Lotus and Osprey, Eagles and Vultures
on the Sassafras River, Maryland
The Sassafras River flows west into the Chesapeake Bay. It is tidal freshwater, ebbing and flowing east and west with the rise and fall of the tides, measured at the end of the river at Betterton. Check your tide charts, wind and weather before you launch. All of these will affect which way you paddle and for how long. Paddling against wind of ten miles an hour or more and tide is hard for sea or touring kayaks, much less the bucket that floats (you'll work ten times as hard in a short recreational boat). Put in at Turner's Creek Park, cartop boats are free, Maryland recognizes out of state stickers. There's a ramp. From there, you can drift through quiet backwaters, and lotus fields from mid-July to mid-August. Turning the corner and going west toward the mouth of the river, you'll pass sand bluffs and sandy beaches, and find a tidal pond on the left. Lotus float there in mid summer, kids like to "surf" the tidal currents going in and out of the shallow stream into the shallow pond. Wind and currents can be strong, so you may need to put your boat on a leash and walk it in or out. Mostly sandy bottom but look out for some driftwood and strainers. You'll see lots of wildlife from osprey and eagle (the young ones are splotchy with brown and white), turkey and black vultures surfing the wind, and seabirds, herons and egrets. And maybe one random checkered garter snake playing Loch Ness Monster. There are trails out to the river's edge for the boat-impaired. It's dog friendly too.