North Carolina Newspapers

Dr. Achorn Writes of Winter Canoeing
Trip from Pinelmrst to Atlantic Ocean
Three Hundred and Sixty-four Allies
the Distance of This Marvelous
Wilderness Tourney
HOW MANY of those
who love to boat on a
"little river" know that
the starting point for
one of the most unique
and picturesque canoe
ing trips in this country
is to be found six miles
from Pinehurst. Rising
in the High Sand Hills of North Carolina,
forty-four miles above Pinehurst, the
Lumbee (Lumber in geographies), Croa
tan Indian name for beautiful water,
speeds Southward into the Little Pee Dee,
which in turn flows into the Great Pee
Dee twenty-nine miles above George
town, South Carolina, where the Great
Pee Dee greets its ocean mother. The
actual distance between these two points
is three hundred and sixty-four miles.
The Lumbee and Little Pee Dee are
from three to ten feet deep with a current
of from two to four miles an hour. On
some of the bends, or "cow faces", the
tide water is going faster than this.
These rivers carry open water to the sea
and for streams so wild and little used,
are remarkably free from serious obstruc
tions. There are snags which might bother
a motor boat when the stream is low ;
rarely a jam ; a wind fall now and then ;
a tree that some hunter has felled in
order to get his coon African pork they
call it but that is about all. A man
with an axe makes quick work of them.
The Lumbee and Little Pee Dee are said
to be the only clear water rivers flow
ing though, the Atlantic Coast plain.
They are fed' entirely by springs that
rise in the Sand Hills and by creeks
which have been given the same kind of
a start.
Out of the Spring the Brook begins,
That winds till it meets a Brother;
And the River they form flows a
thousand miles
To greet its Ocean Mother,
For the first part the river winds
through a timber growth which has never
seen an axe. Cypresses twenty feet in
circumference and a hundred feet high
stand on the river brink, with pines that
sum up ninety feet to the first limb and
would do as masts for ships that sail the
world around. There are no bank bushes
to obstruct the view, and the river thirty
or forty feet wide and bold right up to
the banks, flowing rapidly for many miles
through such stately timber, affords an
impressive picture. In one cypress brake
not far below Blue's Bridge, where the
start is made, a colony of blue heron nest.
The parent birds stand nearly five feet
high. At the sound of voices all these
great birds disturbed by the unaccustomed
sight of canoes and their occupants, be
gin circling about ; f or a modern canoe
never passed over this course until five
years ago. Wild turkeys, hogs, deer,
and other game are found in their chosen
localities along the river. Otter and rac
coons are sometimes seen swimming in
the water. Raccoons do not seem to
understand about a canoe or a paddle that
makes no sound. Bass, jack, blue bream,
and a fish locally called "red robin", a
variety of perch, beautiful in color which
rises to the fly, are among the game fish.
Railroads and sand clay roads cross
the Lumbee at various points convenient
for breaking the voyage as one may wish.
In the North railroads follow the water
courses, in the. South they cross them at
right angles.
History tells us that Sherman in his
march northward from Charleston crossed
the Lumbee at Gilchrist Bridge, just above
Wagram. T Blue's Bridge, where four
counties corner; is also a historical
structure. The descendants of the family
it is named from still live in the Sand
Hills and are justly proud of a lineage
which dates back to the time of William
the Conqueror. All the early settlers
along the river were Scotch. They en
tered the country in 1739 by way of the
Cape Fear river. Some of them came
from the Island of Skye, on the coast of
Scotland and still keep in touch with their
kin there. Wagram, a Scotch settlement
at the end of the first wilderness, forty
miles below Blue's Bridge, is an interes
ting place to visit. It is the birthplace
of John C. McNeill, poet of the Caro
linas. He died here in early manhood five
years ago. The McNeill plantation at
Riverton, a suburb of Wagram, fronts on
the river and here the brother and sister
of the poet continue to keep open house
after the delightful Southern fashion.
Half way between Maxton and Lum
berton lies the Croatan Indian section.
Here are three thousand five hundred In
dians with an interesting history. In
the latter part of the sixteenth century,
that era of adventure and discovery, a
company from England, the second col
onizing expedition sent across the Wes
tern ocean by Sir Walter Raleigh, landed
on Roanoke Island on the North Carolina
shore and made a settlement which is
known as the "Lost Colony". In 1590,
only three years after the establishment
of the colony, a relief expedition sent to
the island found, so the legend goes, no
trace of the original band, but burned in
the timbers of a ruined fort was the
word "Croatan". The Croatan Indians
of the present day have blue eyes and coal
black hair. Their odd speech, many of
their words reminding one of Chaucer,
the old English cross-bow in use among
them, along with other characteristics
and historical tokens, have led to the con
clusion that they are the descendants of
the "Lost Colony" crossed with the Croa
tans. Croatan is said to be the Indian
name for Hatteras. It takes a day in a
canoe to go through this reservation.
One often comes upon Indian women and
children fishing. "What luck?" is the call
in passing ; "Fish don't bite no wurth,'
the laconic answer. The famous Henry
Berry Swamp is located on the river near
this reservation. Here the Lowrie out
laws lived for ten years in defiance of all
authority. Their crimes and atrocities,
which have been described in a book,
ceased only when the last of the gang
was killed by a captive who had been tied
each night to an outlaw when they lay
down on the ground to sleep.
T Going towards Lumberton the trip on
the river averages three miles by water
to one by land, though there are some,
"reaches" of water ; long straight paths.
Sometimes the river makes a bend of two
miles and you could hand a kiss to the
other fellow's girl across the narrow neck
or ribbon of land that divides the stream.
