Clear sunny skies, with temperatures in the 40’s, and just enough wind chill to convince me it was still winter. I couldn’t ask for much better weather to go check out several of the camping platforms along the Tar-Pamlico River Water Trail for the first time. The first stop on the trip was to the Vollmer platform. It is located in what is called “the back 40” in the rear of Vollmer Farm, a beautiful 5th generation family farm in Bunn. The platform is situated on the edge of a large field, on a slight rise above the river with a small line of trees separating it from the water. As I stood on the deck, I could look down through the trees at the Tar River lazily flowing by. On leaving the platform, I followed a tree lined trail along the riverbank for about 50 yards upstream that ended with a short staircase on the right leading down to a small beach, offering easy river access for kayaks and canoes.
The Bourne platform was the next stop, located in the Dunbar vicinity near Tarboro. After driving down a long road with fields on my left and a single row of trees on my right, the platform came into view on the left. Positioned in the far rear of the Bourne family farm, it is surrounded on 3 sides by underbrush and trees, with the Tar River meandering by 10 yards behind it. It feels far separated from society, despite the fact that it is only minutes away. A 50 yard walk along the tree line brought me to a downward sloping trail that ends at the river, providing an easy entry and exit for boaters.
The last stop of the day was at the Panola platform, only a couple of miles from downtown Tarboro. In spite of its close vicinity to the town, it is tucked away in the woods behind the fields of Panola farm. The platform is found on the top of a steep bank overlooking the river. As I was gazing out on the river, I could see the wind blowing against the surface of the water, creating a ripple effect that caught the sun’s rays making the river shimmer. Looking down, I could see the river access on the right, just a few steps away from the platform. There are stairs leading down the bank that allow for boats to be tied off or carried up, offering the quickest access to the river of the three platforms.