CRYSTAL COCKMAN COLUMN: Kayakers enjoy adventure at the Narrows

Published 2:03 pm Monday, March 21, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

On March 19, Three Rivers Land Trust hosted its first paddle trip of the year at the Narrows, also known as Falls Reservoir. This lake is located between Badin Lake and Lake Tillery. Thanks to a recent donation of land by ALCOA, the entire lakeshore is now protected. The eastern shore is Uwharrie National Forest and the western shore is now a part of Morrow Mountain State Park.

Crystal Cockman writes a column for The SNAP through the Three Rivers Land Trust.

This paddle trip started at 10 a.m. and there was a fine mist coming down as we unloaded boats.

However, that didn’t last long and although overcast the float trip was mostly rain-free.

We began at the Falls Lake access off Falls Road near the town of Badin. We had about 15 people join us for this trip. Special thanks to David Ritzheimer with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, for joining us for this trip and providing a safety briefing.

The redbuds on the lake edge were in full bloom and the Moccasin Falls waterfall was generously flowing thanks to recent rains. We paddled across to the Montgomery County side then up to the waterfall and beyond to the rocks in front of the Historic Badin Dam, before paddling across the lake again and following the western shore back to the put-in. We saw seagulls, a double crested cormorant and several osprey while on the water.

This is one of my very favorite places to paddle because it is so scenic, and there are no houses or piers on the water. Just large rocky outcrops and beautiful hardwood forests.

Carolina Jessamine (also known as Carolina Jasmine) was also in bloom, one of the best smelling wildflowers found in North Carolina forests in springtime. It’s a pretty small lake so there also aren’t usually too many motorboats speeding up and down the lake either, which makes it a much nicer place for kayaking than some of our busier and larger lakes.

The area below the dam is also the only place in the world that the federally endangered Yadkin River goldenrod exists. This wildflower blooms in early October and is a truly unique plant that is dependent upon the frequent scouring of the rocks with water to prevent competition. They grow out of the rocks and can withstand the water and wind that some other vegetation cannot. Their reward is the open sunlight they need to continue to maintain their place on the rocky shoreline.

If you’re looking for a good paddle trip in Stanly County, consider the Narrows for your next adventure. It’s a beautiful place for a paddle with lots of interested natural features. I know I’ll be visiting again several more times this year now that the weather is warm enough for kayaking.

Crystal Cockman is associate director of Three Rivers Land Trust.