Blackwater Refuge to Hoopers Island


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This was a really nice road trip. A little over-cast but nice. The first time we visited BWR a couple years ago, we followed the not too smart, smart phone that directed us to the middle of a swamp and then to Crappo. Another time we traveled to Cambridge and then south to the Refuge. This time we decided to take the scenic back roads. I saw on a map that there were a couple kayak put-in spots so we thought we’d check them out.

We took Rte 50 to Vienna and headed south on Rte 192. On the map was Bestpitch Ferry Rd., showing a launch. What wasn’t on the map was this sign:

When you see a “Bridge Closed” sign, you should heed it! Na! We thought this was the bridge they were talking about. It wasn’t.

Electric wire fishermen.

The road started to get a little hairy and we could see where it had been washed out in places. Then we came upon this.

On the other side of the barrier a wood, one lane bridge. Looks alright to me.

The kayak launch site is across the river, to the left. In the photo below it looks like a launch that has flooded out over the years.

Time to turn around. Bridge blocked, road falling apart and now a fire.

We make it thru the danger and head back to Decoursey Bridge Rd to Bucktown. On the way we came across this little, unafraid of the truck fellow.

Glad we had the detour. Some nice places to visit.

Harriet Tubman Underground Rail Road.

The Brodess Farm is where it was said HT was born. Other accounts say her mother and herself were brought (bought) here after she was born.

There is no trace of the original farm house, although this one is there. Private property, keep out.

Heading down Greenbriar Rd to Maple Dam Rd, we came across this house. It was unmarked but looking at a couple history pamphlets, we found that this was the Nause-Waiwash Longhouse. It was an abandoned church before the Indians took it over. It looks a lot nicer in the brochure.

Moving along towards the refuge, we spot our first of many eagles. (We lost count at 9-10).

This guy was hanging out on the way to the visitor center.

Kathy checking out the displays.

We leave the visitor center and head to the main entrance of the Wildlife Drive. Stopping to eat lunch at the observation deck. On the left of the road there is the Marsh Edge Trail and that was closed due to nesting eagles.

Here are some shots from the refuge.

One of Kathy’s pics. Nice!
I see you!
Me and my shadow
Another nice Kathy pic!

Leaving the refuge it was time to head to Hoopers Island. Rte 335. Heading down Hoopers Island road we came across this church. Originally the “Tubman Chapel”, it moved across the street. St. Mary Star of the Sea.

First bridge onto the islands is at Tyler Cove, Fishing Creek.

Taken from boat ramp.

Another historical marker.

And another General Store

Behind here is a cemetery, which brings me to WHY we wanted to visit Hoopers Island. We want to see all this before it is completely submerged. There is a great video on the sinking of this island. You should watch it – High Tide in Dorchester –

Lots of fishing and sea life down here. Hard to believe it was mostly farms at one tome.

We headed south to the middle island. There are 3 islands, probably more at one time.

Roads flood in high tides and storms
Fishermen returning

Pulled off the side to see what we could see – some sea glass, shells and debris.

Looks like 3 adults and one juvenile. Even with a 300mm lens, they were too far off.

Adult brought food to him.

Our map. the lower island has no access.

Great day and so grateful that Kathy likes going on these eight hour adventures with me. For too long I did all this kind of stuff by myself.

Paul Leifer Trail


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In my last blog, First Hike 2020, I spoke of looking for the Paul Leifer Trail at Furnace Town and how we thought the only access was from the gift shop, which closed in October. Well I sent an email to Furnace Town asking about access to the trail and they told us to go through the gate and then head to the trail, so we did.

Through the gate and head to the right, where you will see the Iron Furnace. Go to the left and there is an information board with a map and cautions that the boardwalks are very slippery.

Some interesting signage and some not so interesting!

The boardwalks were not only very slick, some were falling apart.

Molly didn’t mind and she did a lot better on this hike.

Some of the sights along our hike. It was very quiet here.

A favorite sight of mine!
2nd Geocache in as many weeks.

Heading back out after about 1-1/2 hour hike. A couple shots in the ‘town’.

Wedding arch? Or sacrificial temple at the top?
Nice pic from Kathy.

Our hike, via All trails: Under a mile but very adventurous!

But the best sign was this one…

Life is full of next bends!! Thanks God for pointing the way to each and every bend, not that I am always paying attention to where you are pointing…

First Hike 2020


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I hope our first hike of 2020 is not indicative of the rest of our hikes this year. This was a very non-descript hike – just a short path through the woods near Furnace Town. We were hoping to do the Paul Leifer Trail but you need to go through the Furnace Town gift shop/museum to access it. That closed on October 31st!

To access the trail we hiked, we headed down Millville Rd to an opening in the woods. The trail was marked with these little signs. Quite a few scattered every 20 yards or so.

We saw some water down the hill, away from the trail so we headed for it.

Part of the Cypress swamp.

This was probably the first hike that Molly struggled to keep up. She will be 15 soon and has not been feeling well. When I first started hiking with Kathy and Molly about 4-1/2 years ago, Molly could do 6-8 miles without any problem. Now, not so much. We end up carrying her for a good portion.

Up over the hill was this.

When deer attack!

A little green on a drab day.

So the trail heads into the woods, just this side of the canal and then back up to Millville Rd and puts you on the road for a bit.

On the map below, to the east of the yellow line is where we should have been but couldn’t. But that is ok. Any day you can get a hike in, short or long, picturesque or drab, flat or hilly, rain or shine – it is all good. We can’t think of a better way to start the new year!!

Last Hike 2019


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It was a beautiful day Saturday, December 28, 2019 and there is nothing better than taking a hike on a beautiful day. If we had known it was going to be as warm as it was, maybe we could have went kayaking instead! Next time. We have a lot of favorite hikes that we do, but sometimes we look for new places. Although we have been to the Assateague area many times, we saw a spot on the map we never have been to – Rackliffe House and trail:

This historic site is behind the visitor center. There are 2 trails that lead there. We chose the wooded one instead of the asphalt.

Across from where Kathy is sitting is a path to Sinepuxent Bay with the Verrazano Bridge in the distance.

A very short beach hike.

Kathy pic
Kathy pic

Leaving the beach we head towards the house, passing the golf course.

Nice tree tunnel

This Geo-cache was hanging in plain site. At first I thought it was a wildlife camera.

Always nice to have a choice in the paths we take in life.

Historic house – from their website:

Rackliffe House, a 1740s merchant-planter’s home overlooking Assateague Island and scenic Sinepuxent Bay. Rackliffe House was constructed in the 1740s by Captain Charles Rackliffe, the merchant-planter grandson of one of the earliest English immigrants to Maryland’s seaside. The large two-story, three-bay Manor House features Flemish bond brickwork with random glazed headers, a steeply pitched gabled roof with kicked eaves, and large windows. Captain Rackliffe intended the house to be seen across the water. He built it on a prominent ridge atop a man-made terrace with expansive views of the water and island.

In its time, Rackliffe House has witnessed marauding Spanish galleons, Barbary pirate ships, and English men-of-war. The house has stood through the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Today, thanks to the restoration efforts of the Rackliffe House Trust and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, historic Rackliffe House now serves as a coastal museum that interprets 18th-century life along Maryland’s seaside.

View through the house

The second part of the loop includes a pond and a stream

Brave Molly stepped over Kathy’s feet to cross over

I thought all the bugs died off during the last freeze. Termites.

We leave the visitors center and the Rackliffe Loop and head over to the ocean. Always a favorite. And again we sought out an area we have never hiked. North of the Youth Group Areas. We hiked behind the sand dune and saw this. Who they keeping out or in?

Rounding the corner to the beach.

Kathy pic

The beach with not a lot of shells, just this small group;

Getting ready for the new year.

Not that we run around nude on the beach a lot, but this sign makes you wonder! Kathy says this use to be an unauthorized nude beach many years ago.

Beautiful day, beautiful hike and beautiful beach! Thanks God for another beauty!

Saxis, Virginia


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A Facebook group I follow shares information concerning Chincoteague and the surrounding areas. The other day the topic of ‘sea glass’ came up. Kathy and I very rarely find any sea glass while walking the beaches of Assateague. A couple people suggested that the best place to find any is at Saxis Island, which is about 20 miles west of Chincoteague, facing the Pocomoke Sound. So off we went.

On Route 13, right at the Maryland-Virginia border we came across this while getting gas.

As the plaque states, it is a 1/6th scale of the Union Merrimac aka the C.S.S. Virginia.

Before going into Saxis itself, a person on the Chincoteague page suggested turning onto Mathews Rd., following that to the end where a beach is. We found this fixer-upper at the turn-off. $39,000 for a 2 bedroom waterfront lot. I looked inside and there is a 240v breaker box.

If I still drank, these unopened beers would have been in my car.

At the end of Matthews Rd we found the beach. A small beach and of course it was high tide.

Molly has no respect for signs like these – when she has to go, she goes.

Walked thru the seagrass to get to another section of the beach. Found a few pieces of sea glass.

Save the sea turtles.

After roaming around here a bit we headed to Dennis Drive. On the right are some homes, on the left is a huge mound. Looks like a covered over landfill.

Looking back towards Saxis.

Reaching the beach there are three discharge pipes that appear to be coming from the mound. The one behind Kathy is above water. In front of her partially submerged and off in the distance, fully submerged.

They kind of remind me of the outfalls at Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant.

We did find a bunch of glass but as to whether or not it is real sea glass is debatable. Kathy brought up an interesting point – if the mound was at one time a landfill and being from the Eastern Shore, she told me that years ago people would just ride to the ends of streets like these and dump their household trash. So, possibly after a county cleanup of the area and getting people to stop dumping, the glass we found may be no more than someones trash. (But isn’t that what all sea glass is??)

Museum was closed. No one to ask there.

Headed to the end of Saxis Rd. to see what was there. This was interesting. Cement and sea shells.

Minding his own business

They say Martha’s is a great place to eat.

Not too sure about this place.

Love these little libraries.

