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Brilliant Morning

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.


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Our archival quality images are printed on Moab Exhibition paper using Canon Lucia inks, providing lustrous reproducttions with a board color gamut that resists aging. For more information on the technology used, see our page on print quality.

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Sound Rivers

Five percent of the profits from all sales on this site are donated to Sound Rivers, a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the quality of rivers on the Carolina coastal plain.

Brilliant Morning


A morning mist drifts across the still surface of Merchants Millpond as sunlight sparks the fall colors of bald cypress.

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