Potomac River, USA - Frank Bevacqua
My waterbody is the Potomac River. Washington is kind of a hectic place. It’s very urban and when I get tired of chasing myself in circles I like to go white water kayaking in the Potomac River. It’s right there, it flows right through town but the part I like is just outside the Beltway. When you’re there, it’s amazing, it’s a completely different world. There’s a place called Mather Gorge which is a gorge with granite cliffs and several rare plants. When you’re paddling down there you really see nothing but the water flowing around you and the cliffs. Maybe some rock climbers on the side but that’s really it. It’s a very special place.
But you do have to check the gage before you go out because it can be quite an angry river. In fact this spring I’ve only gotten out one time because we’ve had record rainfall events in Maryland and the river’s been at flood stage and it’s quite dangerous to be out there, certainly above my skill level.
A lot of the cities on the east coast are located on what’s called the fall lines so that’s where the rivers drop off from the Piedmont down to the coastal plain and that’s was as far as the ships could sail up from the Atlantic. They’d stop there and these ports would appear, and then they were connected to the inland by other means. We have something called Great Falls, just outside Washington DC. Mather Gorge is just below Great Falls, it’s quite a spectacular waterfall. I don’t do anything too crazy, it was once considered unrunnable. People do paddle down Great Falls, I like to paddle upstream because it’s challenging to go with the flow and figure out where the eddies are and read the river and work your way up. You never get above your skill level that way because then you can just turn around and paddle back to where you came from. But it is, it’s a spectacular little very special corner of the world inside of the chaos of Washington DC.