Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Off River Vehicle

October 28, 2019
"Near record high tide at 11:30, we won't have to stay in the river.  You want to go?"
Heading into the cattails
I coax M out.  It's a fine fall day with temperatures in the 60's, a very light wind, and a sky with just enough clouds to be interesting.  We put in from Foote Bridge knowing that the state launch at the bottom of the river will soon be awash with a foot of water.  Watching out for her paddle, M asks as we come out of the narrow forest if she has to watch out for rocks.  I tell her that normally there are some boulders in reach and at low tide this section is a wade, but right now there should be four feet of water between us and the highest rocks.
Easier going over the flooded spartina
We flush some Mallards from the top of the Gravel Flats.  Farther down it looks like some Black Ducks have also flown.  The Blacks are always more skittish than the Mallards.

Most of the leaves are still up and some are still changing from green.  But, enough of them are down that I can point out the wall of the old smallpox graveyard across the river from Duck Hole Farms.

Below the arched bridge we turn off the river following a narrow channel back into the cattails until we are close to the forested hillside that hems in the marsh.  It was the wrong channel and we end up poling our way through the cattails with me standing up every so often to look for the next small patch of open water.  The cattails have gone tan and being where no one else bothers to go is positive thing for the spirit.  With a little effort we get to where I intended to be.  The cattails yield to the spartina, which is much easier to paddle through.

We return to the river and then cut once more across one of the Big Bends before returning to the river and paddling down to the railroad bridge.  We follow the river along the rails until it bends away.  High tide has peaked and with this much water we paddle right off  the river heading.  I've only been on this patch once before.  I plan to take us to the head of a long meandering ditch that will return us to the river, but with 12-15 inches of water over the spartina we keep going following the forest that bounds this part of the marsh.  Then, we follow a cut back to the river that puts us just below the state launch.

We return via the Neck River, Bailey Creek and the Sneak.  We have a stiff counter current to work against until we get past the railroad bridge.  Record tide levels cause a 2:1 current during the max ebb and flood.

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