Friday, 29 May 2020 11:20

COLUMN: The mighty Pee Dee takes no prisoners

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The floating dock at the U.S. 74 boat landing near the bridge rests overturned as a large amount of water from last week's rains made its way downstream. The floating dock at the U.S. 74 boat landing near the bridge rests overturned as a large amount of water from last week's rains made its way downstream. J.A. Bolton

Last week, the skies of our state turned a dark blue. The heavy rain and strong winds came with a vengeance. Power and cable companies worked overtime to keep the utilities going. Duke Power had to find a way to take care of all the water coming from every part of the state. If anyone thinks Duke just makes power they are badly mistaken. Flood control along their many lakes and reservoirs is a major undertaking.

Like I’ve stated in prior stories, I love to ride over to the Pee Dee River area and scope things out. Why, it was just last weekend, after we had many days of rain, my wife and I decided to take another one of our adventures to the river.

We first rode over to Rockingham and picked up some food for our picnic we planned to have at the Anson County boat landing. This is a nice quiet place to eat, view the river, and watch all the recreation activities.

As we crossed the river bridge, the water below was extremely muddy and man, was it rolling. Large stumps and logs floating on top were being tossed around like toothpicks.

As we continued on to the boat landing, we could see where trees had fallen beside the road and, sometime during the night, water had flooded the road.

As we came up to the boat landing, the water in Blewett Falls Lake was a muddy orange and the level of the water was extremely high. Some brave souls were putting in their kayaks, while others were doing some fishing along the banks.

We ate our lunch, took a few pictures, and headed back across the river bridge into Richmond County.

As we crossed the bridge, I decided to check out the boat landing just below the bridge. Man, I’m glad I did, for as we rounded the curve, we could see that the parking lot was just about flooded and the wooden pier at the landing had been overturned. This was built to be a floating structure but, that day, the mighty Pee Dee River had taken no prisoners.

After a few pictures, we decided to check out the water behind Blewett Falls Dam. The shortest way to the dam was to cross Cartledge Creek. We found that the road was closed, but I never let a little thing like that keep me from getting a good story, no sirree. Near the creek, we could see fairly deep water running across the road. Some poor souls had tried to cross in the water and flooded out their car. Lucky for them, someone had arrived with a winch and trailer and pulled their car out. My motto about water is always: turn around, don’t drown! So, we made a U-turn and drove around the long way to get to the dam.

When we got to the dam, I decided to turn left and check out the water at Blewett’s grave. As we drove down the gravel road, river water was all out in the woods and was lapping up against the road. There wasn’t any place to turn around, so we kept on going.

About the time we got there, I could see folks fishing out in the parking lot. Believe me, this was a weird sight.

After finally getting turned around, we parked our car and walked down to the dam. Why, so much water was coming over the dam that every rock below was covered under several feet of water. The sound of the roaring water made it almost impossible to hear anyone talking.

After we left the dam, I told my wife we might as well spend the rest of the evening taking pictures and looking at the rising water, so we drove up to the Mountain Creek boat landing.

Down the hill at Bethel Church, you could see from afar the muddy water of the river as it wound its way through the hills.

At Mountain Creek, we found the boat landing covered in water. The water had made its way to the bathrooms at the back of the parking lot. The water was up to the bottom of the bridge and still rising.

The state had partially closed off the road, but there was one more place I had to see and that was Little River.

As we traveled up the road by Grassy Island and Coleman’s Creek, the water from the river had flooded through the trees and had the side ditches covered. We saw several snakes and turtles crossing the road to make their way to higher ground. Even an old hen turkey was walking around in the road trying to decide which way to go.

We arrived at Little River Bridge only to find that water had totally blocked the road about two hundred yards north of the bridge. As I walked closer to the flooded road, I could see floodwater in the cut-overs along the road. The air smelled of swamp gas and wet mud.

As I made my way back to the bridge, my wife called my attention to hundreds of small birds (swallows) flying around their clay nests built under the bridge. I reckon they were afraid the water would engulf their nest, or they were simply catching mosquitoes to feed their young.

As the sun was going down in the west, it was time to make our way back to Rockingham.

Folks, I hope you have enjoyed reading another episode of Bolton’s Pee Dee River Adventures.

J.A. Bolton is author of “Just Passing Time,” co-author of “Just Passing Time Together,” and recently released his new book, “Southern Fried: Down-Home Stories.” Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.