Well, it’s been a while. Like over a year. Why? Life happened… literally! Brian and I welcomed our son, Patrick, into the world on February 9!
As you might imagine, he has kept us quite busy, and I certainly had to put a lot of my personal goals on hold. So this post is kind of a big deal. It marks the first official “me” day since Patrick arrived 7 months ago. To be perfectly honest, I was a little worried that having a child would be the end of this blog, and the end of attempting my goal of paddling around the entire peninsula.
Although becoming parents has been life-changing, it also hasn’t been life-changing. What I mean is, our life will never be the same as it was before, but we’re still the same people, with the same interests and hobbies, and the same goals. I just find that my daily priorities are different than before. That all being said, kayaking is not a top priority on a daily basis anymore, but it’s still important to me, and that’s why I’m thrilled to be writing this post right now!
Speaking of priorities, this post is a little late. I used to post the same day that I paddled, but this post is coming 3 weeks late!
On August 29, I paddled from Fishing Creek, MD to Hoopersville (Hoopers Island). Brian was super supportive of me taking a “me” day and decided to drop Patrick off at daycare AND pick him up so I wouldn’t have to worry about any time constraints. I packed up my car the night before; I had to take the car seat base out (ugh), disassemble my bike and pack in the car, and load my kayak on top.
I drove the hour and a half to Fishing Creek, MD, in south Dorchester Co. If you haven’t taken the time to drive through that area, I highly recommend it. Beautiful scenery & wildlife, some local history (Harriet Tubman, UGRR), and an overall remote/peaceful feeling. I stopped at the public landing in Fishing Creek and unloaded my kayak. As I loaded my kayak with gear and locked it to a telephone pole, I sort of felt like a fish out of water – multiple watermen working on their boats at various docks, talking with their heavy eastern shore dialects (which I love listening to, by the way). Meanwhile, here I am, clearly not from around the area. I’d be curious to know what the locals think when non-locals are choosing to use their salty hometown as a place for recreation, particularly since Fishing Creek isn’t exactly a tourist destination.
Once I got all unloaded, I headed down the road to the public landing in Hoopersville. I unloaded and assembled my bike, packed up my back pack, and started riding up the road back to Fishing Creek. Oh wait, just kidding. Priorities. Gotta pump. The kid has gotta eat. Yup. In the car, at a public landing. Hoopers Island. Awkward. What’s more awkward than pumping milk in a random parking lot in watermen country? Having a random truck pull up next to you while you’re hooked up to the stinkin machine. I was so weirded out I just didn’t look towards the truck. I have no idea who was in the truck, if they saw anything, or what they were doing. Luckily they were only parked there for 5 minutes or so. Still. So awkward.
Once I got Patrick’s lunch for the next day properly stored in the cooler, I finally started riding back up the road. Not only have I not been kayaking much lately, it had been a REALLY long time since I rode my bike. My legs felt like Jell-O by the time I got back up to my kayak, 8 miles away (yeah, 8 miles, I’m pathetic). It was an easy ride though, traffic-wise. I think I saw maybe 4 cars the entire trip. Plus it’s Hoopers Island – so flat, except for the bridges.
Once I swapped my bike for my kayak, it was time to hit the water. Man it felt good to get back in that seat! I had been kayaking multiple times for work, but this was the first time I had been in my OWN kayak in almost a year!
It’s been 3 weeks since I paddled so I’m going to try and remember the key parts of the trip. First, not far into the paddle, I passed a house that did NOT belong in Hoopers Island. Very contemporary and eye-catching:
After I passed the weird house and a few others, I started to pass some quiet marsh areas, with plenty of turtles and birds to look at. I didn’t realize at that moment though, that the majority of the trip was going to be open water and the wildlife-viewing opportunities would be few and far between. Blah.
As I rounded a point of marsh, I was able to just barely make out the bridge leading to Hoopers Island on the horizon. I sort of panicked for a moment at that point – did I over estimate what I was capable of? Is this going to take me 6 hours? I pulled out my phone and pulled up my mapping ap. My plan was to paddle alongside the land most of the way, but the bridge looked so damn far away that I decided to cut across the open water instead.
I then had to turn a bit west to get around a point of land. I had seen on the map that there was a creek that cut through the marsh neck which would cut out a good 2 miles if it was navigable. Sometimes it can be very difficult to spot the mouth of a small marsh creek when I’m out in the open water. I paddled right up to land, still not seeing the creek. I started to think that the creek didn’t exist (every once in a while Google maps lies). I got out of my kayak and climbed up into the grass in hopes of portaging. Bad idea. That “neck” of land that stuck out was WAY wider than I expected.
I continued paddling westward, unhappy that the creek didn’t exist and I had to now add about 2 miles to my trip and I was already pretty exhausted.
And then the heavens opened up and angels started singing. Well, the marsh opened up and I started singing because the creek DID exist!
The creek cut right through the neck of land and put me out right near the landing in Hoopersville. Before long, I spotted my little car and the pavilion at the landing where I first got on my bike. “Me day” accomplished!
To wrap things up, I simply had to load my kayak, collect more food for my spawn, pick up my bike in Fishing Creek, and head home to my little peanut! I paddled 8.2 miles in 2 hours and 37 minutes. Not bad for a new Momma! Here’s the path I took: