Seasoned Salt 2021 – Dorsey DeMaster
Date: April 22, 2021 Author: Dorsey DeMaster
I will add to that statement that if this kind of trip was during my 1st 100 miles on the CT, I probably would not have continued the quest! But the miles have seasoned me (or made me crazy!).
Initially, my schedule was to launch on Tuesday, April 14th, but the rainy weather combined with thunderstorms forced me to delay my launch until Friday April 16th. Leading up to Thursday night,the forecast was clearing skies with winds NNE 10-14 mph. This was an ‘easy’ paddle…two 15-mile segments, comparatively short to a 29-mile paddle I had last month (that story is coming).
When I launched Friday morning at 9’ish, there was a weather cell but it’s movement looked negligible. As I paddled, the cell I saw earlier thankfully remained in the Gulf, since it was a heavy convective cell.
Then the atmosphere began to percolate more cells around me. The first one produced a heavy downpour, and I hid under a private dock. When the rain quit, I pressed forward.
The next two cells packed a whollup! I could see & hear them coming & I used the weather radar app on my phone to determine their distance & how much time I had to paddle before finding my next dock for refuge.
While taking a break near the bridge, skies began to clear….just as they forecasted!
…and then a NNE 15-20 mph showed up. My choice was to paddle 4.5 miles, directly into the wind across the East Bay, to the primitive campsite. Alternatively, I could hug the coast adding another 2+ miles to my paddle. You can see on my track (blue dots) where I was thinking about it. This is where the “seasoned salt” (1000+ miles under my belt) kicked in. I went for it.
As 2’ swells washed over my bow I kept repeating “Slow & steady win the race”….a tried and true saying I learned from good friend and CT# 9 Gus Bianchi. Sorry, no photos. I had my hands full….three miles…2 miles to go, then as I approach Piney Point primitive campsite, the wind & waves got remarkable calmer.
I arrived at my primitive campsite, counting my blessings I didn’t have to set up in the rain.
It’s rare to get uninterrupted sleep when you’re camping. The frog chorus, changing octaves as the night progressed helped me sleep, but two heavy rain showers woke me twice during the night. It was also my first rain test on the tent…she passed!
I wanted to launch at sunrise, but the lack of sleep caused me to oversleep and wake up an hour before I wanted to leave. It typically takes me 2 hours to pack up, breakfast included, but I was able to get on the water within an hour, foregoing my normal oatmeal/coffee breakfast. I had a 15 mile paddle, a short distance in comparison to my typical trips, so I decided to eat while I paddled. Plus I had a trail angel picking me up at the end, which motivated me to get moving, as I didn’t want to keep my angel waiting.
Saturday’s paddle was a complete joy; tide & wind perfect… like she was trying to make up for the day prior…hell, I earned it. The 15 mile paddle to Overstreet was softly lined with salt marsh grass and pine trees. I was also able to observe several lines of dark/low hanging frontal clouds, which I thought may be a new threat, move overhead like a rolling pin.