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Paddle and Hike! A Trip Back in Time-Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge!

  • Nov 2, 2013 · 10:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Fall Colors Paddle Trip With Optional Hike! A Trip Back in Time to Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge!! Appropriate for Both Novice and Experienced Paddlers!

A Glorious Paddle to a Hauntingly Beautiful and Completely Wild Natural Lake with bald cypress, Spanish moss, and solitude!

Twisted balk cypress trees rise eerily from the tannin-stained waters of a vast lake, Spanish moss clinging to their feathery needs. Waterfowl cries echo in the distance. Wilderness in all directions, as far as the eye can see. Louisiana? Florida? South Carolina? Nope, Virginia! Like a slice of the bayou, just without all those pesky gators

We Have 3 Sit On Tops (SOT) Kayaks to Rent on a first come first serve basis for a flat fee of 20.00 dollars, including portage, paddle, PFD, and a large dry bag. The leader will be brining them with him so this will save you having to pick up your own rental, buy a rack, as well as portage. That is if you do not own your own boat, yet... We will only bring them with us if they are rented so it you would like one, please e-mail Kellie at [masked] and they are fist come first serve.

Paddle Trip Information

Activity Type: Kayaking
Nearby City: Chesapeake, VA

Length: About 4 Miles or further if you want to stay around as this is on Lake Drummond so we can go as little or far as we wish. We will decide as a group which is what has always worked out best on the paddle trips. But, as you know by now, I tend to be very organized so I do have a 4 mile trip plan but am flexible if you wish to explore more beyond that. Don't forget we are also going to hike after the paddle so we can take this fascinated area in by water and land!

Approximate Paddling Time: As long as we want to explore, as it is up to us as a group! Also, don’t forget we have a post paddle hike option too! Let's plan on paddling at least 4-5 hours since it is VERY flat and easy water and we made a long haul to this mystical place so let's take time to really explore and enjoy it while we are there!

DifficultyThis is a newbie friendly flat water paddle on a lake in the middle of a swamp and appropriate for even first time paddlers.

Required Gear for the Paddle

Kayak or canoe, paddle, personal flotation device. Plenty of water and sunscreen! Pack a lunch to enjoy on the paddle and we will be stopping somewhere on our return trip home for dinner for those interested!

Hike Information

We will have an optional post paddle hike! The hike itself will be an easy side of moderate and led at an average hiker pace. In other words, no land speed records will be set as we are going to head out and explore this most magnificent area. I highly recommend brining along binoculars if you have them to spot birds or furry critters. The bears are smaller down there but they have them so we might get lucky and see a black bear or two.

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is located in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The refuge consists of over 112,000 acres of forested wetlands. Lake Drummond, at 3,100 acres and the largest natural lake in Virginia, is located in the heart of the swamp. Yep, you read it right, the lake is in the middle of the swamp!

We can observe natural swamp conditions along the Dismal Town Boardwalk Trail, a mile long elevated wooden walkway over the swamp , or try the 4.5 mile Washington Ditch Trail to Lake Drummond. Our plan is to kayak and then enjoy the Boardwalk Trail and then the Washington Ditch Trail (They simply MUST rename these trails huh?). The name sounds about as bad as the name of the swamp, but the feedback from people who have made the trip down there say it is simply a must do, and there are no words to describe this unique experience. So, onward we go, to explore more of what to us, is the great unknown!

The trails are open everyday from sunrise to sunset so we will not be rushed. The refuge headquarters is only open during the week but the trails are open 7 days a week, yay!. Click here for a complete list of hiking trails in the refuge if you are interested in seeing what the area looks like from a rudimentary map perspective-grin! The Great Dismal Swamp offers miles of hiking trails so we will be in no shortage of choices for places for us to explore after our paddle.

What is the Event for Associated with Kayaking Trips?

Click here to find out why there is a $15.00 event fee associated with guided paddle trips.

Park Fee

None, yay!

Boat Launch Fee

None, yay!

