I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Paddle Day 56: Tough Crossing the Potomac, Arriving in Virginia to Meet High School Friends

Starting the long crossing
Anxiety about a long crossing and rounding a rough point, but I arrived in a new state and had a great time with high school friends.
I was anxious as I set out for the seven mile crossing of the Potomac.  It was the best weather window, but not optimal, with a moderate wind was in my face.  I used my standard calming techniques as I paddled out into the waves.  Instead of thinking of falling down into the rough, dangerous, scary water, I thought about the supportive water actively holding me and my kayak up.

The waters in my hometown in the Shenandoah Vally in Virginia end up in the Potomac, so I also thought about one of the earliest poems I wrote.  It was a celebration of the little rapid I passed by every day as I walked to school.  That rapid fascinated me, especially after lots of rain, when it grew to what seemed to me an amazingly forceful flow.   With hind sight it was only a class I rapid at best, but to an adventurous little girl, it was so exciting.  Now in crossing the Potomac I was crossing over water that had flowed through my home town: friendly water that would remember my early admiration, and now keep me safe as I crossed.  (Okay, I know this is weird thinking, but it works for me.)

Circled by pelicans
Once on the other side, I passed a "pound net" set to catch fish.  The many poles were covered with pelicans!  I have arrived in the south.  I've seen loons in their winter plumage, who come from Maine and other northern areas to winter here.  

It was a challenge rounding Smith Point.  As I approached a kept seeing small fishing boats come out between the break walls of the harbor there, and then immediately turning around and returning between the break walls.  What did they know that I didn't know.  Once they saw me, some fishermen stayed out to watch to see if I could make it around the point.  It did take reaching deep into my energy bank to pull out the power to get across the currents and waves.  Right around the point I decided it was too rough to continue, but told myself I could make it to the next house, then the next bay, and then things calmed down enough that I made it all the way to Reedville.

Standing on shore to meet me was Linda, a childhood friend I hadn't seen since high school!  What a treat.  She had driven miles to meet me and take me back to her home for the night.  She is restoring a grand plantation home, with the circular drive, the formal gardens and the sweeping views of the countryside.  I can't wait to see the finished home!
Linda and Deb in Reedville
The next day Francine and Kathy, two other high school friends, arrived and we stayed in Reedville. at Ted's cousin's house  It was so much fun to catch up with old friends!

Kathy, Francine, Linda and Deb
Paddle Day: 56                                                        Date: Nov 4, 2014
Start: Point Lookout                                                End: Reedville
Distance: 19.5 miles                                                Total distance: 752.1 miles
Max speed:  5.0 mph                                                Moving ave.: 3.4 mph
Kayak storage:  Ted and Kathy                                 Hosts: Linda  and Neil, Ted and Kathy, Francine

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