There's a bit of dues paying associated with this paddle. Think of it as training for a longer, epic paddle at the coast. After putting in, hang a left and paddle north up a wide finger of Falls Lake. This stretch is exposed and a little wind out of the north and west can make progress a challenge; minimize the effort under such conditions by staying close to the western shore. The game changes after you paddle under Old Weaver Dairy Road. There's a bit more open water, but soon the finger begins to narrow. As the water grows shallower you're paddling amid reedy grass and rushes, and clumps of red maple and oak. You'll paddle into what looks like a promising channel only to be rebuffed by downfall or a simple dead end. If the lake level is up you paddle another mile and a half, possibly to where the lake gives way to Robertson Creek, which enters from due north, or from Beaverdam Creek, which comes in from the northwest. (There's also Smith Creek, which enters from the east about the time the lake chokes down.) The deeper in you get the better, too, your chances of seeing the waterfowl known in the area, the wood ducks and mallards, the osprey and bald eagles. Enhancing a trip on this section of Falls Lake is the fact no motorboats are allowed on this segregated stretch of water. If you paddle in the summer and work up a sweat, there's a beach near the put-in. And for you multi-sport types, Beaverdam also boasts one of the few singletrack mountain bike trail networks in the State Parks system with 15 miles of trail. More info here.Access: Beaverdam Recreation Area at Falls Lake. Maps: "GMCO's Pro Series Map of Falls Lake North Carolina," $7.95, which provides a good sense of potential obstacles in the area. Getting there from downtown Raleigh here.