|By Hank McComas
The current was ebbing at a good 1.5 knots as I left the launch ramp. It picked up to over two knots as it passed through the constriction of the old bridge trestle. The banks were lined with the remnants of once no doubt prosperous companies that brought commerce up the narrow but deep Pocomoke river, remnants of a day when the water route could still compete with the developing road based transportation system. The old massive pilings grouped in threes and fours spoke of the barges laden with heavy goods that laid against them as their cargos were unloaded with the manufactured goods and coal and loaded with the produce of the surrounding farms.
Ramp at Pocomoke City
I parked my car at the ramp immediately next to the Pocomoke River on the south side of Pocomoke City. As you can see there was not much competition for the single asphalt ramp nor were there any boats at the nice municipal docks. It was a portent for the rest of the day as I was to see no other boat all day.
The breeze was blowing about 10 knots from the northwest, but the narrow river was very protected from the wind. It meandered to the south for some 20 miles to empty into a broad bay. My plan for this day was to paddle about eleven miles down to Cedar Hall Wharf Road where there was another ramp, then to paddle back to my car.
The river continued south with a high bank to the west, lined with large trees and relatively little development. The comparatively lower eastern bank remained populated for several miles as housing developments stretched south from Pocomoke City. But eventually these also faded to only occasional houses. I passed a launch ramp on the eastern shore about 5 miles south of the City. Inspection of this ramp revealed that the end of the ramp was both abrupt and deep, dropping from 2 1/2 feet of water to over the depth of my extended paddle, at least seven feet. That would be quite a surprise to the unwary. Do not step out past the bulkhead on this ramp.
I continued to head south under clear and pleasant skies, favorable wind and tide. I reached cedar Hall Road landing in a little under 3 hours. The ramp here is very muddy and appears to be little used. The mud is a sticky goopy sludge that has wrapped up into and onto the ramp itself. Once on your shoes it will not come off without rubbing, so I carried a lot of it into my cockpit as I re-entered my kayak. At all but high tide there is a sandy beach to the right of the landing that would be preferable. I pulled into this beach and discovered a nice low tree limb extending over the beach shaped like a hammock. After tying my kayak to a branch I settled in for a nice little break and some lunch.
Almost dozing off in the cool breeze under the tree, I finally gathered enough will power to sit up. While I had been relaxing, a great blue heron had flown in and begun casing the beach. My sudden movement startled him into a loud croaking squawk, a leap into the air and a unfolding of its huge wingspan as it lifted into the air in a graceful arc away from the beach and my tree limb. My exit from the tree was not as graceful as this instinctive explosion of feathers.
Launching my kayak into the river I began back north with a slight unfavorable current and the steady 10 knot northwest wind which now blew in my face. Although reducing the heat of the mid afternoon, it was sure to reduce my return speed. The return trip was uneventful, with a current that turned favorable about half way back. I arrived in Pocomoke City 6 hrs. 30 min. after my start. The parking lot was still completely empty. I had not seen another boat on the river all day.