An On-line Journal of My Kayak Adventures in Eastern Virginia

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pitts Creek (Pocomoke River) - 6/22/14

     I first got the idea of paddling Pitts Creek from reading Andrea Nolan's book, Sea Kayaking Virginia. Pitts Creek is a tidal tributary of the Pocomoke River close to where the river meets the Chesapeake Bay. Towards its headwaters Pitts Creek becomes part of a freshwater swamp, and this transition from salt to fresh, and the subsequent change in plant communities, is what allured me. My put-in point was Pitts Landing on the Pocomoke River in the northern part of Accomack Co. on Virginia's Eastern Shore where it meets Maryland. The free public landing has a concrete ramp, a dock, a few parking spots, and no other amenities beyond these. From the ramp I headed straight out across the Pocomoke in a northeasterly direction towards the mouth of Pitts Creek on the south side of the river. A small copse of trees rising from the marsh marked the creek's entrance, and the first of several bald eagles encountered that day welcomed me.

Pitts Creek Landing

The Mouth of Pitts Creek

The Mouth of Pitts Creek
     For most of its length Pitts Creek winds through a salt marsh with occasional wooded shorelines. There are a few places where you can haul out to stretch your legs, but much of the land is private property. The creek has frequent twists and turns, so much so that it can be deceptive how far you are traveling. Looking at a map the distance doesn't seem so far, but if you could stretch the creek out, it might surprise you how long it is. It surprised me. I ended up paddling much further than I should have, forgetting my rule to always remember that on round-trip paddles you have to go back the same distance you have come. From the landing to the swamp, where I turned around because of fallen trees, was over 9 miles, making for an 18 mile trip, the longest I have ever paddled. Fortunately my timing was good as I rode the incoming tide upstream and had the outgoing tide on the way back to the landing.

Freshwater Swamp
     Besides bald eagles, I saw herons, egrets, gulls, and enjoyed the songs of marsh wrens and many red winged blackbirds. The plant geek in me was easily distracted by how the shoreline changed from spartina, loblolly and fragmites, to arrowhead, cattail, pickerel weed, and bald cypress. I was particularly thrilled to see still blooming swamp azaleas, plus swamp roses whose petals covered the water's surface in places like confetti. I am not sure what fish were in the water, but we startled each other as our paths crossed.

 Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Swamp Azalea (Rhododendron viscosum)

Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris)

Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)

View Pitts Creek 6-22-18 in a larger map

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! Beautiful! 'Don't suppress "the plant geek"....share what you know! 'Much appreciated!