Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Lumber River at Fair Bluff

After dozens of trips through this town and many years of promising myself, "Next time I'll stop," I finally did.

Fair Bluff is a small farming town along Highway 904 in Columbus County.  The population is 1181 (2000 census) and the size is 2.2 square miles.  It is approximately 40 miles from the coast of southeastern North Carolina.

Lower Your Blood Pressure on 904
By the time you reach Fair Bluff from Charlotte,  you will have passed countless fields of corn, soybeans, tobacco and cotton, produce stands with handpainted signs for SWEET POTATOES or CORN, expanses of loblolly pine, Marietta Gardens, and more than a few tiny churches with tiny graveyards. You will have been behind a tractor at least once.  You won't mind because it is so incredibly peaceful out there.

Black Water
You start to notice Spanish moss in the tress and cypress knees in the water along the sides of the road.  As you cross the bridge at Fair Bluff, the view at the top of this post is what you will see to your left.   Main Street is two seconds ahead.



Riverside Boardwalk
Parallel to Main Street behind the row of shops is an elevated walkway -- free to the public -- which accesses one of North Carolina's 10 Natural Wonders, the Lumber River.  For the nature lover, this is the number one reason to stop the car and get out.

Go in November
November is a perfect time to do just that.  Fifty-seven degrees means few insects and low humidity.  It is also the month of least rainfall for this area, so you can be fairly certain of sun.


What you will see... 
From rivers.gov:
The Lumber River floodplain is largely a second-growth oak-cypress-gum swamp forest of the blackwater subtype. Most of the species present are indicators of the perennially wet nature of the river floodplain. The major canopy species are cypress, tupelo, red gum, black gum, and water oak; the understory is dominated by river birch, water elm, red maple and hackberry. Along the river banks are abundant pines, cypress, poplar, bays, juniper, gums and wisteria. Equally abundant are poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Virginia creeper and Spanish moss are common on trees bordering the river. Fern species and the insectivorous Venus flytrap grow along the stream banks.
Threadleaf sundew, woody goldenrod, Carolina bogmint, savannah yellow-eye grass and savannah bog button are rare species you might see around the river.  There are several rare and/or endangered species of animals as well, including the American alligator, river frogs, star-nosed moles and yucca skippers.
















There are a few more pictures of my visit here, but if you get the chance, visit the Lumber River in Fair Bluff for yourself -- go on a day the Methodist church has a fish fry and music on the breeze will underscore that  "the Earth is filled with His glory."

But, you won't need to be reminded.

Welcome to Fair Bluff, North Carolina
Discover Columbus County
Wild and Scenic Lumber River
Lumber River State Park
Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival