Full Moon Flatwater Paddle on the People's River, 7-7-2012
- For this event I would need firm RSVPs ahead of time to facilitate the logistics.
While the actual calendar full moon is on Tuesday, the 3rd, we will paddle on Saturday night. This would be a unique downriver paddle, appropriate for beginners, teens, and adults. Note, however, that this is a paddle rather than a float. We would utilize our own shuttle between the put-in and take-out, and head out on the Peoples River at dusk. The flatwater paddle would be 12 miles long, and the moon would come over the Blue Ridge Mountains at our halfway point. While dusk on the river occurs before the actual sunset, the sunset on this night is predicted to be at approximately 8:40 PM; of course, we have to start in the afternoon to get the shuttle done.
While the entire paddle will take place in Maryland, since the Potomac River is owned by that state, we would park in West Virginia, put in on the Maryland side of the river just below Dam Number Four, the largest and most unforgiving dam on the river, then stop at Taylor's Landing (mile 4) for a meal, portage by Mermaid Beach, then stop at Snyder's Landing (mile 8) to pick up additional paddlers in canoes, then make a final stop at the take-out in Shepherdstown, the oldest city in West Virginia (mile 12). The Shepherdstown police will make parking spots available to us by the boat ramp or close to it.
During our adventure on the People's River, it is of the utmost importance that we tell embellished stories and trade somewhat true experiences and share mostly factual events and impart historical facts that may have even happened.This full moon is known as the Full Buck Moon, as it is the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It is also called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Others call it the Full Hay Moon. While some associate it with lycanthropy. And, yes, the Mothman Prophecies are a part of this area, so the full moon has much to do with that legend as well. For us, though, it will be the guiding beacon in the sky, the full moon that a mariner would travel under and use as a compass. We are not using artificial lights on this trip when darkness falls; just the moon and the stars. That's right. You will see silhouettes of others and that is it. You would lose your night vision if you had a bright light around you. Even if it is nebulous out, we can still do it, as we have in the past, using the reflected natural light and traveling by listening to the paddle strokes of the other boats. On our last full moon paddle, we had fish jump into our boats, and that provided added entertainment. Folks can learn much about nature this way, and about themselves. One will learn about team work, and about trusting others. And also about trusting oneself. You will need a kayak, a paddle, and a PFD. Also, bring real food (not rodent kibbles) and plenty of water. You can bring a light to store inside your boat in case you need it to find something therein, but do not keep it on at all times or use a headlamp whereby you blind everyone you look at. Again, the objective is to maintain your night vision. And mine. If someone blinds me, that person becomes very wet.
For food and beverages, there is a Sheetz at 8332 Martinsburg Pike in Shepherdstown, but you have to drive there. You can get fuel, food, and beverages therein, and it is always open.
For rental boats, Pedal and Paddle is located at 115 West German Street, only a couple of blocks from our parking lot, so it is wise to walk there from the parking lot. There will be no parking anywhere else.This entire activity comprising the shuttle and the trip may last up to 10 hours from the time of our meeting to the time of our final departure, so please think about it - we do not rush on these trips because that is how accidents occur. The sunset is predicted to be at 8:40 PM on this date. It is important that we be at Taylor's Landing by sunset so that the area there can be seen.
This is a flatwater trip with no rapids, appropriate for newbies, comprising 12 miles, from Dam Number Four to Shepherdstown. There may be some ripples at Taylor's Landing if the river is low, but one can either paddle through them or walk through them while portaging, so bring a rope to pull your boat. In the Mermaid Beach area, I will send a newbie out first and listen; if the person's screams reveal overwhelming danger and imminent loss of life, then we will portage around the water (yes, I am kidding, it is safe). I will scout the river before the trip to ascertain any issues we may be faced with. The entire trip will be going downstream with the current, so one does not need to be a strong paddler. Still, one needs to paddle rather than float. We will not be back at Shepherdstown until around 11 PM or later, especially if paddlers join us along the way, as has happened before, or if the ever-changing river conditions dictate our speed differently than planned, or if someone tries to find out if God exists along the way. This is not a race, but an educational as well as a recreational kayaking trip. The Shepherdstown Police Department has confirmed our parking at the take out, so our cars are okay there for the evening. Yes, Shepherdstown has all night coffee shops as well, and you can get fresh coffee as well as a meal there. There is no smoking and no alcohol on this trip. Write to me directly if you have specific questions. Naturally, safe weather and good river conditions are needed for the trip, since paddler safety is the prime priority; therefore, I will notify all attendees on the day before the trip by 9 PM if there are any changes to our plans. SYOTR.
Here are the directions from the put-in to the take-out. This is very important. If you get stranded, you would need this information. Everyone should print them, study them, and bring them along: