An On-line Journal of My Kayak Adventures in Eastern Virginia

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lafayette River - Talbot Hall to the Granby St. Bridge

     To paddle the center section of the Lafayette River, you can either put in along Mayflower Rd. at one of the steps, at the Haven Creek ramp, or at the 45th St. ramp on Knitting Mill Creek.  Knitting Mill Creek was so named for, of all things, a knitting mill. For its small size, this can be a busy creek with a lot of boat traffic, but being an adhered to no-wake zone, kayaks are fairly common and safe.  Be careful at the mouth of the creek and avoid going between the no-wake sign and the little spit of land on the west side of the creek, especially at low tide. There is a pile of submerged, crusty rocks that you don't notice until you hear them scarping the bottom of your kayak.  Once you get out into the Lafayette, bear left (west) toward the Colley Ave. Bridge.  The bridge crosses over Colley Bay, which leads to Old Dominion University. I have never seen any boat traffic beyond the bridge, and it is usually a good place to see birds. Back out in the river, you can head north towards Carroll Place where there is a particularly nice group of houses. After Carroll Place, keep heading north until the river takes a distinct left turn, and at this point turn right to cross to the far shore in the direction of Crab Creek.

    At the entrance to Crab Creek sits Talbot Hall, one of Norfolk's oldest homes. The historic house is hard to see from the seat of a kayak because the rip rapped bank is high here. Just south of Talbot Hall there is a small creek, easily missed, with a firm sand bar at its mouth. As there are few places along the river to get out and stretch, you may want to take advantage, plus it is one of the more natural areas on the river. Continue heading south along the shore, and at some point the river will make another turn and the Granby St. Bridge will come into view.  Between Talbot Hall and the bridge are about half a dozen creeks you may want to explore, all of them lined with houses. The people are friendly, always wave, and if you are lucky you might get invited to cocktails.

     The Granby St. Bridge is a safe place to cross the river, as all the boat traffic is forced to slow down and enter the designated channel. Underneath is a popular-with-locals fishing pier that faces due east, and I have gotten many good early morning photographs here. Once you are back on the south side of the river you will see the entrance to Haven Creek, which ends at the boat ramp. Haven Creek is basically a drainage ditch for much of west side Norfolk, and in late summer you would not want to fall in the fetid water. However, the city of Norfolk has recently replaced one of the rip rap shorelines with a living one. By re-engineering how the water flows and replanting the bank with native grasses and other plants, this should hopefully improve the water quality.  Once you are back out in the river, keep heading west along the Mayflower Rd. seawall. This is one of the few places where the public has access to the river's views. I find it surreal to be paddling next to it while bikers, joggers and strollers are going by just over my shoulder. I usually see some of my neighbors here. The seawall will take you right back to Knitting Mill Creek, making the trip about 6.5 miles.  If you have worked up a thirst, but were not offered any cocktails, O'Sullivan's is quick walk from the boat ramp.

Chris on Colley Bay with a Great Egret

Talbot Hall
Talbot Hall (2)

Hard to Tell You Are in the Middle of the City

Under the Granby St. Bridge
Layfayette 9-15-12  (6)

Near the Seawall
Jet Trail Morning (3)

View Lafayette River - Talbot Hall to the Granby St. Bridge in a larger map

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed your Lafayette river trek. We are familar with the river and may follow in yout footsteps.