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Landing Creek - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Day Trip Report
Trip Dates: August 29, 2012
Nearest City: Lower Bank, NJ
Difficulty: Moderate
Submitted by: dbwesq View Profile

Description:

Looking for some place new to explore, I picked up Ed Gertler's book Garden State Canoeing and came across his description of Landing Creek. He paddled from just east of Egg Harbor City Lake to the Mullica River. My edition of his book is 2002 and the first publication was 1992 and I have no way of knowing when he paddled this stretch.

I was very familiar with the put in he used. It's on Oken St. but you won't find a sign for this dirt road. You will find it on Google Maps. Gertler gives good directions. I've been canoeing the Pines for years and had never heard of anyone paddling this stretch. Nor had Dave Bell at Belhaven PaddleSports who would have known.

I went back to scout the put in and saw what I recalled, lots of trees and branches across the river starting about 75 feet up. Not necessarily impassable but lots of cutting to get a short distance and I couldn't see beyond that point.

Of interest is that just before the left turn that you take to get to this bridge (as described by Gertler) is another bridge that crosses what is probably a man made channel from Landing Creek to the lake. I could only see about 100 feet up this channel but it looked passable.

Parking and access to the channel was problematic but it will take you to Landing Creek and it doesn't look to long a stretch. But rather than head down the river thru what I assume to be a gnarly river with likely a lot of obstructions I chose to put in at Clarks' Landing and head up the Mullica a half mile and into Landing Creek to at least the bridge over Clarks' Landing Road (Co. Rd, 624).

I caught the end of the high tide and took the tide in for the first mile up Landing Creek from there to where it entered the woods was nearly still water with only a slow flow coming at me. Landing Creek is estuary for 2 miles then suddenly it takes a couple turns and you're in the woods on a 15 foot wide river that twists and turns and starts to thread into the woods. Fortunately I found a way to get thru some grasses that weren't chocked with littered branches that wanted to impede my progress.

I got thru this stretch and found a nice flowing river with lots of strainers and a couple of bump overs. I was surprised to see the guard rail along Rte. 624 after only 3/10ths of a mile and around a short short turn to the bridge.

Since I made it to my goal in less time than I thought, I decided to head further up but knowing that with the turning tide I wasn't going to get too far. I made it all of a tenth of a mile thru and over trees and branches to a spot that needed to be cleared. I decided to turn back and return another day with better tools and hopefully another paddler or two and most importantly more water and try to cut our way up to either that channel to Egg Harbor Lake or the bridge on Oken Street. Paddled back out with the tide but hit a nasty headwind and whitecaps over the half mile down the Mullica to my car.

All in all this was a really nice paddle. I prefer tight rivers in the pines to the salt marshes and estuaries but the near half mile that I did in the woods was as pristine as I have ever seen. My guess is that Gertler was the last paddler to travel this section and that may have been 20 years ago. Unfortunately I left my camera home so I'll post some pics when I go back to finish this creek.

Accommodations:

None

Fees:

No

Directions:

Google "Hay Road, Clarks Landing, NJ".

Take Hay road (well maintained dirt/gravel)from County Road 624 to it's end at the Mullica River. Take the river upstream staying along the left band. Half mile up is Landing Creek which opens about 200 feet wide.

Resources:

Gertler's book; Google Maps


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