|Up the creek|
I've paddled Mason Neck a hundred million times, but I couldn't remember ever having launched from Pohick Bay Park on the other side of the same peninsula. I just had this impression that Pohick was busier and more filled with power boat traffic. Well, today I decided to check it out.
As I pulled into the park I spotted the signs. "Seadoo test rides today!" they said. Uh oh. A bunch of newbies flying around on jet skis?! That's a kayaker's nightmare. Fortunately it was early and the test ride wasn't underway. The ranger did make me move my car to leave room for their setup - they were using the car-top launch area for the demos, not the boat ramp! - which ticked me off a little bit. Show me how you car top a jet ski and I'll be happy to move out of your way, buddy.
"OK, time to turn down the New Yorker territorialism a little bit," I say to myself.
The Seadoo truck pulls in - blasting hip hop - as I load my boat, but soon I'm off and leave all that behind. I head up Pohick Creek, which turns out to be stunning. Water clear enough to see the fish swimming in it. Twisty with nice scenery. When I first started kayaking I'd love little creeks like this. Now I don't paddle them nearly often enough. I pushed back a mile and three quarters and was still running into bass boats - how they got through the shallow spots where I was scraping my paddle on the bottom I don't know. Finally I came to a spot with only a narrow opening some downed trees. Above that obstacle I had the creek to myself. Well, besides the osprey, kingfishers, herons, turtles and songbirds, that is. I pushed back about another half mile - portaged one area, and stopped when I came to another portage. There was considerable current by this point so it was a quick trip back down. I then looped around part of the bay before heading back. Turns out the jet ski traffic wasn't all that bad.
Back at the park I did a couple of rolls, talked to someone about my boat (the wood boat always attracts attention) and then sat at a picnic table for a while to dry off before heading home. A very nice morning indeed.
|How to risk losing your new camera: Balance it on the end of your paddle to take a picture|