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Old November 12th 03, 07:42 PM
Mike McCrea
 
Posts: n/a
Default Trip Report - Gentlemen's Trip 2003

Gentlemen's Trip 2003

The 2003 Gentlemen's trip venue was changed several times, from an
Assateague paddle-in to a Jane's Island camper to a Pocomoke River and
tributaries exploration. In the course of these changes Shawn and Fred
became discombobulated (or maybe I just forgot to tell ‘em), and so
spent the weekend at a Jane's Island paddle-in site, wondering
where-o-where the other Gents had gone. The 15 gents whop made it send
their regards, and a Maryland State Park map with Milburn Landing
highlighted and circled in red.

Arriving Thursday evening I caught a fortuitous lull in the rain and
got the tent up in short order. Kudos to the Raystown crowd for a
couple of new pieces of gear I picked up after that trip – the Seattle
Sombrero was just the ticket, and those Wally-world tent spikes area
must-have for setting up on a gravel pad.

By Friday morning a quorum of gents had arrived and, after a
gut-busting breakfast at Dons Diner in Pocomoke City, an expedition to
the upper reaches of Dividing Creek was undertaken.

Dividing Creek – OC1: Tom Wilhelm, Brian Sill, Dave Hone, Jay Houge,
Frank Weichold, Mike McCrea

Turning off the Pocomoke and heading up Dividing Creek I fell into a
steady paddling cadence. A hundred or two strong counted strokes
usually satisfies my immediate need for speed, but for some reason my
cadence count went on and on. Three hundred…four hundred, on and on
and on. Arriving at the strainer blocked limit of navigation I
realized that I was all alone and, after a smoke break, beer break and
solitary respite, floated back to join the other gents.

A post-trip look at the topo revealed that we had reached a new height
of Duckhead exploration on Dividing Creek, but were still far from the
headwaters. There's always next year, eh boys? We'll remember to bring
the saws next time.

Back at camp, while Tom and Brian prepared a gentlemen's feast of
stuffed pork loins, we were astounded as the usually empty Milburn
campground began to fill. An unceasing parade of motor homes, pop-up
and trailers began to stream into the site. Apparently we had chosen
to visit Milburn on the same weekend as the Dundalk Travel Trailer and
Coleman Lantern Appreciation Society. This might have been irritating
if not for the yin-yang thought that we were now in the same position
as Milburn campers unfortunate enough to visit the park during the
August Duckhead invasion. What goes around comes around; at least the
travel trailer folk retreated to the warmth and quiet of their wheeled
abodes soon after sunset.

Saturday morning saw a larger contingent of gents heading off to
explore the upper reaches of Nassawango Creek. Or not. Arriving at the
Red House Rd bridge we found a stream in full flood; over the banks
and through the woods, with the usually passable bridge now a
decapitating obstacle. Exercising great discretion (discretion on a
Gentlemen's trip – who'd a thunk it?) we elected to try the upper
Pocomoke instead.

Convoy up and off to Porters Crossing on the Pocomoke. Driving to the
waters edge we could see the bridge, 100 yards off across the flooded
swamp and moved on to Plan C.

Corkers Creek and Pocomoke – OC1: Tom Wilhelm, Brian Sill, Frank
Weichold, Harry Mobley, Dave Karaolis, Mike McCrea. OC2: Rob Powell,
Rex Johnson, Alan Nathan, Jim Obert

Corkers Creek proved a fine alternative to Plans A and B, as the
water, water everywhere situation allowed for another benchmark
penetration to the furthest reaches yet explored. A raft up lunch
break at the strainer occluded end of Corkers was followed by a drift
downstream to a high ground leg stretcher and stand ashore sip and
spit. Tom supplied the spit part, as he sampled a local beverage and
pronounced it frothy, pithy and dark, with a hint of Holly Farms and a
lingering Perdue finish.

Arriving at the confluence of the Pocomoke our Plan C paddle came to
full fruition, as the breeze and tide were at our back, allowing us an
easy float back to camp, where we could leave the canoes at the
water's edge, ready for the evening's lunar eclipse paddle. This
campsite takeout did leave us some miles downstream from our vehicles,
but Frank's vintage '79 Marquis transported us back to our vehicles in
comfort and style.

Back at camp an unfortunate convergence of suppertime and the lunar
eclipse collided in the time-space continuum. Realizing that I eat
supper almost every night but only rarely have the opportunity to
paddle beneath a lunar eclipse I opted to skip Harry and Jim's
gentlemanly meat and potatoes feast and headed upriver in my canoe.

Lunar Eclipse Paddle

OC1: David Hone, David Karaolis, Alan Nathan, Jonathan Davis, Frank
Weichold, Brian Sill, Joel Beckwith, Mike McCrea

Once again I outpaced my dawdling companions, heading upriver against
the tide to anchor in a raft of lily pads. Watching the last glimmer
of moonlight flicker away as my canoe gently rocked in the breeze was
a hypnotic experience. Dinner may have been good, this was better.

Drifting back down river on the tide beneath a fully eclipsed moon I
encountered Brian and the two of us headed back out to complete the
viewing, returning to camp as the moon regained it's round-faced glow.
I can check another one off the life paddle list –eclipse moon
paddling with an old friend.

Arising Sunday morning a few gents were worse for wear. Rex determined
that he might be able to go paddling if provided with a tandem canoe
barf bag, and his sternman wisely took him home instead. Joel was
unnaturally slow to arise, telling Rufus that he was certain he'd
caught the flu. This was later determined to be the killer "Kentucky
Single Barrel Flu", a well-known contagion on Gentlemen's trips and
Joel, feeling not much better, proclaimed that he might as well feel
lousy while at least paddling. And off we went.

Sunday's paddling plan was complex. Half our crew planned to paddle
the upper Pocomoke from Whiton to Porters Crossing, with the remainder
continuing on downriver to Snow Hill. A shuttle scheme allowing this
split configuration was concocted and drivers dispatched to various
points along the way. Unfortunately one of those points, our mid-way
point at Porters Crossing, was still underwater.

With the far side of the bridge apparently reachable an alternate plan
was put into action and a scenic and roundabout shuttle tour of sodden
Dorchester County was undertaken, courtesy of Jonathan's '90 Grand
Marquis, a behemoth vehicle so cushy and comfy that we debated
abandoning our waiting comrades and just continuing to cruise the
backroads.

Eventually loyalty won out over riding in style and we returned to the
upriver put in. This trip down the swamp Pocomoke proved to be the
best flooded swamp run of the year. The flooded upper Tuckahoe in a
January snowstorm was charming, the bankfull South River in June was
challenging, but this one had it all.

"Reverse" waterfalls, where the river had broached its banks and the
water was pouring out of the river and into the surrounding forest.
Route finding challenges, where the actual course of the river was
impossible to determine and we paddled blindly through the forest
itself, hoping that something resembling the river course would open
ahead. Speed bump logs, limbo logs and tangles of trumpet vine. Ah, to
be in the swamp, now that the floodwaters are here.

Arriving at the midway point at Porters Crossing we were able to
paddle to within 12 inches of the vehicles and, with sunset not far
off, most of our paddling cohort opted to call it a day, leaving Joel,
Rufus and I to paddle onto into the setting sun. Fortunately the river
widens significantly below Porters Crossing and the failing light was
more that enough to complete our dusk journey to Snow Hill.

Back at camp the Trailer Society had departed and Rufus, Joel and I
enjoyed a quiet night around the fire. Monday morning dawned cool and
clear, inviting one last gents trip paddle exploration on Nassawango
Creek. An invitation we debated and eventually declined, deciding it
was better to make the long and potentially traffic clogged journey
west across the Bay at mid-day, rather than sneak in one last paddle
and see the weekend's mental refreshment consumed in an awful
stop-and-go miles long backup en route home at rush hour.

A wise decision, and we still have that upper stretch of Nassawango
Creek to round out our Pocomoke tributaries wish list.

  #2   Report Post  
Old November 18th 03, 10:52 PM
stevej
 
Posts: n/a
Default Trip Report - Gentlemen's Trip 2003

Ain't that the place with the toxic algae?

