All are invited to DRBA’s August 6 First Saturday Outing on a popular section of the Dan River for a 4.5-mile paddle from Hanging Rock State Park to Moratock Park in Danbury, NC.
Will Truslow, past president of DRBA and an avid kayaker, will coordinate the scenic five-mile float.
Participants are asked to be at the put-in by 9 a.m. at the Hanging Rock State Park canoe access off Flinchum Road to unload boats and gear and set the shuttle.
According to Truslow, the scenery is magnificent. “This outing goes through one of the most scenic sections of the Dan in Stokes County. One of the most popular stretches of the Dan River, there are incredible bluffs that come straight down to the riverside along with areas of dense rhododendron.” Along the way, there is a cave in a rock cliff and near the end of the trip, he adds, is “a quarter-mile-long bluff that is stunning.”
At normal levels this section offers mostly calm waters with one easy Class II rapid at Moratock Park, just before the take-out. The easy put-in and take-out make this an excellent family trip.
Shortly after the put-in, boaters will pass under the NC 89 Highway Bridge. About three miles into the trip is Seven Island Bridge. Except for these two landmarks, most of the trip reveals little evidence of human disturbance, with nearly half of the river corridor passing through State Natural Heritage Areas.
Most of the trip will be through lands recognized by the state of North Carolina as State Natural Heritage Areas, and about half a mile is in Hanging Rock State Park. Besides natural ledges, paddlers will pass vee-shaped fish traps, used for centuries by Native Americans and European settlers to channel fish into nets or baskets during their annual spawning runs.
After loading their boats at Moratock Park, participants may enjoy visiting the historic 1843 Moratock Furnace, a 40-foot-high granite structure where iron ore from local mines was smelted. According to “The Dan River Atlas,” water from the river was channeled through “an ingenious tunnel through the horseshoe bend” to power the bellows for the furnace. Only the furnace near the canoe access remains today.
Additional interesting facts about this river section’s history, culture, and nearby attractions are found in Maps 68 — 70 of DRBA’s publication, “An Insider’s Guide to the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia,” available at www.danriver.org.
Participants in the outing are asked to provide boat and paddles, life jacket, lunch and water, to dress in layers of artificial (quick-drying) fabric or wool, and to sign a waiver.
To reach the Hanging Rock Access from Stuart, VA, travel south on Virginia 8. Turn left on Route 89. Travel about ¼ mile, and turn right onto Flinchum Road, which is marked by a brown DAN RIVER ACCESS sign. Drive past the Dan River Company on the way to the concrete launch ramp.
From the town of Danbury, travel west on Route 89. Pass the hospital and the road to Hanging Rock State Park. About one mile west of the hospital, turn left onto Flinchum Road, which is marked by a brown DAN RIVER ACCESS sign. Drive past the Dan River Company on the way to the concrete launch ramp.
Outings and meetings of the Dan River Basin Association are open to the public without charge. For trip information, contact trip coordinator Will Truslow at 336-547-1903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about DRBA and its recreation, education and stewardship programs that protect and preserve our local natural resources, visit www.danriver.org.
(Photos courtesy of DRBA)