Grace and I left the Solomons Victoria Inn at 11 AM with the intention of crossing the Potomac River using the 301 bridge that takes you to the Northern Neck of Virginia. We took route 3 east until 360, and headed in the direction of Reedville, a town located just south of Smith Point, where the southern side of the Potomac comes into contact with the Bay. I was due to arrive Friday afternoon at the house of good friends of a good friend, to whom I had been introduced over the phone. I had a little over 2 days to make the distance of what turned out to be 36.1 standard miles. We reached Burgess, and turned south across the bridge over the Great Wicomico River, which runs east to the Bay. My chart showed a boat ramp at the bridge, but it turned out to be a private access ramp, whose owner charges an access fee. I was told to go to a brown house and ask there. When I rang the doorbell, an older gentleman came to the door, with a quizzical look on his face. I started to explain that I was looking for an access ramp to put in my kayak, and so that Grace could head out home. Bill C. wanted to know what I was doing. When I explained, he said he had never heard of anyone doing something like that, and he warmed up and said he would waive the $10 fee. Grace drove the car around, and parked near the ramp. Bill came down to watch. We unloaded all of the gear, except there was something clearly missing – the spare paddle. We took nearly everything out of the packed car, and it was not there. We (that is me) had to have left it in Saint Michaels. My inattention to these critical issues upset Grace, but she could not wait to see me packed and off, so she said good buy, and she was gone at 2:30 PM with a very long drive ahead of her. Bill stayed and kept me company, took some pictures, and then offered to let me camp on his property if I could not find someplace better. After thanking him for all of his help, I headed up river to find a place to camp. I last saw him waving as I left his view. Paddling under the bridge I decided not to fight both the north wind and the ebb tide for too long, and after about one and half miles, saw a beach with a woods behind that looked like a good spot.
I followed my usual routine, which after securing the kayak, is to set up the hammock tent first, inflate the 3/4 Thermorest pad, take out my Wiggy’s sleeping bag, so that everything is more or less ready for sleeping when it gets dark, which is now around 7:30 PM. I then cooked up some hot water on my small Zip Stove, which burns twigs and pine cones with the help of a small fan powered by a AA battery. With the decaf coffee made, I then proceeded to cook up some black bean soup. I drank a small can of V8 and took my multi-vitamin. After supper, I cleaned the dishes with some beach sand and river water, and prepared to wash myself. This is something that I try to do each night, wash using a small sponge and fresh water, then putting on a change of clothes, except this time, I decided to keep what I had on, as it had been such a short trip. Next, I took all of the bags that had some kind of food (back-up bag with most of the food, the breakfast bag and the lunch bag) and tied them up in a tree so none of the smaller animals could get to them. I then strung a line up to hang up my wet gloves, life vest, kayak skirt etc.
Sometime later in the evening, I awoke to hear a loud noise from what had to be a large deer. I could tell I was camping in his spot, and could hear him testing my scent, snorting, clearly annoyed that I was there. He approached from another direction, but then he decided that he would have to find someplace else that night, and then he was gone.