|That's a LOT of honeysuckle.|
The canal is only a small part of the Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge’s 112,000 acres. We noticed that the trees immediately changed when we entered the manmade canal. Maple, oak, cedar, and the infamous sweetgum (Jeez, I hate those gumballs) joining the loblolly, tupelo, and bald cypress.
A state park staffer showed us on a map where the 3-month long fires burned in the Virginia portion of the swamp bogs a few years ago. Nothing burned along the canal!
After about 20 miles (and one thunk as we hit a small submerged log), we arrived too early at the lock and bridge at the north end of the canal, so Pete had “fun” keeping MicMac in the deeper center. Ever try to tread water with a boat?
The Dismal Swamp ICW passage cuts through the heart of the great swamp that straddles the North Carolina-Virginia state line. Part of the route is composed of the long Dismal Swamp Canal, which is situated between two locks, one at Deep Creek, Virginia, and the other in the small North Carolina village of South Mills. Both locks raise or lower cruising craft about 8 feet, and care must be taken when mooring to the lock walls. The locks currently operate four times a day, and skippers must take this schedule into consideration when planning their voyage.
|Deep Creek lock is filling up.|
He easily fit all six of us boats along the sides of the canal. He's been at this job for 16 years. He told me had once fit 32 boats into the lock at once. That's gotta be tight!
The Dismal Swamp passage is definitely a treat for those interested in natural scenery and isolation. The canal allows a magnificent view of the swampy terrain, still for the most part in its natural state. The water is like strong coffee, although at this time of year, it has some pollen on top. We encountered very little boat traffic either. It's definitely the "road less traveled." Robert Frost would enjoy it.