For openers, our wives thought we were absolutely nuts!! Why would a couple
of mid-fifties, semi-sane people want to slog through acres of cord grass
just to stand on a "spot" ? We'll let you know if we ever come up with a
good answer to that question. That having been said, we left Dave's house
on the Corrottoman River at 7:00 AM and headed down the Rappahannock. We
took a left at the Bay and headed north to Smith Island Md. While it was a
beautiful day to be on the water, the 2-3 foot swells pounded us pretty
soundly. We got to Ewell on Smith Island at about 10:00 thanks to Dave's
flawless navigation. We tied up at the docks and went in search of info.
We found a young lady who was interning for the summer at the Visitors
Center for the Martin National Wildlife Refuge, where the confluence is
located, and without revealing why we wanted to know, asked her about water
access to the refuge. Luckily, we found a detailed map in the museum.
From it we learned that osprey nest #50 was within 10 yards of the
confluence. We went down the "Big Thorofare" and then gingerly picked our
way up Long Creek. When the water dropped to about 18" (even at our
carefully planned high tide arrival) we pulled the motor up and paddled the
Grady-White as far up the creek as we dared. Close to the head of the
creek, we threw the anchor over a hillock and set off cross-country. Well,
cross marsh anyway. Shortly after we started slogging through the cord
grass, we developed the "butt" rule. If the guy in the back lost sight of
the butt of the guy in front when he, the guy in front, hit a deep spot the
guy in back was well advised to try a different route. Not a perfect axiom,
but a workable one.
One would think that the further you went from open water into this marsh,
the drier it would get. Since this was clearly a concave marsh, that theory
didn't hold water. Or maybe it did, since the closer we got to the
intersection of 38º N and 76º W the wetter and deeper the water holes. It
will be to our eternal dismay that at 37º 59' 48" N and 76º 0' 04", (see
Picture 1) we decided we were about as "there" as we were going to get.
What convinced us of that was the 15-foot body of water in Picture 2.
Perhaps younger, more stalwart souls would have continued on, but we’d
already been "schlepping" through this stuff for a coupla hundred yards. We
also were a little concerned about an ebbing tide and a grounded boat. We
also agree with Mr. Fender that it all looks the same.