laura paddles delmarva

exploring the shorelines of Delmarva via kayak


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Trappe to Cambridge

Another Monday off, another 6.7 miles in the books! Today I paddled from Trappe to Cambridge. My sister, Julia, is on the east coast right now, bouncing between Baltimore County and Ocean Pines to visit with family. She was headed back to the western shore this morning after spending the weekend with us in Ocean Pines, so I took advantage of her driving west, to shuttle me across the Choptank River.

I left the house at 5:30, about 20 minutes ahead of her leaving. I drove straight to Trappe Landing, unloaded my kayak and locked it to a lamp post, and then drove to Gerry Boyle Park in Cambridge. I parked my car there and Julia picked me up and drove me back up to my kayak in Trappe – that way I didn’t need to ride my bike across the Route 50 bridge (I don’t think you’re allowed to do that anyway).

As I was getting ready to launch, I realized I left my bilge pump at home somehow. No big deal, unless this was to be the trip where I capsized for the first time. As I was about to launch, an old man (like he was pushing 90) was wandering the landing and struck up a conversation with me. “You don’t have much room in that thing!” LOL! I told him I had enough room for myself and that was all that mattered. Then he asks, “you ever fall out of that thing? I’ve seen on the television people that roll down in the water.” I told him I never have, but there’s a first time for everything! And of course as soon as I said good-bye and paddling out of the landing, I started to wonder if the universe was against me and that I was totally going to capsize on this trip!

Nevertheless, I continued on my journey, knowing that I really had no choice, because I was literally stranded in Trappe and my car was several miles of paddling away.

IMG_20200824_074718719_HDRThe creek out of Trappe was delightful. The sun was just starting to make the water sparkle, and I enjoyed admiring all the fancy homes and docked sailboats along the way. Several small pleasure boats and someone on a SUP passed and waved. Such a friendly little creek!

As I came around the point and entered the Choptank the wind and chop started to hit me.  My original plan was to paddle along the northern shoreline of the river, then cut across the river adjacent to the bridge, since I felt safer from boat traffic doing that. But the wind was really sloshing me around on the north side, and the boat traffic in the river was light, so I decided to take a turn to the south and head straight across. You can easily see on the map where I made the decision to cut across:

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my attempt at a pic of the sailboat in the choppy water

It wasn’t bad. The work boats in the area were nowhere near me, and the sailboats kept their distance. By the way, I think this is the first time in over 300 miles that I’ve really encountered any sailboats – hard to believe!

Once I got across the river, I had to take a minor detour due to a long jetty that was in my way. Not as bad as the detour I had to take around the Slaughter Beach jetty a few weeks ago, but it was still mildly annoying. Once I rounded the tip of the jetty, it was a short, straight shot to the boat ramp at Gerry Boyle Park (which by the way, super cute park with a pavilion, boat ramp, playgrounds, walking path, and beautiful views of the Choptank).

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Oh hey – and I never capsized 🙂


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Neavitt to Tilghman Island

Yesterday, August 17, I had the day off, the weather was BEAUTIFUL and perfect for kayaking, so I paddled from Neavitt, MD to Tilghman Island, MD – 10 miles.  There was a small chance of afternoon thunderstorms so Brian dropped Patrick off at daycare so I could get a super early start – 5:30 a.m.!  I packed up everything the night before – kayak, bike, breakfast for the road, lunch for the paddle, water, and all my kayak accessory crap – and hit the road by 5:45.

I arrived Neavitt Landing around 7:45 where I dropped off my kayak and locked it to a sign post. From there I drove to Back Creek Park at Tilghman Island where I parked the car, hopped on my bike, and started the 17 mile bike ride back to Neavitt. I am NOT a strong bicyclist at all, and was sort of dreading this 17 mile journey and feeling a bit daunted by the idea of paddling 10 miles after biking that far. But I told myself the night before that I was up to the challenge, and what better conditions to do it in – 70 degrees in the morning and light, almost calm, winds.

