Paddlers with Women Outdoors Mid-Atlantic weren't the only ones who showed up Saturday morning at Bladensburg Waterfront Park. Turns out the Anacostia Watershed Society was sponsoring one of its regular clean-up days on the river as well. Over a hundred volunteers turned out to help pick up trash from the river and its banks.
After some initial confusion about whether there would be enough kayaks for our group (there were), we launched from the dock and started our gentle paddle down the Anacostia River. A few of us also grabbed some trash bags and plucked plastic bottles out of the river as we kayaked.
We paddled against the incoming tide as we headed out, but knew we would be with the tide for the return trip when it counted the most. Our group of 20 paddlers (16 single kayaks, one double kayak and one canoe) rafted up for a break just outside the entrance to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Within just a few minutes, the wind and tide carried us a couple hundred yards back up the river. No more breaks after that!
Paddling past the entrance to the aquatic gardens, we spied three snowy egrets sitting on branches overhanging the entrance and told them we'd be back. We continued down the Anacostia to where the National Arboretum backs up to the river. We stopped briefly to admire a tiny new dock at the back of the arboretum with room for a couple of boats. The dock allows paddlers to tie up and enter the arboretum from the Anacostia River entrance. Keep that in mind when during azalea season!
We turned around at the arboretum and headed back to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. The marshes at the gardens are so shallow that every minute of incoming tide expands the area that can be explored. (By the same token, you don't want to be left high and dry in the aquatic gardens when the tide is going out.) Most of the lilies were past their prime, but the gardens still treated us with sightings of lots of snowy egrets, a couple of kingfishers and a great blue heron.
Out little flotilla headed back up the river about the same time the clean-up crew was finishing. While the volunteers partied at the pavilion, we gathered in one of the park's gazebos for lunch before heading home.
Thanks to everyone for joining us on our first kayaking adventure. Hope to see you again.