I recently spent over two weeks in a very intense work schedule, no real breaks, no networking, no ‘net, no nothing but to sit and listed. Now that it is over I sorely needed some relaxing and exercise. The weather wizards guessed that the high today would be in the upper 70s and partly cloudy. The were right on about the clouds, I didn’t carry a thermometer so I can only say that short sleeve shirt was appropriate.
What did I do? Go kayaking of course. Chesapeake Paddlers started the weekly Wednesday evening paddle today near Annapolis, but the weather guessers look like they are right again – overcast with the chance of T-Storsm, so I opted for a local paddle in the middle of the day, relatively close to home. I have three close choices, The Potapsco River in Daniels, Rocky Gorge, and Tridelphia Lake on the Howard County/Montgomery County line. Today’s choice was the Potapsco in Daniels, Md.. I had not paddled there since last summer, so I headed upriver with paddling with my Greenland Style Paddle, the second one. I’m currently building my third. The last time I was here was before Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012 and the East Coast Dorecho in June, 2012. Boy! What a change!
Not far upstream a stone bridge pylon sits in the middle of the river, a storm in the 1800s or early 1900s destroyed the bridge, probably carrying what now is Ambertown Rd. In reality Ambertown road now is only a hiking path, being destroyed in floods during Hurricane Agnes in June, 1972. Today it stands full of debris washed down last summer.
Paddling upstream next I came to small rock island, it’s been there since I started paddling here. One of the interesting feature of this island is some stone “sculptures”. Every time I’ve paddled past here, or hiked on the trail that follows the river the sculptures are different. Either some river spirits are at work, or a stone artist visits the island. They will stand till the next high water or when the artist decides to change them, then a new family of them will appear. It’s one of the high points of my paddle up here, sort of meditation garden.
As usual I had a fair amount of wildlife, though I only saw what appeared to be a Kingfisher, two pair of Canada Geese swimming and two Turkey Vultures working a thermal overhead, I heard woodpeckers and a few other birds I didn’t easily recognize. In the sandy beach I launched from I saw a couple of deer hoof prints. Other times there have been Great Blue Herons and reports of Bald Eagles, but not today.
I have never been further than a mile and a half upstream, that is where the river shallows and large boulders create rapids. I have heard that White-Water Paddlers come down through them from the next river crossing, another few miles upstream. But my Necky – Manitou 14 isn’t a white water boat. The last time I was up that far many large trees lay across the river, well, not all the way across. It made for a very interesting and difficult passage. Today, the river stands clear of all obstructions. Such was the amount of water in the two storms last year. One dead-fall near the bank still had debris in the branches, I’d guess over 8 feet above the current level of the river. On the other side of the river, at a place where Donna and I once let Greta play on a sandy beach and chase tennis balls and her ‘squeeky’ toy now is a bank about 3′ high.. Hiking up the path a couple of weeks ago I noticed that where once grew weeds and grass, now it is mainly sand or fine silt. I don’t remember how much rainfall we had, but over building has led to lots of erosion, and here is where most of it has ended up.