Who is ready for spring? When I saw the daffodils and the hellebores peeking their shoots through the leaves, it got me thinking about some adventures from last summer. We found an amazing place to kayak, but my spouse and paddling companion forbid me from telling anyone where we were for fear of my giant readership overtaking our secret run. But the memories of this adventure are so strong, the visuals keep flooding back, especially in the doldrums of winter, that I have to tell you a bit anyway.
We found this launch after a long drive through the gorgeous outback of Talbot County, where fields and forests still exist as far as the eye can see. Particularly on the edges where it meets Caroline County, the beauty is breathtaking. For many, that Sunday drive might be the peach they need and it is easy to stop there. But for us, we must get out on the water to replenish our souls. For over three hundred years, my husband’s family has been on these waters, and while I don’t have the details on my ancestors as he does, I know that must have been a sea-loving crowd too. It’s in my bones.
So we get to the launch, which is small, unkempt, but serviceable. Typically in these types of places, parking is limited, there are no facilities, and the nearby owners do their best to pretend it isn’t there by not tending to the lands nearby. You must persevere, it is worth it. The first thing you notice is the overwhelming quiet once the car engine is off the and music stops. You take that in, but then a flood of nature sounds washes over you and you realize it isn’t quiet here at all. You can hear the wind rustle through the leaves, the call of at least a dozen types of birds, the plop-plop-plop of turtles as they jump off their logs when you paddle by, and the sounds of the water itself lapping against the banks and splashing under your paddle. (Do turtles jump off logs, or just slide? These are things you ask yourself when you have the time to do so!)
So on to the secret stuff. You paddle for our twenty minutes down this river, take a few left turns (or is it right?) until you maybe see a small opening in the marsh grass. You nose your kayak through and find a stream that starts to narrow pretty rapidly after about another twenty minutes. The banks of the river though, are wide and pretty, and dotted here and there and pools of water to the sides. After gaping at the gorgeous flowers, butterflies, and waterfowl, or if you are lucky a baby deer or two, you look down. And what a wonder. The water is perfectly clear, with a brilliance that almost hurts the eyes. You know those clear glass aquariums that you see in nature museums that showcase the bay’s creatures? Well, this is a big natural one, with no admission fee. Baby rockfish, crayfish, and various other critters swim and scuttle by. You hesitate, but then throw you paddles aside and dive in. Glorious cool, fresh water, a secret paradise we hope no one ever finds. And that’s all I can tell you.
See you on the river soon, my friends.
Deena Kilmon is an artist and writer based in Easton, Maryland. She serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives Easton Economic Development Corporation. Deena is a 2021 Leadership Maryland alumna and a graduate of The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.