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Trip Report, 3/2/2008, Shepherdstown to Mermaid Beach & Return

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  • Bob Cianflone
    It was a sunny, warm day on the Potomac River for our paddle. Seven brave adventurers set forth against a robust current, as they took off from the dock (with
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2008
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      It was a sunny, warm day on the Potomac River for our paddle. Seven
      brave adventurers set forth against a robust current, as they took
      off from the dock (with a new wooden ramp) at the old
      Shepherdstown Gaging Station, which lies across the river from Lock
      38 of the C&O Canal, and headed upstream on a 10-mile aquatic journey.

      When DNR reported that there were a number of cougar (synonymous with
      mountain lion or puma) sightings (in Lovettsville, Boonsboro, and
      Dargan), we had to reevaluate our safety techniques. With mountain
      lions, there are four cardinal rules to remember. One, Don't run as
      it trigger's the cougar's instinct to attack; two, stand tall as you
      open your arms wide while making loud noises; three, fight back if
      attacked; and, four, which is the most important rule, if you do
      begin to run ensure that you never, ever overtake your trip leader.
      We saw no cats on our trip.

      The Killiansburg Cave as well as the adjoining caves, which provided
      shelter for citizens during the Civil War, were all clearly visible
      from the river. It's interesting what one can see from the water
      that is not visible from land.

      We carefully passed Old Man Morgan's place by Chimney Ridge, and the
      compound looked deserted - to the untrained eye, that is.

      With much anticipation, at Snyder's Landing, we had a hearty
      collation, courtesy of Gayle's Paddling Café. And then we had a
      pleasant surprise: John and Renay, proprietors of Barron's Store,
      came running out of the woods to greet us. And so we made an
      obligatory stop for ice cream and coffee at Barron's Store.

      The "Rural Family of the Week" contest is apparently taking a hiatus,
      since the post-hunting butcherings are still occupying the
      contestants' time.

      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. Passing Catfish Cove, we
      noticed that the river level was higher than normal and the current
      was quite strong. As we rounded the final bend, we realized that the
      entire beach was underwater, but we were nonetheless able to safely
      land on the solid ground of the Free State.

      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
      after us.

      The photos, with hilarious captions courtesy of Coalminer's Daughter,
      have been posted in a photo album entitled "3-2-2008" in the Photos
      section of our web site at:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Potomac_River_Paddlers/
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