Sunday, May 25, 2008

Yuck Mud

With all the rain we've had lately, the shores were very muddy. Fox, Fae, mom, and I put in at Selby's Landing around 1230 or so. It was a little later than we generally like to get started, but today was the perfect, non-humid, day to get out. We paddled Mattaponi Creek and were out there a full two hours before we took a break. Whew!

At the end of the navigable part of the creek is an extensive beaver dam. Sometimes, when it's been particularly rainy, water will spill over the dam in little falls here and there. Another paddler tipped us off (or, at least, tipped mom off) that there was a breach in the dam. Instead of little waterfalls, we had gushing rapids!

Comparatively speaking, of course. It was hard to paddle where the water gushed, and it was a fun ride on the current to the mouth of this tiny little side creek. There was a lot of excitement in those first two hours of paddle.

We stopped on the bridge for snacks, watched some idiot who didn't read or speak English drive the wrong way on the one-way road, and vowed to put the number for the park office in our cell phones so we can call if that happens again. (As it turned out, Fox had the number and I thought he did, but he didn't check when we needed it.)

It took another hour or so to get back to the dock. When we got there, there were more people who didn't read or speak English all over the landing. They were fishing from the pier (against park regulations on weekends and holidays) and from the beach where we had to come in. A handful of these people were there when we put in, and they had a grill, a park no-no, standing by. We couldn't see the grill when we came back, so I was looking for it. I found it, in the trees where casual hikers or park rangers just making a sweep wouldn't see it. Maybe they could read English and just chose to ignore the rules and put the fire in the trees so they wouldn't get caught. I can overlook quite a lot if it's not really bothering me. We've seen people with grills before. But, they put themselves and everyone else who uses the park or lives nearby at risk, as well as the vegetation and wildlife, by moving that grill into the trees. I called the park office (I had the number on a flyer in the car), and the man sounded quite glad that I had reported that. While we were loading, they sent someone in an official truck to order the grill out of the trees, and prevent them from dumping the hot coals right there. The park official followed us out, hopefully they didn't just start the thing up again.

Sometimes people really piss me off.

After our wonderful paddle, we had a nice dinner at home on the back porch and then watched Muppet Treasure Island (newly acquired on DVD, so I can leave the tape with mom when I go). It was a great way to spend the day.

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