MD - Nanjemoy Creek - 2009/08/15 0 8.0 miles



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Nanjemoy Creek off the Potomac has enjoyable fresh and brackish marsh and interesting oak forested banks with a surprising lack of development this close to Washington D.C.







This is the type of little trip that I really enjoy. In the small confines of a marsh creek like Church Creek near Friendship Farm Park, the smell of the marsh grass, the blooms of pickerel and hibiscus, wheeling osprey, bald eagles, the squawks of the black birds, the scolding of the kingfishers are a treat in a place less than an hour from the center of the nation's capital ( or capitol for that matter).



The little ramp at Friendship was quite busy as we pulled up to the single ramp. Individual crabbers were pulling up to the ramp and unloading small catches of crabs. There is a dirt ramp to the side of the concrete ramp but it was filled with the trailers of earlier launchers. We left the ramp area and headed up to Church Creek. This creek is a small twisty little tributary of the much wider Nanjemoy Creek, a creek about half way between the mouth of the Potomac and the great Falls on the western side of Washington.



We save several great blue herons, ospreys and a single bald eagle. The banks were covered with a rice like grass that was in full seed. Birds landed on the bobbing stalks, harvesting the small grains. There was a strong odor in the air that seemed to come from these seed stalks. Pickerel dominated the greenery on the bank. The usual Tuckahoe and pond lilies encountered on the Eastern shore were nowhere to be seen.

We pulled over to the bank where a trail from the park made it to the shore. Butterflies landed on flowers arrayed along the surprising solid shoreline. Ferns grew thickly in the shade of the very large trees. Walking up the trail we discovered a mixed deciduous forest of oak, beech and poplar. Under the open canopy a wide variety of interesting fungi, toad stools and mushrooms were growing in close proximity, some on the logs on the ground, some on the forest floor. Other bits of greenery showed in the sparsely populated under canopy of the beech trees.




We returned to the boats and paddled back past the launch ramp and continues up Nanjemoy creek for a couple of miles. Big bald eagles fell out of the trees before catching the wind in their broad wings and soaring down the river. We saw four at once at one place.



The banks were overhung by bushes of blush pink and pure white hibiscus. Some of the rolled up flowers, no doubt suffering in the high humidity and heat as we were, created tunnels that bumble bees pushed up to suck the sweet nectar at the end of the six inch flower.



In the heat of the afternoon we returned down Nanjemoy Creek to the launch ramp. With sweat rolling down our foreheads we loaded our boats back on the rack and headed over to Smallwood State Park on the Potomac. We wanted to check out the campgrounds and marina located there. The campground was open but completely deserted and there was little going on at the marina as well. The fee is $10.00 per vessel unless you are staying at the campground.
"Very hot and still the air was, Very smooth the gliding river, Motionless the sleeping shadows."Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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