MD - Choptank River & Tuckahoe Creek - 2001/06/12 - 30.2 mile roundtrip



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The Choptank River near Denton, MD is several hundred yards across with 50 to 100 feet of lillies lining the banks. Five miles south of Martinak State Park, the serpentine lower Tuckahoe Creek joins the Choptank.




By Hank McComas

I launched the boat from the boat ramp at Martinak State Park at 8:30. The tidal height was one foot down from full flood with a 1/2 knot ebbing current. The wind was blowing strongly up the river, but wit little fetch on the narrow river there was little wave action.

Sliding along the canal out from the park and turning southwest and downstream on the Choptank river, the water became and stayed quite shallow. The paddle blades dipped into the slimy dark grey mud of the river bottom. The wave effects of a near-zero clearance sucked at the kayak until I headed straight toward the center of the river and gained more water depth. The channel in the river is quite deep, but just south of the Martinak canal, the shallow water extends quite far out into the river. There are channel markers for the boats requiring more than kayak depth.


Choptank River view from kayak


The Choptank river here is several hundred yards across with 50 to 100 feet of lillies lining the banks. Development is quite light with few houses on the low banks and no development in the swampy areas. The river winds back and forth in lazy loops, maintaining a southwesterly direction.

The river opens up into a wider area and Tuckahoe Creek enters on the northeast bank. I turned into the somwhat blind and narrow entrance to the river. The current had increased to 1.5 knots and now the ebbing current was against me. I later learned from Bob Jenkins, who has a house just short of the bridge that the current was unusually strong that day, as it seldom approaches 1 knot. There is a launching ramp on the south west side of the bridge for Maryland route 328. (Maryland ramp # 114) This would make a good take out point on a one way trip.


I continued up the twists and looping turns of Tuckahoe Creek until about 2:30. Although I had not reached my distance objective - I wanted to get as far as Hillsborro - I had reached my time limit to return to the camp. I turned around and retraced my route back to the Martinak ramp arriving at 5:30. I then proceeded up the creek along the edge of the Matinak park for about a mile. I returned to the park ramp and loaded my boat back onto the car at 6:30. I was very tired and just barely able to load my boat onto the roof rack It bears a scar for my poor effort. . After a brief clean up and a stop for some food, I drove to Shad Landing State Park on the Pocomoke arriving at 9:30 PM to end a long but satisfying day. (Note: There were no places for relief stops on this trip. I used my trusty bottle.)


Kayak track for Choptank

For a trip report on the upper Choptank, click here.

For more general information see Choptank and Tuckahoe River Guide


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