All Things Kayaking

Moses and the Monster on Broad Creek

Broad Creek is one of our go to kayaking locations but what a treat to be invited on the inaugural history kayak trip sponsored by Delmarva Birding Weekends, Harriet Tubman Tours and Quest Kayaks; “Moses and the Monster“. This is a wonderful opportunity for those without their own kayaks as Quest Kayaks now rents kayaks on the Broad Creek in Laurel, DE.

Our destination was the town of Bethel 3 miles downstream from Laurel. Resulting in a six mile round trip paddle it’s doable for kayakers with some experience. The round trip, including stops for stories, took about 4 hours. Luckily there was a slight breeze on this 90 degree day with some haze from wildfires out west. Be sure and bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

As Laurel, DE works to pitch themselves as a paddling trail town, the new kayak launch is a convenient starting point for this trip and also the location of the Quest Kayak rentals.

A railroad bridge, visible in the photo above, was the location of a crash in 1904 where a train engine fell off the bridge onto a schooner. A photographer happened to be nearby and this marvelous photo exists showing the accident. Shortly after Jim Rapp of Delmarva Birding Weekends finished this story a freight train passed over the bridge. Certainly puts history in a new light. This was the first of several fascinating historical stories we heard on our paddle.

Schooner Golden Gate barely visible underneath locomotive, Laurel Delaware, 1904. Photograph: Albert H. Waller.

While taking a break in the shade Jim shared the story of Patty Cannon. We have seen a sign for her house outside Seaford, DE but knew nothing else about Patty. She is the monster in “Moses and the Monster. (While Jim was telling this story I was busy watching a red headed woodpecker climb the tree behind him.) To find out more about Patty Cannon you’ll need to join this tour.

Throughout the tour, Alex Green, of Harriet Tubman Tours, discussed slavery in the DELMARVA area and how it differed from slavery in the south. He also shared the recent exciting discovery of the location of the home of Harriet’s father in Blackwater Wildlife refuge.

We always enjoy great birding on Broad Creek and this trip was no exception. Several Bald Eagles flew from the trees, an osprey put in an appearance, green herons were spotted several times and right before Bethel a flock of purple martins were clumped together in the tree tops. Jim shared it is very close to time for them to migrate and they begin to clump together in flocks preparing to migrate.

Sponsors of this effort to highlight Broad Creek on kayak trips, and the kayak launch on Broad Creek, include the Laurel Redevelopment Corporation, Delaware Sea Grant, Quest Kayaks and Delmarva Birding Weekends.

Put in location is the kayak launch ramp just upstream of Roger C. Fisher Park in Laurel, DE. There is a floating ramp, but no restrooms at this location. We normally put in at Roger C. Fisher Park where there is a boat ramp and restrooms.

Even when you’ve kayaked a location many times there is so much to learn and the historical knowledge we picked up on this trip was fascinating. We highly recommend this kayaking trip and any of the trips conducted by Delaware Birding Weekends and Harriet Tubman Tours.

2 replies »

  1. Bethel is an old ship building town although nothing remains from those days. It’s about 3 miles downstream from Laurel making a good turn around point. From Laurel to Bethel Broad Creek is mainly wooded shoreline and bald eagles are common. Below Bethel it’s another 3 miles to Phillips Landing and the Nanticoke River. The lower part of Broad Creek is wider and more open. At low tide wading birds can be seen on the mud flat.

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