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Uwharrie Excursion’s full moon kayak trip

By Katie Scarvey
kscarvey@salisburypost.com
If you’d rather go home after a night out smelling like smoke from a bonfire instead of cigarette smoke from a bar, Tim Beebe and Ellen Whiteside have the trip for you.
The couple runs Uwharrie Tours from their Bed and Bike Inn. One of their most popular excursions is the Full Moon Kayak Trip at Falls Reservoir, which is a stretch of the Pee Dee River between Badin Lake and Lake Tillery. The reservoir is bordered by the Uwharrie National Forest Morrow Mountain State Park and undeveloped Alcoa land.
The trip sounded like so much fun we decided to go along on Aug. 15 to check it out for ourselves.
The husband-and-wife team of Tracy and Nathan Davis from God’s Country Outfitters in Albemarle supplied the kayaks for the group and offered basic paddling instruction.
Paddling a canoe loaded with provisions, Tim and Ellen hustled out ahead of the group to the destination, so that when hungry and thirsty kayakers arrived they would be able to relax around a blazing bonfire with refreshments.
Normally, groups kayak out during the daylight and kayak back after it’s dark. Our group got somewhat of a late start, so darkness fell on the trip out. That meant we didn’t have quite as much time to enjoy the gorgeous scenery on the pristine, undeveloped banks of the reservoir.
Paddling at night is a lovely, serene experience.
With very few lights on the shore to distract and no irritating whine of motorboats, it’s easy to be completely in the moment, focusing on the paddle dipping into the dark water.
In our over-stimulated world, gliding through water, wrapped in the darkness like a cloak, seems an almost other-worldly experience.
At times, conversation floated across the water, but some paddlers seemed content to immerse themselves in their own thoughts.
As we drifted in to the area of the bank where Tim and Ellen had built a blazing fire, we abandoned our boats on the shore. Using flashlights provided, paddlers made their way up to the fire to sip a glass or two of wine, have a snack and get to know their fellow excursioners.Carrie Larson and Carol Lane Eagle of Delaware and Gerry Cofield of Alabama were staying at The Bed and Bike Inn as part of a girls’ getaway.
The women met at Dover Air Force base years ago and although they ultimately went their separate ways, they’ve remained friends and plan a trip together every year.
Like their other nighttime paddling trips ó in Maine, Hawaii and North Carolina’s Ocracoke Island ó the women said they enjoyed this outing.
Staci and Jawan Clark of Kannapolis were on the kayak trip as part of their third anniversary celebration. They were spending the night in the inn’s Grove House.
Jawan works for the Salisbury Fire Department, and Staci works for the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation.
The couple ó who learned of the trip through a flier at Concord Mills ó stayed in the Grove House and hope to return sometime this fall with their bikes.
Others on the trip, like Jonathan Kennedy and Thareth Prak of Charlotte, came just for the excursion.
Uwharrie Tours offers several moonlight kayak tours monthly, from May through October. Tim and Ellen are hosting trips Sept. 12, Sept. 13 and Oct. 11. For more information, call 704-463-0768.

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