The Casual Kayaker   -    Location reports of my flatwater kayaking

(B.Everett) Jordan Lake, return to NC 751 area, November 19, 2011

Jordan Lake - Return to Hwy. NC 751 area
November 19, 2011

Attribute Rating - (view rating system scale)
Scenic Quality 3.5
Wildlife 4
Water Quality 3.5
Quietude 5
Boating Traffic 5

Parking beside Hwy. 751: N 35°49'28.81" W 78°57'53.76"
Kayak put-in location: N 35°49'31.31" W 78°57'58.93"
Just south of the bridge on 751 there is graveled parking on either side of the road. Park here and take the path on the west side of the road. Walk 1/10 mile to the beach launch point.

General Destination point:
N 35°49'49.16" W 78°57'27.65" - Marsh area east of bridge on Hwy. 751

Download the .kmz file for this location report (for Google Earth) - TheCasualKayaker_JordanLake_11-19-11.kmz

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If you don't have Google earth, you can still view the track on Google earth in this window.

B. Everett Jordan Lake is located in the northeastern corner of Chatham County, North Carolina. Access to this part of the expansive manmade lake is easy via NC 751 or Farrington Point Road from highway US 64 west of Apex, NC. Other ways to reach it are on NC 751 from I-40 south of Durham, NC, and from Chapel Hill, NC via Mount Carmel Church Road off US 501 at the intersection of NC 54, NC 86 and US 501. Mt. Carmel Church Road turns into Farrington Point Road which intersects US 64. (Note that there is a village close-by spelled "Fearrington" Village, but the road and boating access is spelled "Farrington". Don't let that cause confusion when mapping or planning.)

This paddle has been awhile coming. Since the report of our first trip to this marshy area on July 16, 2011 (four months ago), the lake water level has been as much as three feet lower than in that report. It left the area high and dry. This trip was finally possible because the water level recently rose to 1.3 feet higher than on that previous trip, once again giving us access, but to even more area.

It was just after lunch when we arrived, with sunny skies and 50-52 degrees and virtually no wind - simply perfect for kayaking this time of year. Getting the kayaks to the water was almost easier than previously, because I'd purchased a kayak dollie as I promised myself after that last trip. The problem came in the fact that the park service had once again bulldozed or plowed the wide path to the launch point, but had left it a muddy mess about half way along. We had to pull the dollie through the vines and brush to get around the mudholes. Other than this difficulty, the trip was a breeze.

The water was cloudy from the rains that had been filling the lake, which was to be expected. There was a bit less bird life to be found though, which surely had to do with the time of day and the season. Plenty of Cormorants were around, and were the only things I got photos of. We saw several Great Blue Herons, but not one Great Egret, though they had been plentiful during the summer. I had expected to see more ducks, but only managed to flush up a half dozen as I explored a short side creek. Other than that, there were only a few gulls.

We saw one canoer off in the distance, and came upon one duck hunter setting out decoys from his "mudder" boat. We had heard and seen it coming, noting the distinctly different motor sound the "mudder" engine made. I'd heard of this type of motor but had never seen one or heard one in use. We later heard a few shots in the distance from where the hunter had been setting up, so we could only assume he had managed to call in a few ducks.

As we explored the various water routes the high water afforded us, we saw at one point a continuous flashing of what looked like white wings off among the trees. I could also see another set intermittently flashing white. I had never before seen any such display of continuous wing flapping before, and decided to investigate. Since we'd not seen any white birds at all, I hoped for an opportunity for more photos. We picked our way around logs, debris and limbs to paddle closer to the flashing white, trying to make out what sort of birds these could be. Eventually we got a clearer view, and realized we must have found a back channel leading back to the open area where the duck hunter had set up. We could see the decoys, and what appeared to be a "whirlygig" sort of device with white spinning wings flashing brilliantly in the sunshine. Another one of these was operating intermittently. So, the mystery of the continuous wing flapping display was solved. As I'm not a duck hunter, I'd not heard of any such "decoy" device as this. I have to admit, it catches the eye, even through thick woods where you can see nothing but the flashes from the sun, particularly when you happen to be at the exact angle to catch the full glare of the sun off the white "wings".

We continued our exploration of the area, covering much more than we'd been able to on the previous trip, but all in all found few birds. All I came back with were some shots of Cormorants, a couple of which were cooperative enough to let me come fairly close. In one instance he let me drift so close that he wouldn't all fit in the frame before he finally flew off.

All in all it was a pleasant paddle - very quiet and devoid of motorized boats other than the one "mudder" we encountered. With the trees virtually empty of their leaves, it was a bit stark. The very pleasant weather helped keep the mood from being gloomy though. Finding more birds would have made it even better.

"If you're not paddling, you're not getting anywhere."

Next article ›››     (B. Everett) Jordan Lake - Farrington Point to Morgan Creek - April 1, 2012

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When I first began kayaking I found a most helpful blog by Tom Haynie that aided me greatly in finding and choosing new flatwater locations. His blog was infinitely more detailed and useful than anything I found on kayaking forums. I quickly resolved to share my own impressions of locations I've visited, including details I believe to be important and helpful, in hopes of providing practical information to others. I sincerely hope you find something useful and helpful here. (For more location reports visit Tom's blog at

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