I am at Whitehall Landing on the Cape Fear River near White Lake & Elizabethtown, NC. I am on the White Lake side of the river. It’s just a beautiful fall, late morning, in November, 2012. The sun is coming in and out of clouds, and it is already up to 71 degrees F.
I talked with Ricky Smith a State of North Carolina Park Ranger at Singletary State Park and found out how to get down to Whitehall landing. Wasn’t sure if it was going to be possible in my Honda Civic, but had no problem getting here. The winding narrow wood’s road had grass growing in the median and gravel on the two tire tracks, so no sand or mud (today) to hinder my travel. There were just a couple of places where the elevation of the road dropped quickly and I thought maybe the car might “bottom out”, but that didn’t happen. You could hear the brush beating against the bottom of the vehicle, but that was almost comforting.
As I neared the end of the road, the banks of the Cape Fear, I could tell that I was at the river the way it dropped off and I could see across the river to the other side. The trees on the other side were rust, yellow and green with some greys & browns thrown in.
So, this was Whitehall Landing, where Capt. Stedman and the Steamer Magnolia had met their fate about 170 years ago. Has it really been that long? The characters seem so alive to me. Couldn’t it just have been 70 years ago? No.
Well, I’ve taken several pictures along the river bank. No sign of a rotting carcass of a boat, or anything that remotely resembles a landing or dock, etc. If parts of the boiler really were blown many yards from the river, then maybe there might still be a shard of reminder here, even today.
Well, the day is turning grey, but still unseasonably warm for this time of year. It is supposed to turn colder with some rain tomorrow, but then I will be in Chapel Hill with some of the other ITTS staff talking with the UNC Helpdesk Staff.