What’s happened to Maryland Kayaker? By early spring we will relocate to our new home in Millsboro, DE. Amazing kayaking opportunities exist throughout this area, just off the Indian River Bay. In the coming months I’ll have many new postings, from our new home which we describe as a two car garage plus a kayak garage. Stay tuned.
Most kayaks are durable enough for storage outside but many of us have chosen to protect our boats from the weather.
Attempting to store a 16 ft Wilderness System Tarpon 16i can certainly present a challenge. Luckily we have a double garage with a door on the side. Using Talic Kayak holders bolted to the wall we are able to walk our kayaks in the side door and directly on the racks. These racks have securely held the kayaks for six years. It’s essential to bolt the holders into studs or framing in the wall with these boats weighing 65 lbs each.
My cousin Nancy, and her husband Forrest, decided on a similar method of hanging his kayaks. Lacking an appropriate inside wall he built a kayak storage shed. A sloping roof and tight doors protect their boats from the weather. A plus is the lower height of the hangers.
Alligators and I have a checkered relationship. While kayaking the Hillsborough River outside Tampa, Fl we spotted many small alligators sunning themselves in branches along the river. If you ignore them, they ignore you. Reaching the end of our Hillsborough River trip we ventured into a smaller stream while waiting our ride. Winding through the mangroves just around a curve two large alligators appeared lying on the shore about fifty feet in front of us. Turning to my spouse, paddling behind me, I suggested he snap a shot of my kayak with the alligators in the distance. As I finished this reasonable request a large splash snapped my head back around. Now one alligator lies on the shore and the second has disappeared into the dark water. Back paddling seemed like a really good idea at that point. So began my nervousness about alligators. I always want to know where they are and choose not to be near them.
For several years my brother-in-law lived in Cape Coral directly across from a nature preserve. We kayaked in the preserve often and enjoyed amazing bird shows from wood storks, ibises, herons, and others. One day we spooked wild pigs on the shore line. Their squeal is nerve-racking. But “alligators did not exist in the nature preserve”, stated my brother-in-law very emphatically.
Which explains this picture from the nature preserve. The large “log” on the far shore is a sunning alligator. In the orange kayak between me and the alligator? My brother-in-law who luckily was not lunch!
Me? I still keep a respectable distance from alligators and am glad they do not exist on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
The Choptank River is broad as it passes Cambridge and merges into the Chesapeake Bay around Tilghman Island. North of Cambridge the Choptank narrows and tributaries offer a number of kayaking opportunities. Using Ed White’s book “Exploring Flatwater: Eastern Maryland and Delaware” we chose Miles Creek and King’s Creek for a weekend based in Easton. (White’s book is out of print but might be available used through Amazon.)Putting in at the end of Windy Hill Rd the Choptank was like glass on this perfect July day. The mouth of Miles Creek is to the north about a mile, around a point of marsh grass. Entering the creek there are a few homes but the scenery quickly turns to marsh grass with hardwoods bordering the edge.
I suspect any paddle on Miles Creek will feature bald eagles as the highlight. On this day both mature and immature eagles began flying from the trees within the first mile. Paddling upstream the left bank offers the stands of hardwoods and tall evergreens where eagles hang out. Floating in the shade we eventually spotted an eagle’s nest in the trees. Stopping to talk to a resident on his dock we learned even more eagle nests exist in hardwoods behind the marsh grass.Red wing blackbirds and Carolina wrens are abundant throughout the marshes in Miles Creek. Passing under Bruceville Rd. (White identifies a put in at the bridge however it is totally inaccessible) we paddled about 4 miles upstream from the creek’s mouth. At this point the creek becomes shallow enough at low tide there was no going further, so we turned back downstream. Again we were treated to abundance of birds including more bald eagles and osprey.
A peaceful paddle, there’s no doubt Miles Creek will offer many bird sightings throughout the year.
Directions to put in: Just south of Easton turn left onto Landing Neck Rd to Bruceville Rd. on the left. Follow Bruceville Rd. across Miles Creek and turn left on Windy Hill Rd. which deadends at the boat ramp. There are no facilities at the ramp but this put in was less than 30 minutes from Easton.
Las Vegas is not a place I choose to go. As someone much more interested in the beauty of nature I’ve never found the hype appealing. There’s something about a hotel designed so you must walk through the casino to get your morning coffee that just isn’t me. However, several years ago I agreed to go with my spouse on a business trip to Las Vegas when he bribed me with tickets to Jersey Boys.Looking for optional activities I stumbled across Evolution Expeditions. With pickup at your hotel they offer several kayaking options and we chose the all day Hoover Dam Tour. Following a 5:30 a.m. pickup at our hotel we arrived at a check in point above the dam. Everyone’s photo ID is checked before being allowed to go ahead. Entrance through a locked gate sends one on a gravel road switchbacking to a launch point at the base of the dam. For my spouse, who photos every bridge we kayak under, this was kayak heaven. This point’s closeness to the dam puts one directly underneath the new bridge, which at that time was missing just one span for completion.
Following time to view the dam and bridge from a place most never see, we began our 11 mile journey through Black Canyon to Willow Beach. Within the first mile a series of hot springs a short walk from a beach provided our first warm soak of the day. A “sauna” cave provided an interesting diversion. Birds were in abundance on the cliff walls. Just as I mentioned wanting to see Desert Big Horn Sheep they appeared sitting on the cliff above us. Photographing them presented a challenge.
Our guide’s historical knowledge of the area was enchanting. A delightful story exists about the man tasked with checking the water gauge each day. He would walk for several miles along a cliff trail, pull himself hand over hand across in a basket, check the gauge and then repeat the same trip home.
Evolution Expeditions furnished a catered lunch on the beach at the second hot springs stop. By this time soaking for a while felt good. If I’m ever in Las Vegas again with extra time this trip is worth repeating.