Six of us (Tall Tom, Jim, Larry, Susan, Rob and me) launched from Bladensburg Waterfront Park (a.k.a. the head of the part of the Anacostia that anyone would care to explore) on Memorial Day morning and headed downriver. In doing so we followed in the footsteps of Capt. John Smith, who explored the area in 1608. Man, that guy got around.
|The Upper Anacostia|
The Anacostia has a reputation for being grimy and grungy, but in fact the upper portion is quite pleasant and free from development. As we headed downriver we saw several deer, a bald eagle, ducks, geese, turtles, and small mammals we never quite saw well enough to identify (beavers?). Fish were jumping.
About a mile down the river you pass Kenilworth Gardens on river left. On river right you can spy the edge of a golf course. The presence of a golf course in this area is a little bit of a surprise, given that the entrance to Bladensburg Park is surrounded by pawn shops and car repair shops. At this point you cross the border from PG County into DC. There is no indication of the border, though the Rt. 50 bridge is a pretty good proxy.
Downriver from here you pass the National Arboretum. There's a small floating platform here where one can take out (I have done so on past trips). We were paddling at low tide and so the floating platform wasn't even floating - it was at the bottom of its pilings, listing to one side. We continued on, passing Kingman Island on river right. At high tide one could actually go around the other side of this island. When we passed the tide was out and so the channel at the top of the island was impassably dry.
|Selfie with Rob|
Past RFK Stadium signs of the city begin to appear, and at the railroad bridge the river takes on a notably more urban feel: marinas and development dot the shoreline. Anacostia Park is on river left. The park has a boat ramp - one of the few takeouts on the river. The marinas on the Anacostia are charmingly shabby affairs, filled with less-than-new boat. Classic Chris Crafts and the like that have seen better days, some listing one way or another.
Next up is the Washington Navy Yard. Sadly, the USS Barry, which had been docked there as a "display ship" - part museum, part ceremonial location, was recently towed away.
Finally, we made it to the area of Nationals Park and Buzzard Point. The boat rental folks there were good enough to let us take out and take a break.
|Taking a Break|
From there we turned around and headed back upriver. We pretty much retraced our steps. We did get warned away from the Navy Yard, as they were getting ready to fire their ceremonial cannons (in honor of the holiday) and we explored a little bit into Kenilworth Gardens.
13.3 miles all told. Better weather than predicted. A good outing.