Lotus and Osprey
on the Sassafras
We set out with four kayaks to explore the reaches of the Sassafras River. The Sass is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, tidal freshwater, home to osprey, heron, eagle, and one Olympic swimmer of a checkered garter snake. The weather report claimed 0% chance of rain (the afternoon cumulus looked very much like the sort which would boil up into thunderheads, even though they didn't). It also claimed the wind would be from the east... they were slightly wrong, it was from the west. From 10:30ish to 5ish, the tide was falling, flowing west, out to the Bay. This put the wind and tide at odds, creating some interesting waves. After checking Google Earth (before it mysteriously vanished from my computer), and mapquest, I decided we could paddle the three or four miles to Mt. Harmon at World's End, a 1730 Colonial plantation house, which, in its time, felt as if it was at World's End. After two hours of hard paddling, we lost count of the creeks mouths we'd passed, could get no clear directions from better sailors, and decided to turn back. The tide now in our favor, we made the trip in a half hour. The Sass is a great paddle, lots of wildlife and few powerboats, wooded shores, sandy beaches to haul out on, and swim from, and the lotus in bloom from mid-July to mid-August. But read your tide charts, check the weather, and carry charts and a compass; it's easy to get lost in the many branches and side creeks. Put in at Turner's Creek Park, free for cartop boats.