This was a day where most pictures and video footage was lost in the river.
Going through Elkton you’ll pass a giant pharmaceutical company called Merck. Someone should do an independent study of the water before and after that place! I never noticed suds in the river until after passing that facility, just sayin…
I encountered the first of five dams in the town of Shenandoah. If you really just hate the aquablaze journey after this, stop now. This is one of the easiest dams to portage. There is an outfitter in town, call them, sell the boat and get a lift to the trail. Seriously.
But I hope anyone who endeavors this perseveres, there are plenty of great moments ahead. If you need a pick me up, head up the road where the dam is located, 1 mile into town there is a gas station with a Burger King. Fill up that belly with some beef and restock the cooler here (don’t forget more sunscreen, twice as much as you think you need).
And there will be a gentle (and sometimes unbeatable) headwind the majority of the time. In a raft like this, even with the canopy dropped, you have days of pure fighting for every inch. Seriously.
I pulled my boat up, unloaded everything, and began the process of hauling it around. It was approaching dark, I moved it all to the wooded trail in between the take out and put in points and setup a stealth camp.
There is also a great city park right there, plenty of stealth camping options around. Though it is a city park and it’s not legal. There’s a bathroom with electric outlets towards the south end of the river side park too. There is also a motel close by if you must, but you better just get acquainted with being dirtier than you’ve been to date, right away. Seriously.
You should also put out of your mind now that this is a float trip, it’s not, and it won’t really turn into one. Sure it has its moments, but it’s largely a row fest. Lots and lots of rowing, miles of lake like conditions before every dam. The water often so still it could be a mirror.