Trip Report 9/29/07 - Shepherdstown to Mermaid Beach & Return
- It was a stupendous autumn day on the Potomac River for our paddle.
There was not a cloud in the sky. Folks of all shapes and sizes were
swimming in the water. Our Posse started from the dock at the old
Shepherdstown Gaging Station, which lies across the river from Lock
38 of the C&O Canal, and headed upstream on our 10-mile aquatic
Since there was a strong wind gust by Cross Creek Golf Course, we
crossed the river therein at a smart 45 degree angle and traveled on
the well-protected Maryland side. We went by the hidden Killiansburg
Cave, famous as a hiding place for citizens during the Civil War,
and, of course, for the moonshiners in another epoch.
Carefully, the group passed Old Man Morgan's place by Chimney Ridge,
and one might say that the compound looked deserted to the untrained
With much anticipation, at Snyder's Landing, we had a hearty
collation, courtesy of Gayle's Paddling Café. And then we made our
obligatory stop at Barron's Store, to see our good friends, John and
Renay. Barron's always has surprises, as you learn things there that
you don't read about in books. The store is also a proud sponsor of
the "Rural Family of the Week" contest. It is also the only ice
cream store that advertises its location by latitude and longitude.
Today's Rural Family of the Week contest winner was a couple of
mountain men with their pet rubber chicken. While the cute barking
kids were trying their hardest to win, they simply did not have the
mutant edge that the mountain men had. The winning manly duo was on
their way to Harper's Ferry to camp out in the woods in what is now
the richest state in the nation. We did not inquire too keenly as to
their intentions regarding their elastic fowl, but, given the manner
they held it so tenderly and gazed at it so lovingly, we knew no
outside harm would come to the rubber chicken. The duo and their
mascot are duly pictorially posted on our site, as are the barking
In one of the posted photos, there is a wonderful river shot of Gayle
and Renay, whose combined culinary efforts are keeping me from ever
achieving a washboard stomach. A Maytag middle is all I can hope for
with all their smoothies and ice cream.
After we ate, we decided to go all the way up to the rocky Mermaid
Beach, that lies on the Maryland side of the river just below the
rapids and south of Taylor's Landing. As we passed Catfish Cove and
experienced a bit of current, we saw several large fish on our final
trek to the end of the flatwater area.
After a break, we once again headed downstream, and met a new friend
along the way. A busy raccoon took a break and watched us watching
him as we paddled past him. His curious mug is posted as well.
It was a beautiful day, shared with a great group of people, on the
People's River, a river that was here before us and will be here
The photos have been posted in a photo album entitled "9-29-2007" in
the Photos section of our web site at: