Mattamuskeet Duck Hunt LbNA # 45236
|Placed Date||Jan 10 2009|
|Location||Swan Quarter, NC|
This letterbox is located in the Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. Lake Mattamuskeet is the largest natural lake in North Carolina, and is home to hundreds of thousands (millions) of migratory waterfowl, including white Tundra Swans (with seven foot wingspans), during the winter months. It is also home to some aquatic mammals, like river otter and nutria, and reptiles like alligators. Bring your camera and binoculars!
From the pump station (aka lodge) and tower (and office), go west for a few hundred yards and cross the single lane bridge over the canal. Once across the bridge turn right (east) and walk/drive down the dirt path beside the canal until you see a sign for the New Holland walking trail. [The term "New Holland" relates to the history of the lake. Do some research to learn more about this interesting story.] Park, if you're driving, and start down the New Holland trail. Notice the large, three-trunked tree on your right as you head into the Cypress swamp. Take a photo of your companions sitting in the fork of the tree.
Climb the ramp to the boardwalk, and take the first left. You'll see a bench on your left, but don't stop for a rest. You haven't earned it yet. :)
You'll then see a bench on your right, but don't stop here--you have quite a trek ahead of you.
When you reach the end of the boardwalk, turn left down the trail. Walk along the canal, keeping an eye out for waterfowl and other critters on your right. Watch your step--you may see deer tracks in the mud.
Walk past the boat ramp in the canal. You'll see a sign for the photo blind on your right. If the sign indicates that the photo blind is occupied, wait a decent interval before proceeding. There may be another visitor taking photos from the blind, and you'll upset them if you march up and scare their subjects away. If the sign indicates the blind is empty, change the sign to "Occupied", so that no one will see you uncovering the letterbox. Follow the path up to the blind. When you see the blind and the boardwalk leading up to it, stop and look to your right. Just before the boardwalk begins, there is a large pine tree to the right. Step carefully around the to far side of the pine tree. Find the large hole about seven feet up in the trunk of the tree. Look straight down. There should be a large vine clinging to the tree. Beneath the vine and some other cover, you'll find the letterbox.
Congratulations! You found the elusive duck!
Please return the letterbox carefully, being sure to place the letterbox between the tree and the vine. (The vine will help hold it in place during strong winds.) Conceal it with bark and other cover, and change the sign on your way out of the photo blind area. Enjoy the rest of your time at Lake Mattamuskeet, and remember to leave it in the pristine condition in which you found it.
(Travel tip: for a meal in Hyde County, you can't beat Martelle's in Engelhard on Hwy 264. The Marshals are happy to recommend some good southern fare or seafood.)