Occasionally one comes to huge cypress
trees standing in mid-stream. These trees
are called "dram trees", for it is said
when raftsmen come to one of these they
are entitled to a drink of whiskey. On the
other hand these sentinel trees seem as
though on guard and under orders not to
let any pass except those who are worthy.
As one approaches Lumberton he leaves
behind the holly and the mistletoe shot
with waxen balls,and finds swaying grace
fully the first sprays of grey Spanish
moss. This moss marks the approach to
the land of flowers and ease, as contrac
ted, let us say, with the land of ice and
industry, of our Northern tier of states.
Lumberton is the only considerable town
directly on the river. From this point to
the sea the Goverment ha s freed the course
of snags and it is safe for the use of motor
boats and launches. Here the river is
about one hundred feet wide. There is a
bluff thirty feet high, five miles below
Lumberton, where sea shells of great va
iety are to be found, which goes to show
that the sand hills now one hundred miles
back from the sea, were once the ocean
shore. Bluffs like this front on the river
every five or ten miles throughout the
course. They make fine camping grounds.
Quail are plenty on the uplands back of
these blufis. Bathing facilities are af
forded on sandy points opposite the bluffs
where the water is always deepest. There
is no mud in this region, and there are
none of the insect pests to contend with
that one encounters in the Northern
wilderness. Princess Ann bluff, a few
miles above the town of Fairbluff, is seventy-five
feet high and rises in a truly
queenly manner above the surface of the
river. With its natural spring and beauti
ful grove of pines it affords an ideal spot
for the camper. Fairbluff", where one can
easily get supplies, is a pretty, restful
little town of a handful of people ; the
only thing disturbing its quietness
a new bank building. Six miles by water
below this point one crosses into South
Carolina, and twenty five-miles further
on the Little Pee Dee empties into the
Lumbee and steals away its name, a thing
it never should have been allowed to do,
if length and size count for anything in
the "right of way" of rivers. Not far be
low the joining of these, Driftwood Is
land raises its high crest, from which
there is a view up and down the stream.
Its slopes are as clean as drifted sand on
the sea shore. It is a beautiful spot.
From Gallavant's Ferry on the Little
Pee Dee to where it meets the Great Pee
Dee, is one vast hunting preserve. This
area is densely wooded and is so difficult
for the lumberman that it will long re
main the home for wild hogs, cats,
fox-squirrel, deer, bear and other game.
The Flats or Buzzard Reaches, so call
ed, near the mouth of the Little Pee Dee
River are a most bewildering and fascinat
ing piece of canoeing water.They are made
up of a labyrinth of "lakes" which cut
across the course of the Little Pee Dee for
fifteen miles. Here one is virtually afloat
in a cypress forest. Many of the lakes are
separated from one another by single or
double columns of tallcy presses giving the
eflect of a collonade ; the trees often mir
rored in the waters of the lakes they sepa
rate. Trees drawn up in this f ashion,along
silent waterways which are without a rip
ple and clear as crystal, are a charming
sight. The cypiessis a tree of mystery.
A sand island seven acres in extent
in the centre of this lake region is the
only possible camping ground. "Big Rat
chel," a huge cypress known by that name
to rivermen and others all over the State
of South Carolina, stands at the lower end
of these reaches, a short distance from an
old landing in the swamp said to have
been used by the Tories during the Revo
lutionary War. This tree marked the spot
where those who knew might land.
Entering the Great Pee Dee one is
borne rapidly along on its "yellow waters'r
toward Georgetown, twenty nine miles
away. The power of this mighty river is
instantly felt and appreciated. There is
no mistaking the force of its eddying
swirl. Soon the rice islands in the delta
of the river divide the waters, and taking
either channel one bowls along past plant
ations on these rice islands, which once up
held the wealth and chividry of the South
land. The islands are now the winter
home for ducks that fly in from the sea
at nightfall to rest on sheltered waters
and to feed on wild rice growing there
with the abolition of slavery and the dis
covery later that rice could be grown suc
cessfully on the uplands of Texas, these
vast estates have fallen into disuse, and
some of them have been abandoned by
their once proud owners. Only the mag
nitude of the estates and the beauty of the
surroundings created about their colonial
homes remain to point the story of the
past. Great avenues of live oak or low
land pine trees flank the river front or
mark the approach to halls now silent.
These mighty live oaks hung with Spanish
moss look like so many mastodons at at
tention. Some of them have a spread of
a hundred feet and may be twice that
number of years old. Everything is inter
esting and beautiful. Everything points
to an age that is gone never to be repro
duced in this country. The temperature of
this sand hill river region permits of boat-
ing and camping during much of the time,
even in its "six weeks of winter." The
air has a soft, rare quality. The Sand Hills
average two hundred and thirty days of
sunshine during the year. Here one has
the chance to boat, hunt, camp and fish,.
in TP inter along one of the most beauti
ful waterways in this country in the least
changed and oldest section of the South
t Why not be one of many to live again
summer days ?
John Warren Achorn, M. D-
Stories lr Dion II. Duller
We announce with pleasure a series
of Moore County stories from the pen of
Mr. Bion II. Eutler, a newspaper corres
pondent who has won fame on two con
tinents. As life's shadows lengthen Mr.
Butler is enjoying "halycon days" on
his farm nearby, writing merely because
he can't help it amid an environment of
books, manuscripts, and The Open.
IT Get the Habit : Send The Outlook to
Friends. Telling, as it does, the full story
of the ween "It saves Letter Writing"

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