A morning mist drifts across the still surface of Merchants Millpond as sunlight sparks the fall colors of bald cypress.
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When the air is warmer than the water, mist forms on the surface of Merchants Millpond. The branches of a bald cypress hang over the pond, the needles turning the color of rust in the cool fall air and Spanish moss silhouetted by the early morning sun.
The 700-acre park is best explored by boat, following a winding path among the cypress and tupelo trees. At the upper end of the millpond, Lassiter Swamp has some of the largest cypress trees in North Carolina but it’s not an easy place to reach. Spadderdock and duckweed clog the surface in summer and the main channel is often lost in the maze of waterways snaking through the swamp.
There are alligators in the millpond although it’s further north than the Alligator River, typically considered the northern edge of the American alligator’s range. I don’t know how they came there. Perhaps the first were overgrown pets released by annoyed parents.
$50.65 – $164.40
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