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Night Kayak and Campover Great Dismal Swamp

Come for a peaceful night paddle into a remote campsite by Lake Drummond after work. We will meet at gravel lot at the canal boat launch, intersection of Route 17 and Ballahack Rd in Chesapeake at 6pm. Only about 25-30 minutes from downtown Norfolk. We will kayak an easy 4 miles down the canal via the Feeder Ditch in the dark to the campsite. Campsite is large, flat, grassy area where the canal meets Lake Drummond. Pole lights, picnic tables, and a bathroom facility is available, but the site is very remote and tent camping only. We will camp the night and cook hotdogs/have a drink.

The next morning we kayak back to the car about 9am. It's about a 2 1/2 hr paddle each way going at a slow pace. If you haven't been, it's a beautiful, remote area that is home to wildlife including black bears and lot's of history. You get the best of both worlds, paddling in by moonlight and stars along the narrow canal and then wake up to the wilderness scenery for a daylight return paddle.

Bring tent, sleeping bag, water and food for the night, headlamp and your favorite beverage if you wish.

 

 

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Fun trip, great to see some familiar faces and meet some new folks. Looking forward to doing more kayak camping.

    December 3, 2012

  • Alan T.

    Great trip everyone, and good to meet some new people. Thanks for coming out!

    December 2, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Very enjoyable trip! I look forward to more trips like this one!

    December 1, 2012

  • Alan T.

    I am also bringing a bundle of pine firewood to distribute, duraflame is just for warmth and keeping it going.

    November 30, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    This is from the Duraflame web site just FYI:
    Is it okay to cook over the fire of a duraflame fire log?
    No. Duraflame fire logs are not designed nor intended for use as a cooking fuel. Generally, the types of solid fuel used for cooking produce coals, which emanate heat over a period of time, and cooking is conducted by exposing the food directly to the heat generated by the coals. Our regular fire logs only burn with flames and do not generate adequate coals for cooking.

    November 30, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      We are only using logs for fire and gathering purposes, not actual cooking. I am bringing a flame which can be used for cooking. FYI.

      November 30, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was there last winter (Jan 2012) and it was a blast. Hand warmers, FTW! I got a great big scar on my shin from it, not sure how, but the Dismal Swamp had long been a curiosity and the trip (and the scar as a tangible reminder) was unforgettable. I was a bit envious of the people with heaters and hot breakfast, but overall it was a good "reminder of being alive" for lack of a better term. For experienced winter campers, I'm sure it was easy, but to me it was special.

    1 · November 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I would like to come but I see below this is an adult only event. I have a 15 yo son who kayaked with me on the Dismal Swamp this summer, but we went the other direction. This looks like a lot of fun - to include camping - so hope you will include kids sometime in a future trip.

    November 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    How much is a kayak to buy or rent? I don't have one.

    November 26, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      You can call Wild River Outfitters (WRO) for a rental price[masked]-1089. Do you have all the needed clothing/equipment for possible immersion in 45-50 degree water? What about a PFD?

      November 26, 2012

    • Alan T.

      I guess you found a kayak since you RSVP'd, but Craigslist is always a good place to start when looking to buy one. Browse the selections for a couple months until you find the right kayak at the right price for you. And I don't know what you drive, but I saw a Prius with a 12 footer on top one day, so almost any vehicle can carry a kayak!

      November 28, 2012

  • David G.

    Any kids coming on this trip? Thinking of bringing my 12 yo.

    November 25, 2012

    • David G.

      I figured as much. All is good. Would like to come but won't make this one.

      November 28, 2012

    • Alan T.

      Sorry you can't make it David, I will be creating some more kayak and camping trips as soon as the holidays are over.

      November 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wow talk about things working in our favor!! I just received a call back form the Army Corps of Engineers and they are going to keep the water turned on for us this weekend and shut it off Monday morning. FANTASTIC!!!!

    November 28, 2012

    • Alan T.

      That's great Jim, good initiative there! I'm so used to backpacking that worrying about water in the toilets hadn't even been a concern, but since there are several women going they will be happy for that

      November 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Are we able to leave early Saturday? I have a fundraiser that is taking place to be at 10am on Saturday. Is anyone planning to leave early? Thanks!

    November 28, 2012

    • Alan T.

      I will be leading the group paddle back about 10am unfortunately. Maybe someone going will want to leave earlier though.

      November 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Time to discuss what for some may be a “delicate” subject. I just talked with the Army Corps of Engineers and have been assured that the water to the toilets at the campsite has been shut off for the winter. If you are a backpacker you may be accustom to “a walk in the woods to dig a shallow hole” or as we did when caving, making use of strong plastic bags. No matter what method is used we don’t want to be accused of trashing the area

    November 28, 2012

    • Jenna B.

      Go Girl is fabulous. I had no idea. Men really are so lucky.

