and the rescue was not complicated.

When we reached the take-out there were a number of people on the large sandbar and driving down to the creek in vehicles. It was difficult determining where to take out. One determined women pulled her kayak straight up the bank and came out very close to her vehicle. Others drove their vehicles closer to the area vehicles were using to come down to the creek, and those club members with trucks and 4-wheel drive vehicles did drive down to pick up their boats. My trusty Mohawk hitched a ride up to my car on the back of a pick-up.

Here is some information about reaching the take-out. Reverse directions from the Kirkland Bridge put in and from US 31 continue S on SR 29 to Magnolia Plaza and turn L on Snowdon Street. go past the first city park on the L, travel to Churchhill street and turn L. This area is called Fort Crawford Park in East Brewton. Paved entrance turns into a rough unpaved road in area with lots of local traffic. GPS Mark: N31 06.162 W87 03.459

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Canoe
Distance (miles): 9.3
Fees/Costs $: free

Photos from Murder Creek near Brewton, AL:    (Click image to view full size)

Beginning of Paddle No Comm
Beginning of Paddle

A downstream view at the beginning of the Murder Creek paddle as the group leaves Kirkland Bridge

Butterfly on Gravel No Comm
Butterfly on Gravel

While taking a break I found this butterfly on a gravel bar

Clay Cliffs No Comm
Clay Cliffs

Clay cliffs lined Murder Creek primarily on the left bank as one paddles downstream.

Cedar Creek Soak No Comm
Cedar Creek Soak

The group paddled a short distance up Cedar Creek and some people got wet.

Taking a Break Too No Comm
Taking a Break Too

Discussing important paddling issues on a Cedar Creek sandbar.

Meditation No Comm

Another fellow enjoying nature.

Red Flowers No Comm
Red Flowers
Put-In No Comm

The put-in area at Kirkland Bridge.

Local Fisher Folk No Comm
Local Fisher Folk

There were additional local folk using Murder Creek for paddling and fishing.

Murder Creek Cliff No Comm
Murder Creek Cliff
Wild Azaleas No Comm
Wild Azaleas

Orange Wild Azaleas are not too common, but they bloomed abundantly along Murder Creek.

Remains of Bridge No Comm
Remains of Bridge
Taking Off No Comm
Taking Off

GPax was on this paddle also. He and I had a lot of fun planning future paddles to post on the 'Wave.

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsBrewton is north of the Blackwater State Forest near Baker, Florida, and there is camping at Bear Lake and Karick Lake that would put one within short driving distance for this paddle. Coldwater Ceek is also nearby.

Post Date: 4/26/2009

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