This time of year is a perfect time for a summer paddle trip. It’s really too hot to hike, unless you go early in the morning or late in the evening, and so getting out on the water in your canoe or kayak is a great alternative. Last week, I was fortunate enough to get to paddle three times in three different locations.

The first place I paddled was Sunday morning at Lake Lucas. This is a beautiful small lake located not far from Asheboro. The weather was perfect with it being around 70 degrees and there was a beautiful misty cloud cover. A friend and myself paddled basically around the whole lake in about 3 hours. We saw a lot of great blue herons, a bald eagle, several kingfishers, two great egrets, and when we paddled up into the headwaters where it becomes creek-like we watched two fauns for several minutes. It was a lovely way to spend a morning.

On Tuesday of last week I paddled at my favorite place to go, Falls Lake. This area is also known as the Narrows or Narrows Reservoir and it’s a small lake located between Lake Tillery and Badin Lake. There are huge rock outcrops and a nice waterfall here. I prefer to paddle here during the week so as to avoid larger boats out on the lake on the weekend. The eastern side of this lake is Uwharrie National Forest and the western side is Alcoa land that is slated to go to Morrow Mountain State Park very soon, so this whole lake will soon be protected.

Although the forecast did not call for any storms, we did hear a rumble or two of thunder, but nothing transpired from it. It was pretty windy though and the lake was choppy on the way upstream, but by the time we got to the waterfall area it had calmed down and was calm the whole way back to the put-in on Falls Road. This is a gorgeous spot for a paddle.

On Saturday morning, I paddled a lesser-known section of Little River, parking at a community access and paddling upstream for about 2 miles. I paddled here once about 8 years ago but hadn’t been back since. Two friends and myself went for this paddle, and we saw a bald eagle shortly after entering the river. There are some large rock outcrops along this stretch of river, and we paddled as far as we could before coming to a rocky, shallow area. We got out here and waded around and cooled off. On the way back to the put-in, we encountered our eagle friend again who perched atop a branch long enough for us to get a good look before he soared back downstream.

I’m always looking for new places to kayak, so let me know where is your favorite place to paddle in the Uwharries or nearby area ( Now that Three Rivers Land Trust, the organization I work with, is merging with the Sandhills Area Land Trust, I’ll be looking for more locations to paddle in this southeastern area as well. I’ve never paddled the Deep River or Cape Fear River, but I look forward to exploring those areas and more soon.