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Intrepid 5 paddle LF on the Ides of October, 2023
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For you history buffs, the Ides of October, 2023 is 2067 years, 7 months after Brutus betrayed Caesar. The date is also 424 years since “The Bard” penned that assassin’s speech with “Friends, Romans and Countryman…” *

(I can hear Gary Q now, mumbling to himself…”Who cares, Peter, just get on with it!”)

Participants: Mark Brenneman, Bruce Campbell, Ken Cohen, Larry Lempert, Peter Ryan

Put In: Lock 6 feeder canal

Beaver sliders: Mark, Ken, Larry and Peter

LF VA: Mark, Larry and Peter. 

LF Maryland: Ken and Bruce

Tide: Mostly high.

Take out: Cove below LF with a C&O canal paddle up to Lock 5.

Level: 2.75’

Weather: Cool. Breezy, coming out of the WNW. Nary a cloud in the sky initially and 80% overcast when we pulled off the canal = quickly moving clouds.

Despite the overcast forecast, the day started out feeling warmer than the mid-50’s predicted due to the (initially) bright sunny day. There was enough water in ‘Z’ channel to navigate reasonably well. Larry “Longboat” and Ken dropped over ‘V’ at the end of ‘Z’ Mark, Bruce and Peter went around the ‘mini-horn’ on river right. Larry spotted and announced an eagle who flapped upriver of the feeder canal. 

Not a lot of water moving through the rubble dam, so there were none of the usual challenges below it. Like ‘Z’, the main river reveled in enough water flow to be less rocky than recently. 

The prelude to the bigger rapids exhibited some decent midway waves and places to catch a surf or two but nothing outstanding. The narrowed river’s frame contained cumulus clouded blue sky and tall trees. Multicolored leaves of hardy brush grew among jumbled rocks which formed mattes of white and gray. 

Beaver Slide-cloud coverage at 40%

Beaver Slide lowered the 4 BS’ers 12-15’ back to the Potomac without fanfare. BS is rockier at 2.75, but very doable. The upshot? Larry has a new ‘canoe minimum’. I think.

Little Falls-cloud coverage at 50%

We did not languidly lounge in Staging (LF staging eddy). Bruce and Ken very smoothly transitioned from Staging to Scout (upper, middle island eddy) to Observation (the various eddies below Observation rock). The pair watched as their companions paddled by. 

Mark and Larry popped to Scout and dropped down M&L (Mark&Larry’s slot; nobody else can find it alone nor cares to 😁). They cruised into the large Virginia eddy and waited for a laggard who wasn’t sure what he wanted to do.  

So, I paddled to Scout and headed to Observation. Nearing Maryland, I altered course once I saw a doable Virginia path and harried along (Anything to avoid M&L). Mark and I scouted the Virginia Eddy and decided that the river left hump of the Mystery (a slot from Scout to the large VA eddy) is best.

Once everyone had made it through the upper half, the boys of Maryland navigated the more technical lower half because its feature had become a boulder garden at 2.75. On the VA side, Larry tried but was denied a reverse ferry. The other two VA boys never made an attempt and floated like bumps on a log until all 3 headed downriver

We stayed and minimally played for a bit. Then the five of us went to the take out cove for the long haul but easy paddle to the parking lot.

Another great day on the river.

  • My recollection is that it was Mark Anthony who gave the funeral oration about: "And Brutus is an honorable man." Anon.

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