Carpool Information

There are 2 suggested carpools for this paddle but be certain cars transporting boat have racks for the them!

Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station.

Click here for directions to Savage Station. Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members. Be SURE that whomever you carpool with has room for your boat.

DC Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, meetup at the Centerville Park and Ride.

Click here for information and directions to the Centerville location.  Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members. Be SURE that whomever you carpool with has room for your boat.

If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations such as the DC area, please post your location in the comment section below. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!

Directions to This Event

Click Here to Where We Meet for This Paddle

Paddle is at 10:00 a.m.

Carpool time from Savage Station is 6:00 a.m.

Carpool time at Centerville Park and Ride is 7:00 a.m.

Our Paddling Disclaimer Blurb

By attending this or any other paddling/hiking event with The Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group, you are agreeing that you are responsible for your own safety at all times. No member of the group except yourself can be held responsible for any damages, accidents, or liabilities incurred while paddling with us. Paddling is an inherently dangerous sport like any other outdoor activiy. Information is provided with the understanding that the providers are not engaged in rendering advice on technical matters, equipment performance, safety, or any other aspect of the sport in absolute terms or advocating any of the techniques or experiences described.

See you There!

Mike H:[masked]


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  • Sandy B.

    Extraordinary, Beautiful, Breathtaking, Wow, these are only a few of the words that can be used to describe this trip. I was so very glad that I was able to go on this Kayak trip, Thanks Mike for guiding us and Thanks Kellie for finding and planning this.

    2 · November 3, 2013

    • Anita

      Very well said. I second that.

      1 · November 4, 2013

    • Lindsay O.

      Wow! looking at the photos - wish I could have gone...

      1 · November 8, 2013

  • Michael H.

    Fantastic weather and no wind combined to make an unforgettable experience. Thanks everyone who came. It is always better to experience something like this with others.

    2 · November 4, 2013

  • Anita

    Visually the most stunning experience ever!! Thank you Kellie and Mike for bringing this amazing and spiritual experience to us; I will treasure it forever! And Mike you are an fantastic in Vampire movies I am telling people I met one of the 'originals' from MAHG! ;-) Lol! Mike, Sandy and Paul-it was a true privilege to share this experience with you guys. Thank you all!! P.S. I promise I will get all the pictures up this week one way or another...I'm still trying to figure out how to upload from my phone..without having to do it manually per picture. Wish me luck! :-) Have a fantastic week ahead all of you guys. Cheers!!

    1 · November 4, 2013

  • Anita

    Hi There- I would be interested in carpooling for this if anyone's open to it and can help with gas costs; I can meet you where-ever is most convenient for you as well; let me know. Thanks.

    October 31, 2013

    • Kellie C.

      Mike and Sandy will be meeting at Savage Station at 6am. If you want to join them, give Mike a call.

      1 · October 31, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Are any of the kayaks still available to rent from you, Kellie?

    October 28, 2013

    • Kellie C.

      please e-mail Kellie at [masked] to get the current boat status. It is to difficult to handle requests in multiple formats so, as explained in the post, we can only address inquiries that come via c-mail or direct calls. Hope you understand. In case you don't here from her in a day or two after sending an e-,ail, just give her a call. I have known her to take calls 24 hours a day. Hope it works out. Diane, a MAHG intern using Kellies login since so many features require using her account.

      October 31, 2013

  • Veronica

    May I join with my stand up paddleboard?

    October 20, 2013

    • Kellie C.

      Yes, you certainly may, please RSVP and see you there!

      October 27, 2013

4 went

  • Michael H.
    Certified Hike Leader and Wilderness Medical First Responder, Co-Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Sandy B.
    Certifed Hike Leader,
    Event Host
  • Paul
    Pre-Approved for Very Strenuous Hikes!
  • Anita
    Certified Hike Leader and Approved to Lead Very Strenuous Hikes!

Your organizer's refund policy for Paddle and Hike! A Trip Back in Time-Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge!

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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