Some people might write off Point Lookout as mosquito infested swamp, but when you’ve paddled across the Chesapeake and then across the Potomac, and completely lucked out with conditions and the fact that your gerryrigged gear held with minimal issues the whole way, well, it’s pretty much an oasis. Yea, there are a lotta bugs but with minimal effort you can keep them out of your tent and patiently kill the ones that made it inside. The camp rangers and staff are out of this world helpful and kind, which also really helps make a place appealing.
I landed at the kayak/canoe launch by the general store. They had a few sandwiches which I should have bought but I didn’t, as well as hamburger rolls, which I also didn’t buy along with the regular swag and stuff you find in camp stores. Friendly Bob who works there helped me with my canoe-it’s stored safely in their locked enclosure where I’m happy to see none of the standing kayaks fell on it in last night’s strong winds.
Bob called the rangers who then came out and drove me all over to where I needed to be to register for two nights stay. I’m also gonna take a third so Rodrigo and Natalie and I can all launch together for Coles Marina in Hague, VA, on Monday. Zack from the park here was immensely helpful. He drove me to the registration office which also had a little store with peanut butter and other odds and ends but no rolls or bread! Go figure. So poor Zack took me back to the store where I landed so I could buy those rolls and other odds and ends for dinner. Then he drove me back to my campsite. Really, the folks go out of their way to be helpful. Kindness is always so appreciated!
Later I met John and Beverly who are the volunteer camp hosts. John offered to drive me to Walmart to pick up any supplies and I might just take him up on that. It’s pretty much going to be peanut butter and nutella for the next couple of nights-breakfast lunch & dinner, tho maybe I’ll splurge on a pre-made “Greek style” sandwich here at the store. But at Walmart I might be able to buy a book, which would be a nice thing to have as where one can get internet is seriously spotty. If not here at the camp store by the launch, then it’s standing on a road with a bazillion mosquitos munching on you.
The mosquitos, people are not going to believe this, tho, are actually a small price to pay to fall asleep to the most amazing chorus of frogs I’ve ever heard outside of the Pine Barrens in my home state. If you are quick you can get in and out of your tent with minimal mosquitos and other biting things getting in. Then if some do, and I’ve been lucky to have just a few come in, you just sit quietly with your light on and wait for them to land on you. They are hungry so it never takes long. Then you wack em. Totally worth it to be lulled to sleep by these precocious frogs.
I am actually really proud of myself that my rigging held from Tangier to here. Definitely a major highlight. The current on the Potomac right now is pretty strong form the deluges of rain we’ve been getting, even countering the extremely strong incoming tide up the Chesapeake. It was a bit of a slog by the lighthouse at Smith Point, and always a little nerve-wracking to be going so slowly, or feeling as if one is going slowly, across a shipping channel.
Fortunately the night before I left, Jeff, a staff person at CBF, brought up charts so I could see where the shipping channel was. This was good because it helped ease my mind a bit and even tho I think the vessel I first saw was a little outside the channel, it did let me know that I was nearing the land I still could not see.
Once I inched my way past the lighthouse, I was home free for the first part and now paddling enough on the VA side to see Point Lookout and paddle across. Along the way I saw a pod of dolphins hunting the menhaden or whatever it was I’d been seeing all over the place. I even got some photos of distant fins. Despite the incoming tide I needed to dig in to make headway. The Potomac is super swollen right now. When the westerly aspect of the wind kicked up I started thinking about my options, but Hague, which is on the VA side, was 22 miles away while Point Lookout was less than 9.
I kinda figured since I could now see the Point maybe I should just shoot for it, especially since it looked pretty decent, despite the wind. Once I moved off away from the land, an even larger pod of dolphins followed by a photographer in a boat crossed my bow and the wind completely dropped off to a refreshing breeze. It was pretty incredible. This pod was even larger than the first one I saw. It was almost like they were a sign telling me, “cross NOW.”
Eventually the swollen Potomac pancaked out, with minimal gear shifting bumps diminishing to nonexistent bumps. It was almost glass-like in its surface. So I slogged my way to the campground, my personal oasis.
And now I’m here, where I’m going to sign off from my blog and check out the swimmers who are swimming from VA to here. Apparently this is a fundraising swim for a variety of clean water interests. So I am REALLY glad I’m sitting out a paddling day! Maybe some of them will be interested in paddling in DC and/or marching for the ocean with us on June 9th!
For the Ocean!