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An Afternoon on Broad Creek

As I am working on promoting the Tar-Pamlico River Water Trail, it is always a good idea to familiarize myself with the current, as well as the future trail. With this in mind, Matt Butler and I decided to go for a brief paddle on Broad Creek, where we plan to start building a new camping platform in the next couple of months. Broad Creek is one of the Pamlico River’s tributaries, and is located east of Washington, before you reach Goose Creek State Park. It was a beautiful day with white clouds and a blue sky to compliment them. We started our paddle from a small launch at the Washington Yacht and Country Club. The water was just barely choppy, pushing us forward as we paddled past the docks with countless boats at rest. As we left the docks behind, we approached a water sign that was adorned with an osprey nest. As we passed the nest, we saw an osprey flying towards us along the tree line. It landed on a tree not far from us, as if it were waiting for us to leave its nesting area.

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We continued on, passing countless cypress trees, many of them sporting the Spanish moss so common along the water trail. One of the trees growing among a large group of cypress knees had a bird house mounted on it, with a metal plate stretched out below it to stop snakes and other predators from reaching the birds inside. Just downstream we happened across a turtle bathing in the sunlight on top of a log. I managed to snap a photo before he dove into the water. A strange sight reached us as we paddled around a bend in the creek. An old boat was lying on its side, half submerged in the water. We paddled in for a closer look, investigating its weathered and rusted deck. As I passed close by I heard a splashing from within. It seems that something had made quite a comfortable home from the wreck.

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Within the next few minutes we reached a fork in the creek, and paddled off to the right, where the location for the new camping platform is located. Further down this fork in the creek I could see a small bank with a fisherman relaxing in the afternoon sun. Before we reached him however, we arrived at the future platform location, shown in the photo below and to the right. We continued down the creek for another half hour, passing under Broad Creek Road. The creek started becoming narrower and shortly after passing a small house on the banks, we turned and headed back towards the put in.

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The paddle back was much faster, the first half of which afforded no new sights. However, as we again passed by the sunken boat and turned the corner, we noticed a towering tree, naked of any leaves, with a large osprey nest resting high in its uppermost branches. Two seagulls caught our attention as we neared the wide open stretch of water in front of the country club. They were fighting over a dead fish that floated between them. After a few moments of them wrestling on the water, one of them flew away, leaving the victor floating next to its meal. After passing the site of this altercation, I looked in the distance and saw a sailboat slowly floating in to anchor at the country club. We soon followed suit, our kayaks scraping to a stop on the ramp as we reached the end of our paddle. Like all of the paddles I have done so far, Broad Creek has a lot to offer. Whether you are looking for a peaceful paddle, to see the creek’s wildlife, or – in the near future – a place to camp on the water, Broad Creek won’t disappoint you.

Paddle Trip Dinner Ideas
Paddling the Water Trail with Durham Parks & Rec