Adventures Set on Bear Creek
It the time of year when lots of adventures are coming up on Bear Creek.
The next two months will see the return of old favorites, historic re-enactments and new ways to explore and enjoy the foothills section.
"On March 21, we are planning a Bear and Cabin Creek Cleanup," says William Mc-Duffie of Foothills Outdoors. "The big rain last week helped us with a lot of the trash, but there's always more."
Folks are asked to meet at the N.C. 705 access about 10 a.m.
"I've got plenty of trash bags and a few extra pairs of gloves," McDuffie says. "Depending on how many show up we may be able to split up and hit several spots."
The next weekend, Saturday, March 28, will see the third annual Charles E. Brady Memorial Paddle and Picnic. It celebrates the former astronaut's canoe trip down the Haw River years ago when he brought a jug filled from the clear headwaters to show residents downstream what pollution was doing to the river.
His demonstration spurred efforts that cleaned up the river, and folks in his hometown of Robbins have made an annual festival out of it.
"Just as last year, we will have runners bringing water into Robbins from the headwaters of Bear Creek on Dover Road," McDuffie says. "Runners should be entering town around 11:45 a.m. Everyone is invited to come out from noon until 2 p.m. and picnic at the N.C. 705 access on Bear Creek just north of town."
That creekside site just below the bridge has turned into an ever more popular place, a sort of informal waterside park.
"During this time, there will be canoes and kayaks available for anyone to try out," McDuffie says.
It will be a day of fun for all ages. There will be a "rubber duck pickup" on the creek about 1 p.m. That is a game in which children paddle and look for numbered ducks to turn in for prizes.
Half an hour later everyone will gather for the headwaters ceremony.
"We send the pottery jug of water off to the ocean," McDuffie says. "Tom Israel is leaving April 11 for a canoe trip with his son down the entire length of the Cape Fear River. Bear Creek water will be making the trip with him."
Then, at 2 p.m., a float trim down Bear Creek will give people a chance to see and appreciate the natural beauty of the Bear as well as honor Brady's memory and his efforts to bring awareness to clean waterways everywhere, McDuff-ie says.
Brady, son of a local doctor who went on to be a doctor himself, left sports medicine to join the Navy where he became flight surgeon to the Blue Angels before joining NASA as an astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.
April 18 brings the return of Robbins' "Adventure Bearathlon" following last year's format with races for both youth (7 to 12) and adult (12 and up solo, but as young as 7 if part of a team). The youth race is a half-mile run, half-mile paddle, and a half-mile trail run with creek crossings. It will get started at 10 a.m. that Saturday.
The adult race will start an hour later at 11. This is a 1.25-mile run, a one-mile paddle, and finishes up, as last year, with a half-mile trail run with creek crossings. Registration and number pickup is from 8:30 to 9:30 race day.
"Anyone who competed last year will remember the doughnuts," McDuffie says. "There will definitely be some kind of surprise this year as well."
Early entry fees are $20 with a T-shirt or $10 without, but everybody must register by the end of March to get a T-shirt. Youth race competitors and any school teams or church youth groups under the age of 18 can enter for free.
Carolina Fried Chicken in Robbins has agreed to sponsor the youth race. Race day registration will be $20 (no shirt), but T-shirts will be $10 if available.
"Everyone is invited to come and compete, volunteer, or just be a cheering spectator," McDuffie says.
Contact John Chappell at 783-5841 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
More like this story