What do you think of when you see some old growth trees? Do you ever wonder what they would say if they could talk? What they would say they have witnessed over their life time of standing, weathering storms, drought, fires, floods, heat and cold? I have had this thought many times as I paddle through North Carolina’s 3 Sisters Swamp. Recently it was announced that researchers from the University of Arkansas identified a bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)tree that was 2624 years old! Wow, imagine that a tree here in eastern North Carolina that is one of the oldest trees known to man today. This tree started putting down roots around 605 BC!
Just paddling in this ancient swamp give you a since of
awe. Trees that are so big, it takes 3
or 4 grown men to put arms around them and cypress knees that are talker than I
stand. Every time I am there in the
magical place I find myself in awe at the majesty of God’s awesome creation. I also realize just how small I am in the
grand scheme of life and grateful that God is always there each day for
everyone who looks to him.
Over the past couple weeks; I have had the opportunity to go on a couple trips with Don to the Black River located in Bladen County, NC. This river offers plenty of beautiful wildlife including wild turkey, deer, several types of ducks, and wildflowers. The Black River is also home to the Three Sisters Swamp where you can find some of the oldest recorded cypress trees in the country. Although these trees are not marked, for their own protection, with an experienced guide such as Don, you will be able to see some amazing old growth cypress trees in this swamp that have been dated to being over 2,000 years old. Paddling through this swamp truly is a majestic experience. Being able to get up close and personal with these ancient cypress trees gave me a deeper connection to this swamp. In ways this swamp inspired me by showing me no matter how hard these trees have been hit and beaten by countless hurricanes, high winds, floods, and other natural disasters, they still stand tall and strong after all those years.
One of the most memorable parts of both these trips included seeing the beautiful spider lilies bloom. This is a special phenomenon here in eastern North Carolina because these plants only bloom for about two weeks out of the year. But what a spectacular experience it is to be able to see these plants bloom during their short flowering period. It’s trips like these which make me realize how lucky we are to be able to experience gods creation and enjoy the natural beauty of many diverse eco systems from a kayak.
This blog was written by Mike Manning. I am Mahanaim Adventures new intern for the summer of 2018. I am a Park and Recreation Management student at East Carolina University, Go Pirates! I love the outdoors and have a strong passion for kayaking. This coming summer I will be writing a blog similar to this every other week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures we will have on the water this summer.
Recently I was sitting in a meeting where tourism was the main topic. In that meeting, I learned that vacationers are looking for three main things when choosing where to go and what to do on their vacations. It seems that they are looking for something “new and unique” to them and to have an “authentic” experience. They want all of this while having fun and spending quality time together with family and friends. I found this news interesting, though this may not be new after all. This is something that my Bride and I wanted to do with our kids when they were young. We chose locations that were new to us; places that had an element that we did not get a chance to do every day, all the while, we want to spend quality time together. Glad to see something never really go out of fashion.
So for those of you who are looking for something new to do with your family, something that everyone can do and have fun together while creating memories? Let me suggest a guided kayaking adventure for your family! Mahanaim Adventures offers quality; family-oriented kayaking adventures here in the Cape Fear / Wilmington, NC area. We have some wonderful beaches to visit, and I encourage you to do that. But, don’t be afraid to take a short drive away from the beach to explore some of eastern North Carolina’s rivers and swamps. You can see locations such as Town Creek, the Black River , Three Sisters Swamp (yes, this is the place where you can see 2000 year old bald cypress tress), or maybe even Holly Shelter Creek. Or maybe you want to add a little American Revolutionary War History to your kayaking adventure and paddle on Moores Creek? Moores Creek National Battlefield was where the first battle of the American Revolutionary War was fought. It is a great place to visit, and only about a 40 minute drive from downtown Wilmington.
So, if you are looking for a unique adventure, contact Mahanaim Adventures and let us help you find one of our adventures that best suits your family’s adventure needs!
Don and Diane Harty are the owners of Mahanaim Adventures, the Cape Fear and Wilmington, NC areas premier outdoor adventure guide and kayaking business. Don and Joseph, son of Don and Diane, strive for each person on our adventures to have a “Positive & Memorable” experience. We offer quality half-day, full-day and overnight kayaking adventures. We also provide team building adventures and courses, as well as wilderness first aid classes to Boy Scouts and other groups.
Abundance. Webster’s dictionary give us the following description as “an ample quantity; an abundant amount; profusion; affluence, wealth; a relative degree of plentyfulness.” Recently I have begun thinking about what abundance really means in a person’s life. I have come to think that we, at least in the United States may have the wrong idea of what abundance means. You see, I have grown up with the idea that an abundant life was one that had wealth and things that made life easy. But over the past 8 years, my thinking has begun to shift about this definition.
You see, I consider myself a normal, common man that works very hard to provide for my wife and kids. I worked hard and often long hours to have what I thought was “an abundant” life. But chasing after all the abundance that our society says we should have, and to be a “Successful Provider” for my family, left me tired and empty. It seemed that the abundance that I wanted; was always just one step ahead of where I was at and I needed to do more. You know, work harder to move up the corporate ladder and get that next promotion or big pay raise. Please don’t get me wrong, I do believe hard work is essential to success anywhere you go. Yet my hard work never brought me what I thought it should; the abundance I always hoped for.
Recently my perspective on abundance has shifted and I found that I already had all the abundance that I had been looking for. You see, the abundance that I was seeking was found in the relationships that I was developing with my wife, with my kids, with the people God had placed around me. It was not in the affluence or wealth of having many things or providing my family with all the worldly things that they desired. The abundance I was needed the most was in the relationships that I have been developing.
Back in 2010, I was laid off from a wonderful job at UNCW (great place to work). At that time, my Bride and I started Mahanaim Adventures. Through the past 8 years, I have had the awesome opportunity to work side by side with each of my kids, leading kayaking adventure all over the Cape Fear area of Coastal North Carolina. Now my kids are grown and all on their own, but I have all of these awesome moments spent with them, not just working and having fun, but making memories together. Today, Joseph and I run the adventures together and I am blessed having him with me in this. And my two daughters, well, they want to take part when they come into town from where they live with their families.
So you see, because of a simple little change in my perspective, my whole outlook on what I have or don’t have has changed. Yes, I still work hard to build our family business and I still can work some long hours. Most of my weekends are shot, because I am working, especially during the warmer months. But I now see my life a much fuller and richer; and has replaced the chase after things of abundance with a real abundance I was craving. All of this because of a change in my perspective; or could I say “Attitude”.
Don and Diane Harty are the owners of Mahanaim Adventures; the Cape Fear and Wilmington, NC areas premier outdoor adventure guide and kayaking business. Don and Joseph (son of Don and Diane) strive that each person on our adventures to have a “Positive & Memorable” experience. We offer quality half-day, full-day and overnight kayaking adventures. We also provide team building adventures and courses as well as wilderness first aid classes to Boy Scouts and other groups.