The Casual Kayaker   -    Location reports of my flatwater kayaking

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

Jordan Lake - Farrington Point to Morgan Creek
April 1, 2012

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

Boat ramp/ kayak put-in location: 35°48'10.34"N 79° 0'51.48"W
Wildlife Resources Comm. Farrington Point Boating Access, 605 Farrington Point Road (Google Earth missed this address by a good 700 feet!, but my coordinates and marker are right on.)

Destination point: 35°50'32.29"N    79° 0'19.46"W - Morgan Creek marsh area

Download the .kmz file for this location report (for Google Earth) - TheCasualKayaker_JordanLake_4-1-12.kmz

Download the combined .kmz file for all location reports -

B. Everett Jordan Lake is located in the northeastern corner of Chatham County, North Carolina. Access to this 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 was not your usual "kayaking" trip, as I didn't take my kayak, though the wife did take hers. I opted for my camouflaged duck boat for this trip - not because of the camouflage, but because of the trolling motor on it. This was a solid 8-mile trip, and I knew neither of us could manage that distance in an afternoon of paddling. I wanted to check out the Morgan Creek marsh area while the spring lake level was high enough. Last summer the lake was so low I would've had to hike a third of this trip! The plan was to try towing the wife in her kayak as far as possible, hoping the battery and motor would handle it. Lucky for us it worked just fine. It sure made the trip easier and faster, and she enjoyed the free ride.

Towing the wife in her kayak with my duck boat and trolling motor worked out even better than I had expected.

I have to admit that for me it wasn't as much "fun" as paddling, but then I knew this particular trip was not going to be much fun. It was simply too far in too short of a time allotment. It was a "get there and get back" sort of thing. There would not be much time for exploring as we went. In fact, there wasn't that much to see, other than an unusually busy day for the birds for some reason. Someone at the launch ramp mentioned to us while we were loading up just how many birds there were out that day, and it turned out to be true. We saw quite a few Osprey, cormorants and gulls as we headed out.

The birds thinned out a bit the farther north we went toward Morgan Creek, so we chugged along while the trolling motor churned away for all it was worth. We followed along the western shoreline for what seemed an eternity, finally reaching the shallows by the marsh. Waiting for us was a greeting committee of cormorants, at least 60-70 of them, in and under some trees along the edge of the marsh.

The welcoming committee.

We slipped closer for some photos but the cormorants did not hang around for long, choosing to let us have the place to ourselves. We didn't try going back up into the marsh at all, as there was not much time for exploring to begin with, and the trolling motor requires a bit more depth than the kayaks. The lake level was at 217.2 on this day, and I could tell trying to do much here with the trolling motor wasn't going to be fruitful. I was already hitting bottom with the prop while skirting along the outer edge of the marsh, so going any farther in would be a hassle at best. The lake had been 3 feet higher just 5 days earlier, and now that I'd had a chance to check the place out it was obvious that I could have gone a good distance up into the marsh with that kind of depth.

In the meantime the wife paddled off on her own now that we'd reached our destination point, and I clunked around in the duck boat. It's nowhere near as nimble as the kayaks, and tracks only slightly better than a tire tube. It's great for what I got it for, but it's really not well suited for open water.

We soon headed for the eastern shoreline and immediately spotted an eagle sitting in the top of a dead tree. I pulled out my long lens (well, the longest one I had with me) and managed to get a few distant shots before it dove from the tree and flew north.

I followed it, snapping off shots as it flew, and ended up with several shots. They're too far off to be very useful, but I put them together into a collage to post below.

With the eagle gone, we took a few minutes to explore a little, working back into the northeastern corner as shown by the GPS track in the .kmz file associated with this report. We spotted little further bird activity here, so we soon headed back. I had learned what I came to find out, and we had a long ride back before the day ran out on us.

We had spotted some sort of yellow pipe up in the trees way off on the eastern shore on our way in, so we decided to check that out on our way back. Soon we reached the curiosity, and realized it must be some sort of floating boom. I've since learned there is usually a yellow boom stretched across the lake in the spring to keep boats out of this area. This didn't appear to be long enough to reach across the lake however, and we could not figure out how it had gotten up so high into the tree limbs. Not even a lake level of 220 could have put it that high.

The curious yellow "pipe" we found had to be a floating boom.

We could not figure out how it got so high up into the tree limbs.

Still scratching our heads over the tree-climbing boom, we went back into the "towing mode" and headed out for the long ride back to Farrington Point. There was little to see of particular interest on the way back, except for several large "V" formations of cormorants flying west to east. There must have been upwards of 200 of them altogether. I've only seen large numbers of them like that at the coast. The four miles back to Farrington Point seemed endless, but we finally arrived, hauled everything out, loaded up and headed home.

It's quite a long way to reach Morgan Creek. I don't plan to try returning unless the lake level is really high so the marsh area will be extensive enough to make the trip worthwhile.

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

Next article ›››    (B.Everett) Jordan Lake, White Oak Creek marsh, April 7, 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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