Mike McCrea wrote:
Gentlemen's Trip 2003

The 2003 Gentlemen's trip venue was changed several times, from an
Assateague paddle-in to a Jane's Island camper to a Pocomoke River and
tributaries exploration. In the course of these changes Shawn and Fred
became discombobulated (or maybe I just forgot to tell ‘em), and so
spent the weekend at a Jane's Island paddle-in site, wondering
where-o-where the other Gents had gone. The 15 gents whop made it send
their regards, and a Maryland State Park map with Milburn Landing
highlighted and circled in red.

Arriving Thursday evening I caught a fortuitous lull in the rain and
got the tent up in short order. Kudos to the Raystown crowd for a
couple of new pieces of gear I picked up after that trip – the Seattle
Sombrero was just the ticket, and those Wally-world tent spikes area
must-have for setting up on a gravel pad.

By Friday morning a quorum of gents had arrived and, after a
gut-busting breakfast at Dons Diner in Pocomoke City, an expedition to
the upper reaches of Dividing Creek was undertaken.

Dividing Creek – OC1: Tom Wilhelm, Brian Sill, Dave Hone, Jay Houge,
Frank Weichold, Mike McCrea

Turning off the Pocomoke and heading up Dividing Creek I fell into a
steady paddling cadence. A hundred or two strong counted strokes
usually satisfies my immediate need for speed, but for some reason my
cadence count went on and on. Three hundred…four hundred, on and on
and on. Arriving at the strainer blocked limit of navigation I
realized that I was all alone and, after a smoke break, beer break and
solitary respite, floated back to join the other gents.

A post-trip look at the topo revealed that we had reached a new height
of Duckhead exploration on Dividing Creek, but were still far from the
headwaters. There's always next year, eh boys? We'll remember to bring
the saws next time.

Back at camp, while Tom and Brian prepared a gentlemen's feast of
stuffed pork loins, we were astounded as the usually empty Milburn
campground began to fill. An unceasing parade of motor homes, pop-up
and trailers began to stream into the site. Apparently we had chosen
to visit Milburn on the same weekend as the Dundalk Travel Trailer and
Coleman Lantern Appreciation Society. This might have been irritating
if not for the yin-yang thought that we were now in the same position
as Milburn campers unfortunate enough to visit the park during the
August Duckhead invasion. What goes around comes around; at least the
travel trailer folk retreated to the warmth and quiet of their wheeled
abodes soon after sunset.

Saturday morning saw a larger contingent of gents heading off to
explore the upper reaches of Nassawango Creek. Or not. Arriving at the
Red House Rd bridge we found a stream in full flood; over the banks
and through the woods, with the usually passable bridge now a
decapitating obstacle. Exercising great discretion (discretion on a
Gentlemen's trip – who'd a thunk it?) we elected to try the upper
Pocomoke instead.

Convoy up and off to Porters Crossing on the Pocomoke. Driving to the
waters edge we could see the bridge, 100 yards off across the flooded
swamp and moved on to Plan C.

Corkers Creek and Pocomoke – OC1: Tom Wilhelm, Brian Sill, Frank
Weichold, Harry Mobley, Dave Karaolis, Mike McCrea. OC2: Rob Powell,
Rex Johnson, Alan Nathan, Jim Obert

Corkers Creek proved a fine alternative to Plans A and B, as the
water, water everywhere situation allowed for another benchmark
penetration to the furthest reaches yet explored. A raft up lunch
break at the strainer occluded end of Corkers was followed by a drift
downstream to a high ground leg stretcher and stand ashore sip and
spit. Tom supplied the spit part, as he sampled a local beverage and
pronounced it frothy, pithy and dark, with a hint of Holly Farms and a
lingering Perdue finish.

Arriving at the confluence of the Pocomoke our Plan C paddle came to
full fruition, as the breeze and tide were at our back, allowing us an
easy float back to camp, where we could leave the canoes at the
water's edge, ready for the evening's lunar eclipse paddle. This
campsite takeout did leave us some miles downstream from our vehicles,
but Frank's vintage '79 Marquis transported us back to our vehicles in
comfort and style.

