Friend and I put in near Gaston, NC and paddled down to Weldon. Water here is pretty low now and not very much current at all. First sight you see and smell is a paper mill. Not too bad but not the most pleasant I've paddled either. Water varied from very shallow to app. 8ft. During trip we hit a couple of small rapids. Just enough for someone like me who has never been in whitewater to get a thrill.
Nothing much to speak of but not bad for the flat lands of eastern NC. Scenery is mostly hardwoods normally seen in river bottoms. Also not much wildlife to speak of except 2 Eagles, few osprey, river otters and a herd of goats. Short 1hr paddle to takeout at Weldon.
Reward of this trip is a wonderful class III(sometimes) right at the Weldon boat landing. Water flow is controlled by floodgates at Lake Gaston. Weekends see lots of whitewater boats playing on a beautiful wave at the bottom. Being a novice I was content to just shoot the rapids but my partner didn't mind practicing his rolls after the wave got tired of playing with him and spitting him out and he obviously had a blast.
You also have a great bank to portage on and only have a 30-yard carry before entering above the rapids again. As a paddle from point a to b probably a 3 on 10 point scale. But if you want close whitewater it's a 10 for the eastern half of the state. Maybe next time I'll let the wave have it's way with me. There will DEFINITELY be a next time, right Don?
Motels and fast food not far.
I95 to Weldon exit and then follow signs to wildlife landing near downtown area.