We always enjoy hearing about people exploring our waterways here at Sound Rivers. Bill Hines, a longtime Sound Rivers volunteer, will be leading a paddling trip down the Neuse River this month – but not just any paddling trip. This excursion will last seven days – from April 9th to April 15th – and will cover approximately 190 miles of the Neuse, from Raleigh to New Bern.
Bill, a retired Ohio native who now calls Oriental home , has years of experience paddling on long trips, from weekends to multiple days. With three years of this particular trip under his belt, Bill knows how to tweak the route. The first year, the group began at Falls Lake Dam, but soon realized having to get out of the water and carry their kayaks around Milburnie Dam was an impediment for many. Now the trip begins at Anderson Point, allowing them to stay on the water the entire way.
Bill said of the trip, “Each year is very different because water levels can change. The first year we went out and water levels were very high; we moved right along.” If the water levels are low it can create challenges. Bill’s group will camp during their week-long paddle, using camping platforms, public parks, or private campsites along the river.
Bill is looking forward to exploring the Neuse again this year. In many places the river is only 70-80 feet wide, and seems almost an entirely different waterway from the mile-wide expanse of blue you see from the bridges of New Bern. Bill says what he loves about the trip is how peaceful the river is – for almost sixty miles of his route there are no houses or buildings along the Neuse. “Each time we’re out for a full day you see so much of the river and get immersed in it. You see how much of the Neuse has really nothing on it, it’s very relaxing,” he says.