Back at camp an unfortunate convergence of suppertime and the lunar
eclipse collided in the time-space continuum. Realizing that I eat
supper almost every night but only rarely have the opportunity to
paddle beneath a lunar eclipse I opted to skip Harry and Jim's
gentlemanly meat and potatoes feast and headed upriver in my canoe.

Lunar Eclipse Paddle

OC1: David Hone, David Karaolis, Alan Nathan, Jonathan Davis, Frank
Weichold, Brian Sill, Joel Beckwith, Mike McCrea

Once again I outpaced my dawdling companions, heading upriver against
the tide to anchor in a raft of lily pads. Watching the last glimmer
of moonlight flicker away as my canoe gently rocked in the breeze was
a hypnotic experience. Dinner may have been good, this was better.

Drifting back down river on the tide beneath a fully eclipsed moon I
encountered Brian and the two of us headed back out to complete the
viewing, returning to camp as the moon regained it's round-faced glow.
I can check another one off the life paddle list –eclipse moon
paddling with an old friend.

Arising Sunday morning a few gents were worse for wear. Rex determined
that he might be able to go paddling if provided with a tandem canoe
barf bag, and his sternman wisely took him home instead. Joel was
unnaturally slow to arise, telling Rufus that he was certain he'd
caught the flu. This was later determined to be the killer "Kentucky
Single Barrel Flu", a well-known contagion on Gentlemen's trips and
Joel, feeling not much better, proclaimed that he might as well feel
lousy while at least paddling. And off we went.

Sunday's paddling plan was complex. Half our crew planned to paddle
the upper Pocomoke from Whiton to Porters Crossing, with the remainder
continuing on downriver to Snow Hill. A shuttle scheme allowing this
split configuration was concocted and drivers dispatched to various
points along the way. Unfortunately one of those points, our mid-way
point at Porters Crossing, was still underwater.

With the far side of the bridge apparently reachable an alternate plan
was put into action and a scenic and roundabout shuttle tour of sodden
Dorchester County was undertaken, courtesy of Jonathan's '90 Grand
Marquis, a behemoth vehicle so cushy and comfy that we debated
abandoning our waiting comrades and just continuing to cruise the
backroads.

Eventually loyalty won out over riding in style and we returned to the
upriver put in. This trip down the swamp Pocomoke proved to be the
best flooded swamp run of the year. The flooded upper Tuckahoe in a
January snowstorm was charming, the bankfull South River in June was
challenging, but this one had it all.

"Reverse" waterfalls, where the river had broached its banks and the
water was pouring out of the river and into the surrounding forest.
Route finding challenges, where the actual course of the river was
impossible to determine and we paddled blindly through the forest
itself, hoping that something resembling the river course would open
ahead. Speed bump logs, limbo logs and tangles of trumpet vine. Ah, to
be in the swamp, now that the floodwaters are here.

Arriving at the midway point at Porters Crossing we were able to
paddle to within 12 inches of the vehicles and, with sunset not far
off, most of our paddling cohort opted to call it a day, leaving Joel,
Rufus and I to paddle onto into the setting sun. Fortunately the river
widens significantly below Porters Crossing and the failing light was
more that enough to complete our dusk journey to Snow Hill.

Back at camp the Trailer Society had departed and Rufus, Joel and I
enjoyed a quiet night around the fire. Monday morning dawned cool and
clear, inviting one last gents trip paddle exploration on Nassawango
Creek. An invitation we debated and eventually declined, deciding it
was better to make the long and potentially traffic clogged journey
west across the Bay at mid-day, rather than sneak in one last paddle
and see the weekend's mental refreshment consumed in an awful
stop-and-go miles long backup en route home at rush hour.

A wise decision, and we still have that upper stretch of Nassawango
Creek to round out our Pocomoke tributaries wish list.


  #3   Report Post  
Old November 19th 03, 12:23 PM
Mike McCrea
 
Posts: n/a
Default Trip Report - Gentlemen's Trip 2003

stevej wrote in message ...
Ain't that the place with the toxic algae?


Yup, that's the place.

Fortunately, health effects are easily recognizable, as one of the
first symptoms is sporeadik los of speling ablities.


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