Trip Report, Potomac River Paddle of January 13, 2013
- Today was a spring-like day on the People's River. We tend to get one weekend each winter when the temperatures hover between the 60s and 70s, and this was definitely that weekend. It is always good to be out on the water, and this 8-mile paddle was no exception.
We had a fantastic day out on the People's River. While the water level was not high, the current was moving at a good clip, due to the upriver rain of the prior night, so that our paddle against the current entailed solid work. The last mile took everything I had stored in my old bones.
On our paddle, our group saw only two other kayakers as well as a duo on a canoe, so it was a solitary adventure our posse had.
Along the way, we also saw a few anglers, and one serious muskie hunter, none of whom caught anything. Paddling during the off-season is much more peaceful than during the summer months.
We started out at Shepherdstown by the old Gauging Station, and went upriver until we were able to stop for a lunch break at Barron's Store. Along the way, we passed 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. The foliage was now gone from the trees, so we saw many structures not visible during the summer months. We carefully paddled by Old Man Morgan's place by Chimney Ridge, and all looked peaceful there. To the untrained eye, that is.
At Snyder's Landing, we made our obligatory stop at Barron's Store, to see our good friends, John and Renay, and their boss, Moses the
wonder dog, who is known as a professional nontriever. There, we always learn about things that you don't read about in books. We saw that the store is having much work done to it, so that when it opens to the public in the spring it will look first-rate.
The store, moreover, is a proud sponsor of the "Rural Family of the Week" contest. Today's award was won by a set of kayakers who came to the river earlier and left early as they decided to take paddling off of their agenda when they saw how fast the water was flowing. They had put in farther downstream earlier, and they experienced being on the water by the Brunswick "Enhanced Nutrient Removal Facility" ("sewage plant" to the city folks) just when the methane gas was released in the middle of the river as they were going over the out-take pipe. They almost became rural astronauts. I only witnessed this once on my trips, and it looks like an invisible submarine surfacing at full speed. If you are smoking a cigarette or have any lit flame when it takes place, you will end up three counties over the West Virginia line.
During our extended lunch break, since we like to eat, we got a tour of the renovated Barron's Store where paddlers stop in the summer months. And we got free tacos there as well, courtesy of the proprietors. Thus, after sharing our opinions on how to solve all the world's problems, we decided to move on, and we headed to Shepherdstown. With still time left before darkness would fall, we made it back to our base camp.
It was a stupendous day, shared with friendly paddlers, on the People's River, a river that was here before us and will be here after us.
The photos have been posted in a photo album entitled "1-13-2013" in the Photos section of our web site at: