Patapsco River Paddle: Woodstock to Daniels
I have been itching to get the kayaks out of the basement and into the water this year, the time just has not been right....and my stupid friends have been busy. However, my bud had a bud in town and had Monday off as a result.
We decided on doing a local, one-way paddle on the Patapsco River. The drop off point was in Woodstock and the exit point was Daniels area. I dropped my car off at the bottom at 10:00 am. There is a dam here at the bottom, so it is a good stopping point, though you can portage around the dam. This area has about 15 parking spots and they fill up quickly. Six cars were already there when I parked, and by the time Bruce and Robert showed up, about 10:20, four more people had shown up. If you're planning on doing this paddle, show up early, especially on weekends.
On this day, I packed my Hasselblad 501c, 80mm F2.8 CF T*, and I opted for the prism finder, which I have neglected, but I ended up really enjoying using it. I also brought my new 6x14 camera to test it out. I did end up making a double exposure on the 6x14 as well as taking a slightly blurry photo, so the only one in this is the dam photo above.
The whole trip takes about three hours, with some shallow areas, as well as a few rapid-like areas, one of which Bruce had to bail out on. We went around an island, they went left, I went right, as I came around the bend, there was an empty kayak and a paddle floating away, as well as a soaking wet Bruce. I did laugh.
There are a number of really good swimming spots along the river, though we usually swim at the same one, there is a rock pile of large boulders that you can jump in from. The nice part about kayaking down the river to these spots, aside from the joy of paddling, is the fact that anyone hiking, drinking, or just generally being annoying only hikes up a few hundred feet from Daniels Area to swim; we essentially have the whole river to ourselves. We only saw three people farther up the river: one biker and two runners.
The water was cold but very refreshing on such a hot day. It took a while to get all the way in. As with most swimming, though, once you were in, you wanted to stay in much longer.
The swimming spot that we choose is about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way down the five-mile paddle, By the time you get back in the kayak, you're almost done with the paddle. The lower half of the paddle is also accessible from Daniels Area, we did see two separate sets of people paddle boarding their way up the river.
The end of the trip reminded me why paddling is the best way to get out on the river, we came across a few groups of kids with loud music playing, swinging on rope swings, and just being loud and obnoxious. With a kayak, you can get farther away from things, which is just wonderful. We usually end this paddle by getting a snowball back in Woodstock, but we did not have time, Robert needed to catch a bus. Oh well. I'm really excited about kayaking this summer, as I am every summer. My wife has agreed to do some paddling with me, which is wonderful, as we hopefully prepare to kayak the entirety of the Mississippi in the coming years. This was a great paddle, as it usually is.