One way to guarantee good weather is to have many weather sites bookmarked at home, and many weather apps on your mobile devices. Then just pick the one that looks the best. Easy! If you are kayaking, as I was this past weekend, you get out on the water and clouds roll in. Not white fluffy friendly clouds but ominous overcast. Then you change your plans, some times in a hurry.
Three of us headed for the Potapsco River, in the Potapsco Valley Park just above the Daniels Dam. The Potapsco, as usual for a meandering river, is constantly changing. We’ve had lots of snow over the winter, and lots of rain in the past few weeks. This area of Maryland is way over our normal rainfall to date. All that water means that the river will be running fast.
It’s one of many places I paddle, not one of my favorite, but the closest to home. The convenience makes it one of the places I paddle often. This weekend was the first time out this year, and as usual for a meandering river, it is constantly changing. One small island was smaller than last year. Sandbars had moved or disappeared, and new ones formed. The banks on one side that formed beaches had eroded to steep cliffs, only a foot or two high and deep water at the shoreline. This is a dynamic river on a small enough scale to see it change from year to year, or just week to week between storms. It’s always changing.
The three of us on this journey hadn’t been paddling since last autumn, so our paddling muscles were not in tip-top shape, we got to start getting in shape sometime.
I talked with another paddler as I unloaded my kayak, he told me that the current was lots stronger than normal, it was! After my group unloaded we launched and headed upstream. Most of the way the water was deep and the current was almost unnoticeable, but in the spots that were shallower we did notice the current, and had to paddle hard.
But back to the weather. We thought we’d selected the best forecast, but when we hit one of the shallow spots where the current flowed swift, we began to look toward the heavens and decided that the overcast was too threatening to be comfortable. We reluctantly turned back. I didn’t have a GPS with me, so I’d only estimate we’d paddled only half a mile upstream. The return trip was easy. Then after loading the boats back on our cars we ate lunch on nearby picnic tables. By the time we finished our “feast” the clouds started to dampen us, and thunder could be heard in the distance. We’d made the correct choice.
As we were pulling out of the parking lot a group of paddlers that started a few miles upriver to descend through some rapids were arriving with big grins on their faces. As we drove off and they were loading their kayaks on cars and trucks, and the skys opened up and serious rain began. By the time I arrived home the rain dried up and Iwas able to stow the boat with no problem.
Our first outing paddle of the year was well worth it. One thing we learned, watch the weather.
And one short video
See you on the water.