DRBA to paddle Hyco River for May outing

On Saturday, May 7, the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) invites the public to paddle the Hyco River to its confluence with the Dan River in Halifax County.
Participants in DRBA’s First Saturday Outing will paddle about six miles, beginning at a public access point on the Hyco, then joining the Dan, and completing the trip by paddling up Aaron’s Creek to another public access point. The area is just upstream from Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake).
Participants will meet at 10 a.m. at the Hyco River Access eight miles east of South Boston, on U.S. Hwy. 58 (GPS 36.6671892, -78.7552437). Boat rentals may be arranged through Three Rivers Outfitters of Eden, N.C., (336) 627-6215, www.3-R-O.com. The trip, rated Class I, is suitable for novice paddlers.
The Hyco River is the easternmost of the five major tributaries of the Dan River. Paul Lowry, trip coordinator and experienced paddler, said, “This is a flatwater outing with virtually no current assist. Participants will have to paddle the entire distance. On the plus side, Aaron’s Creek does not run, so there is no current to paddle against on the last leg.”
DRBA board member Paul Johnson, retired director of Halifax County-South Boston Regional Library, said, “The terrain varies from a typical Piedmont stream with high banks and rocky outcroppings on river right, to a swampy wetland with low banks and wide vistas.”
Like all of the rivers in the Dan River basin, the Hyco has a rich history. This area, now called Hyco Flats, was once the site of extensive rapids known as Hyco Falls. In his Civil War memoir, Adrift in Dixie, William Estabrook wrote that the river was “boiling and leaping over the ragged rocks, which showed their black backs in a whirlpool of tormented water.”
Since the water is now backed up and slowed by the dam creating Kerr Lake, Johnson’s description of Hyco Flats is vastly different today. “On a scouting trip to the now-silent falls, I encountered several blue herons, an egret, many songbirds, and a large number of slider turtles.”
Participants in the outing are asked to bring boat, a life jacket for each boater, lunch, and water. Dress in layers of synthetic (quick-drying) fabric or wool, and be prepared for wind or rain. All participants are asked to sign a waiver.
To reach the put-in, travel eight miles east of South Boston, on U.S. Hwy. 58 (Bill Tuck Highway) to Hyco Landing Public Recreational Area. The access point is on the south side of the highway.
Outings and meetings of the Dan River Basin Association are open to the public without charge.
For trip information, contact trip coordinator Paul Lowry, paul_lowry@live.com, (434) 572-8723.
For information about the Dan River Basin Association, visit www.danriver.org.

The Dan River Basin Association’s May 7 paddle will be on the Hyco River near its confluence with the Dan. The First Saturday Outing is free and open to the public.
The Dan River Basin Association’s May 7 paddle will be on the Hyco River near its confluence with the Dan. The First Saturday Outing is free and open to the public.
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