North Carolina

Bloom Where You Are Planted : Gillis Hill Farm

When my family moved back to North Carolina in 2013, there were several things we were looking forward to. One of those things was a local roadside stand where I would buy fresh veggies during the summer. To our surprise that veggie stand expanded greatly in the 7 years that we were away. There was now a huge roadside stand and separate from it, Gillis Hill Farm where they sell homemade ice cream. Who can resist ice cream? Certainly not my family. Once we visited we were hooked on this hidden treasure in our own backyard.Gillis Hill Farm | My Hot Southern Mess

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10 Tips for a River Float Trip

It getting hot out there and that means finding different ways to beat the heat. Since I live in North Carolina my husband has banned the beach this year. If you haven’t heard North Carolina beaches have had a small shark problem this year, like only 8 or so shark attacks in the last few weeks. Then there is that whole man of war thing. We like our kids. We would rather they didn’t become shark snacks. Since the beach is out for now that then leaves good ole swimming pools and various bodies of freshwater. So far this summer my family has been exploring local bodies of freshwater. We went camping at Jordan Lake which only made my husband want a boat. I’m not sure that trip to the lake was a good idea. A couple weeks later we finally had an adventure and my husband and I had the opportunity to float the Cape Fear River. Floating a river is something we had talked about doing since we lived in El Paso. There you could go and float a section of the Rio Grande that was in New Mexico. Then I have classmates from high school that are always floating at Rainbow River in Florida. There must be something to this floating thing and my husband and I were going to find out.

We floated the Cape Fear River, had a good time and as usual a bit of an adventure also! We definitely learned a few things that will help make trips in the future even better. Check out my 10 tips for a river float trip!

10 Tips for a River Float Trip

1. Check the weather. You not only want to make sure you are going to have good weather for your trip but if your area has had rain, especially a lot you will want to check that river levels are safe for your float trip. This is where the adventure in our trip came into play. Our trip was suppose to last about 5 hours and it lasted just under 2! Why? We had heavy rains the day before and the river was rising and the current was very strong. The group I was with was the only group that went down the day I went because conditions turned dangerous. We had several floaters that missed the take out spot. Heck, my husband and I missed the first take out spot despite his swimming and my paddling.

2. Wear Sunscreen. I think this one is simple, wear sunscreen and reapply. Sunburn sucks.

3. Protect your feet Wear water shoes, sandals or a pair of five fingers. There is no telling what is on the river bottom. Plus you will need something to wear to walk down to the river and then once you are done. I chose an old pair of my minimal running shoes. They are my go to shoes for mud runs and things like this.

4.Leave valuables at home. Don’t bring anything you are not afraid to lose. If something falls into the river it is typically gone for good. It doesn’t care if it is your favorite sunglasses. My oldest son has a pair of eyeglasses at the bottom of Elephant Butte Lake in New Mexico… That was a lesson he and my husband learned fast.

5. Ziploc Bags. Ziplock bags are your friend. They are perfect for storing your phone and valuables such as car keys and copies of your ID and some cash.

10 Tips for a River Float Trip

6. Nalgene Wide Mouth Bottle. One thing that is better than using a Ziploc Bag is a Nalgene Wide Mouth Bottle. Not only are they perfect for water and other drinks but they are a great way to have watertight storage for your keys and smaller valuables.

7. Bring Beverages and not just the alcoholic kind. You need to stay hydrated during your float trip so be sure to bring some water and other drinks. If you choose to bring alcohol, first and foremost drink responsibly. Bring cans over bottles as glass is just dangerous in this situation.

8. Bring snacks. You are going to be out on the water for a bit and your bound to get hungry so bring some snacks. Just be mindful of what you bring. Things can easily get wet and you will be left with soggy food. You also want to be mindful of the trash you are bringing. Fruit, nuts and beef jerky are all great options.

9. Bring a cooler.  If you are bringing food and drinks you are going to need somewhere to put everything. Just stay away from Styrofoam coolers as they have a tendency to fall apart and are banned in many areas.. Most places offer a float with a bottom for a small fee.

10. Carabiners and Rope. Some places offer rope or have rope around their floats but not all do. Having rope around your float and adding a carabiner allows you to hang things off of your float. The rope is also useful to attach your cooler float and other floats together.

10 Tips for a River Float Trip

There you go my 10 Tips for a River Float Trip! So listen to your river guide for instructions, wear your life vest (because safety first!) and have fun!