JULY 12, 2020 // By Kayak, In My Backyard

Escaping The Mad, Mad World In A Kayak, If Only Temporarily

Given the crazy state of the world, trying to find activities that allow for social distancing isn't the easiest thing in the world. I enjoy rolling around the countryside on my motorcycle, but part of the fun is stopping in a bar or other attraction and soaking up some of the ambiance. Several places are still closed so that doesn't work much anymore.

Under these constraints, trying to find something to do that's entertaining, and that doesn't involve cleaning or organizing, was the goal of the day. So yesterday the wife and I decided to get out on the Potomac River and do some kayaking. It's not exactly traveling down the road and experiencing new adventures, but right now, it's sure a lot better than sitting on the couch. Or organizing the pantry. Again.

Gail kayak1 Racoon1

We expected the river to be crowded, but we were pleasantly surprised. While there were people putting in at the boat launch, once we were in the kayaks and had paddled away from the launch, it really quieted down.

We headed upstream towards Tenfoot Island. The idea was to paddle upstream in the main branch of the Potomac to the tip of Van Deventer Island, stop for a break, and then swing down the backside of the island back to the boat launch.

Heading up island was quite peaceful, with only one jet ski that passed us heading down stream, and a boat with a small outboard that really wasn't going much faster than we were paddling. The rest of the time it was wonderfully quiet.

Because of the quiet, the wildlife wasn't hiding as much as it normally did when I've previously been on the river. This time, however, we saw raccoons, and blue herons and so many eagles! If I had to guess we saw at least a dozen of the eagles swooping along the treetops.

Racoon2 Blue heron1 Eagle1

After a short stop at the top of the island, which included some cheese and crackers, along with some frozen grapes (excellent snack for a hot day, I must say), we got back in the water and started paddling back towards to the truck. Obviously, heading downstream was much easier than paddling upstream. The last 200 yards towards the tip of the island we were heading into a breeze that had suddenly picked up, and had to put more effort into paddling to keep moving forward.

With the wind at our back, it was a nice, leisurely float back down river. I was probably doing more course-correcting than actual paddling. More herons were circling, and at one point, there were three circling around (see the picture above).

There was one minor flaw to an otherwise pretty damn nice day. I neglected to put sunscreen on my legs, and because of the way I was sitting in the kayak, I burned the insides of my knees down to my ankles. It's the stupidest sunburn. From the middle of my knees down the inside of my leg, to my ankles. On both sides. It's ridiculous.

But it was a great day, and we had a great time, and it was nice to be able to ignore the world for a few hours.

IMG 2615 Kayaks1