      November 28, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ladies, thanks for this information. I told my wife about Go Girl and found out that my favorite store (Austin Canoe & kayak) carries them. We are going to order her one asap.

      November 28, 2012

  • Alan T.

    Current weather forecast: Low of 40 degrees Fri night, 0% chance of rain, so great weather-chilly but not freezing!

    Remember to bring food for the night, 4-5 liters water, tent, sleeping bag, flashlight/headlamp, your preferred adult beverage if you wish, and a lot of us are bringing at least 1 duraflame log or piece of firewood, but it's not required.

    If anyone needs help finding the launch, or want to convoy from my house in Portsmouth, just let me know. My number is[masked]-8044. Please text or call if you're running late or have any questions. See you all out there, and Krystin I'll have my kayak there for you, and it has plenty of room for gear.

    November 27, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Your Dualist had no gas, I shall bring my Familist! ;)

      1 · November 28, 2012

    • Jenna B.

      Thanks Janek :)

      November 28, 2012

  • Alan T.

    One other thing: Let's please all stay together for this paddle on the way there Fri night. I realize some people will have longer and faster kayaks, others may have slower ones or not be very experienced. Some know this paddle well, others have never been here. This is a group event so I'd like for us to paddle in as a group, so beginners feel welcome, and not have speed demons zooming off while others lag far behind. We'll paddle at a comfortable, relaxing pace enjoying the serene night, with all 11 or so kayaks staying in a pack. We don't want anyone getting unknowingly left behind in the dark swamp or discouraged from participating in future events. Thanks everyone!

    November 27, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Right! ;)

      November 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey gang, here’s something we might want to be aware of, the GDS area has the largest Black Bear population on the east coast. Black bears do not truly hibernate. On warm days they often are out and about foraging for food. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Unprovoked bear attacks are very rare, and have never been documented in Virginia.
    This site contains some excellent information. http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/bear/black-bear-factsheet.pdf

    November 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    This is taken from the U S Fish and Wildlife Service Website http://www.fws.gov/northeast/greatdismalswamp/opportunities.html

    Note the part about the restrooms

    The Lake Drummond Reservation (Army Corp of Engineers site), at the Feeder Ditch spillway, is open for 24-hour use. The facility consist of an open grassy area for camping, fire rings, two screen picnic shelters, outdoor grills and tables. restrooms with running water (usually April to November). You will need to bring all your needs including drinking water and fire wood. Access to the camping area is by water only; sites are "first-come." Use of Lake Drummond is during daylight hours only. Swimming is not allowed; fishing by Virginia fishing license.

    November 25, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Definitely bring your own water. The running water mentioned is pumped from the canal and not potable.

      November 25, 2012

    • Alan T.

      Don't remember a screened in picnic shelter from last time either! But yes, bottled water is needed, enough for the paddle there, that night, and the return paddle. I will also bring 2 duraflame logs

      November 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will be staying over Saturday to paddle in Lake Drummond if anyone would like to join me.

    November 25, 2012

    • Alan T.

      For those paddling back, we will start our group paddle back by 10am, so wake-up time will be by 9am to give everyone an hour to pack up/eat breakfast. Those wanting to paddle back separately at a later or earlier time or remain on Drummond with Jim are welcome to do so. Got a big group going, should be a fun trip!

      November 25, 2012

  • Jenna B.

    I love your profile picture Krystin. It's awesome! I wish I had tried that before I had my daughter.

    November 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'll bring a few logs too, and some dessert.

    November 24, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Don’t have much experience with Duraflame logs but will bring two to add to the pile. For me breakfast will be eggs, bacon, biscuits and milk. Just joking!! Probably a heat and eat type meal.

    November 24, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Last time I camped there we all brought 2 duraflame logs each. Good thing we did because there was nothing on site to burn. I'll bring 2 duraflames. My plan for dinner is a Mountain House meal and instant oatmeal for breakfast. It's just the easy way to go.

    November 24, 2012

  • Alan T.

    Sounds good to me.

    November 23, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Any plans for a community evening meal or campfire. At one time they actually provided firewood. Don’t know if they still do that or not but everyone could tote in a “log” or two.

    November 23, 2012

    • Alan T.

      I planned on bringing hotdogs/buns and a duraflame fire log just in case firewood is scarce. Last time I went there was no provided firewood, and kinda hard to collect some without wading through swamp. If other people want to bring some stuff that would be great. It'll be a chilly night so a nice fire would be nice.

      November 23, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      I can bring some kindling and a piece or two of firewood. If everyone going would pack in a couple of pieces of wood we could have a decent fire for a while. If you (and maybe others) are bringing hotdogs I can bring some canned chili (3 or 4 cans). Breakfast could be up to each individual.

      November 23, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sounds lovely, but I can't make it. Hope you will do it again sometime.

    November 22, 2012

8 went

  • Alan T.
    Event Host
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member

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