The ride was not as brutal as I was imagining.  It was definitely a challenge for me, but I only took one break about half way, and completed it in about an hour and a half.  If any half-decent cyclists are reading this, you’re probably rolling your eyes at me, but seriously, I suck at riding a bike! Trust me – my husband concurs 🙂

IMG_20200817_094227032_HDRI swapped my bike for my kayak and locked my bike to the sign post. I hit the water a little before 10:00. Some much more experienced cyclists were enjoying the view from the landing and wished me a nice paddle, and we both commented on what beautiful weather it was for both kayaking and biking. As I rounded the southern point of Neavitt, I looked across the water at Tilghman Island and thought – yikes, that looks really, REALLY far away! After about a minute of paddling around the corner, more land came into view and I realized what I had been paddling towards was Cambridge! Yikes! Good thing I only paddled a minute in that direction before realizing that was the wrong direction! The actual Tilghman Island looked waaayyyyy closer and much more doable. I’ve said this in many posts before, but DANG do I get disoriented on the water sometimes! Thank goodness for GPS and my awesome GeoTracker app, or I would’ve had to hitchhike from Cambridge to Tilghman. In the middle of a pandemic.

As I started to head across the 2 miles of open water, I was mentally preparing myself to deal with the watermen boat traffic. This is heavy watermen country and they STRESS ME OUT when I’m paddling near them. Checking their pots, or focusing on their trot lines, makes them seem unaware of where their boat is headed and if any kayakers are nearby. They also tend to erratically switch direction which makes paddling near them even more stressful. But I get it – I’m the crazy one out here, paddling alone across open water with a bunch of work boats in the vicinity. I’m in their territory, so to speak, so I’m mostly responsible for my own safety. Luckily, this trip across open water was less stressful than some other trips I’ve done. Fewer boats and none that got super close to me, so all was well. Once I got across the 2 miles, I could stay close to the shoreline for the rest of the journey, away from the work boats.

Although I’m pretty familiar with the Tilghman area since I worked in Tilghman and ran a boat to Poplar Island every day for 2+ years, I was excited to see the southern tip of Tilghman. I never actually took a boat out in that direction, and I was interested in seeing the famous “Black Walnut Point Inn,” a seemingly mysterious B&B that you can’t see from the main road and has a gated driveway so you can’t just go see it while exploring Tilghman.

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Black Walnut Point Inn

Well, I was highly disappointed by Black Walnut. I was expecting some grandiose, luxurious, old farmhouse with beautifully landscaped gardens and space to hold large, fancy weddings. Incorrect. Not even close. While it was cute, and I would still be interested in staying there one day, it was not at all what I imagined. The house seemed a bit more modern than I imagined, definitely way smaller, and honestly there seemed to be too much random “junk” in the yard that was not kept up super well. It also had some random trailer/cabin looking things that didn’t have the homiest feeling in the world.

Anyway, enough about Black Walnut, I then rounded the point and paddled straight up along the shoreline to Knapps Narrows. I was pretty beat after a 17 mile bike ride and 9 miles of paddling, so the last mile or so was definitely challenging, particularly since I haven’t done a great deal of long distance paddling this season (yet).

Now 6 years ago, I paddled from the other direction (from Claiborne) and planned to end at Back Creek Park, but I couldn’t quite find the water access point at the park, so I ended at the Knapps Narrow Inn instead, which it right next door to the park. I chose to end at the inn again so I could officially “connect the dots” on my overall map. I never got approval from the staff at the inn to get out here, but nobody onsite seemed to question or care that I did.  Once I got out, I left my kayak on the edge of the water, walked to my car, and drove around to the inn and loaded up.  I then headed back to inspect this Back Creek Park to try and find the kayak launch it was supposed to have. Turns out there is one, but it’s a good 1000 ft from the parking area – way too far to carry a kayak – and it’s down some stone steps and there’s almost zero beach to launch from at the bottom of the steps and it’s all overgrown with phragmites. It’s a terrible spot for a kayak launch in my opinion!

Overall it was a challenging, yet enjoyable day.  Here’s the path I took: