Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another trip to Merchants Millpond and points beyond

This year for Michaels birthday we went back to Merchants Millpond. This time we camped in the State Park Campground and paddled for two days.

The campground is beautiful, the sites are big with pads for your tent ( your tent not ours, we quit tenting a long time ago) a really nice fire pit and even a big hook to hang your lantern from. Hot showers! Cheap. Very well tended.

I've written about the Millpond before so will just post a few photos. It's an amazing place, it seems prehistoric. There are 3 alligators there but the place is so huge it's doubtful you'd see them. We saw hundreds of turtles, blue herons, dragonflys, minnows, a Pileated woodpecker that we watched for a long time, yellow-throated warbler and lots of other birds we couldn't identify.

 We rode over to Coinjock and had lunch at the Coinjock Marina and Restaurant. Very nice.

We rode up to the Hwy 17 visitors center to get a new map and information on other places to paddle.

We have been watching them build something across the river from the rest area, we hadn't been there for a couple years and were thrilled to see that it is now a state park!

You walk across the Dismal Swamp Canal on a bridge. They have a beautiful building with displays that talk about the Dismal Swamp and have trails and a boardwalk. They even have a paved 3 mile bike/walking trail that goes along the canal.

So far you can't camp there because they have to leave the bridge up at night so boats can get through but are trying to get a right of way with another way to get there so they can have camping there too.

You can rent a canoe there or launch your own and paddle the canal. We'll take another trip up that way to do that.

On the way back we commented on how much the roads have improved in the 22 years we've lived in eastern North Carolina. We still don't have 17 totally 4 laned but it is coming along. I'll write more about that after tomorrow.

It was a fun couple of days!
Jan Francoeur

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