Ralph organized a trip out of Truxton Park Christmas morning. I was surprised that he got a pretty good group - evidently I'm not the only one for whom Christmas morning isn't a big deal. I guess these were the folks who celebrated Christmas Eve, had no family locally, or were just generally humbugs. In addition to Ralph the group included Tall Tom, Tim, Tom B, Dave I, Linda and me. Just about everyone had a Santa hat. Tim didn't wear a Santa hat but decorated his boat with mistletoe. That left me as the one true humbug who wasn't sporting anything Christmasy. I have to admit, I don't know why I find wearing a Santa hat too Christmasy. I mean, is it any worse than Christmas Eve when I happily participated in Christmas caroling at Westover Beer Garden? I do enjoy planing the Christmas music, though have to admit that when I sing Christmas carols I hum my way through the "Christ our Savior" parts.
|Christmas Music at Westover|
|Then One Foggy Christmas Day ...|
Back in the fingers of Lake Ogleton the fog had been a lot thinner. Dave, an old Coast Guardsman, explained that it had something to do with the temperature differential between land and water. Anyway, we could see and be seen and exchanged lots of "Merry Christmas!" wishes with folks on shore - including a woman who ran down her dock with a toddler in tow to wave at Santa. Cute!
Trip #2: 12/27
I had been looking forward to this trip. A chance to circumnavigate Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge in winter without cold fingers and toes. Unfortunately, warm weather isn't necessarily good weather. We arrived to find the wind was blowing more than predicted and more than any of us expected.(1)
We decided to give it a go anyway. Bogle's Wharf, where we launched, is in somewhat protected waters and we figured we'd paddle to the south end of the island, peek around the corner into the part of the island that is open to the Bay and decide at that point if we wanted to proceed.
It was a workout paddling into the wind and I have to admit that I must be out of paddling shape as I was definitely bringing up the rear of the group. I can explain that Rob was in his super-fast (if tippy) Epic, and that Tall Tom had a longer boat and more natural horsepower. Unfortunately I have no excuse for being slower than Suzanne, who was paddling exactly the same boat I was. Except that maybe I'm weaker than a little girl. New Year's resolution: strength training.
Anyway, we grouped up at the southern point of the island and decided that, (a) we could all handle the conditions around the exposed side of the island, but that (b) none of us really felt like a "survivor" paddle that day. So we turned around and went back. So, we did a seven mile out-and-back rather than a ten mile circumnavigation. Oh, well.
After landing and loading our gear we figured that as long as we were there we might as well explore some of the nature trails. Unfortunately, the trails are all quite short. The longest one was about 1.2 miles, round trip. Still, we enjoyed the little bits of hiking - need I even say that once we were off the water the wind dropped off, the sun came out and it turned into a gorgeous day?
Anyway, when we had exhausted the trails and the visitor center we headed into Rock Hall to try and find lunch, but alas, on a Sunday in December everything was closed. So, we parted ways and headed for home. I was hungry so as I drove I kept a lookout for someplace where I could stop and eat. I wound up stopping in Chestertown where I sat on a park bench in the town square and ate part of the lunch I had packed, and then ducked into Dunkin' Donuts to pick up a coffee and a muffin for the drive.
All in all, a lot of driving for not a lot of paddling, but a nice day hanging out with some good friends.
(1) One of us checked the forecast the night before and pointed out the forecast of wind and fog to the group, but let's not go there.