Took a different route back to 13 and found this school.

Temperanceville High School, erected 1921

Since we were out and about, we thought we would revisit Greenbackville to look for oyster shells.

Shells everywhere. Molly not too happy to walk on them.

Mr Rays (You need to be from Baltimore to get it!)

From there to George’s Island Landing.

More high tide

Parker Bay Rd. is the one we took to the oyster house last time. Not today though.

The road out, flooded.

Nice day to be alive and in God’s Country. Thanks God.

Toadvine Cemetery



Lots of “First time doing this” since moving to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Merrill asked me to help him cut the grass in a small cemetery in the middle of a cornfield. Of course we had to wait for the farmer to cut down the corn before we did this.

I like old cemeteries and the history they represent. The older the dates, the better. This one has a historic informational plaque on it.

The oldest headstone that I found was from 1860.

I could never be a genealogist – too many of the same names for me. There are two different Polly’s here.

Not to mention, Elijah had a ‘Consort’? Her name was Esther.

And then I see this, which at first I laughed at (Who names their kid POT?) Hey, it looked like a kid sized marker to me! It appears to be another marker for Polly O?

Here is some info I found on the internet concerning this cemetery. Wicomico County list every cemetery within its border. 22 pages worth. A lot of them belong to families and businesses.


This cemetery is on the north side of Union Church Road about half-way in between its intersection with Jackson Road and that with Oakland School Road and about 200 yards away from the road in a field. It is nicely kept and in good shape and can be seen in Nutters District near the house of W.W. Toadvine on the 1877 maps. The transcription was provided by our friend Mike Hitch. Thanks, Mike!

Polly O. Toadvine
wife of Elijah Toadvine

Elijah Toadvine
Jun 16 1800
Jul 1 1873

consort of Elijah Toadvine
May 13 1800
May 9 1863

Peter McDaniel
Feb 26 1851
Feb 3 1924

Esther C. McDaniel
Oct 12 1861
Jul 9 1900

McGrath (one stone w/3 names as follows)
Thomas 1826-1890
Polly Toadvine 1828-1884
Elijah W. son of Thomas and Polly 1851-1931

James Toadvine
Jun 21 1829
Sep 28 1887

Rachel Jane Toadvine
Nov 16 1831
Aug 2 1899

Joseph Toadvine
son of James and Rachel Toadvine
died 1901, age 29 years

Cape Lookout


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While at Indian Beach, North Carolina, we decided to visit the Cape Lookout National Park. To get there we needed to catch the ferry from Harkers Island. They have a nice visitors center there. A few blocks away is/was a museum, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum. It is still closed from the storm of a year ago.

Visitor Center, anchor from ship that sank in 1902
Beach artifacts

it was about a 4-1/2 mile ferry ride, making one stop at Shackleford Banks. People like to stop there and look at the 100+ wild horses on the island. Kathy and I visited the western end of this island back in June. Nice trip. Didn’t see any horses though.

Pelicans doing pelican stuff.
One of the shy horses

Arrived at our destination and stopped at the Keepers House first.

We missed being able to climb up to the top by about a month.

Black diamonds face north and south. White, east and west.. So, not only does the light shine 24/7, you can also get your bearings by the diamonds.
Random black and white

Instead of taking the boardwalk to the ocean, we took a service road.

The ocean. Too many people before us so the pickings were slim for seashells.

So, Kathy decides instead of us walking back up the beach, we should cut across to the bay side. “Are you sure?” “Yes” Ok!

Sand first…
…and then all marsh.

Not just a marsh but also a bunch of inlets of rushing water. I didn’t know we were doing this kind of hike or I would have worn my water shoes and not my Tevas!

Spooked this guy
The lighthouse looks far away
Looking back from where we came from. It was actually a nice hike.
Finally to the beach
Unknown structure
Getting closer
And so we rest
Back to the dock
Random camera colorization of image. It does this sometimes.
The ferry coming to drop off people and pick us up.
The map of our trip

Although I was only at the beach for about 4 days, it was so nice to get away! Ha! Get away from what??!! Kathy and I always go to the beach! A wonderful trip. Thanks Gail and John.

Fishing Off Tangier Sound


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Whoa! Who the heck gets up at 4:30am to go fishing!? Apparently I do now! But before I tell you about this great day of fishing, let me give you a little back story…

The last time I ate fish was April 20, 1993. That was the day my daughter Jules was born. Best day of my life and I thought it was going to be my last. Hungry and tired after a long day, with both her mother and Jules resting, I went to the cafeteria and ordered fish. I never eat fish in hospital cafeterias, but I did that night. After a few bites I started choking on a bone, got up and ran to the nurses station and struggling to say, “Fish! Bone! Choking!” Well, she got the gist of it, reached over to a used dinner tray on a cart and handed me a piece of someone’s dinner roll and said, “Here, eat this!” And I did and the bone slid down my throat. I swore off eating fish that night and haven’t had any since, until a couple weeks ago. A friend of Kathy’s had some trigger fish and her and Kathy’s family persuaded me to try some. Did so and I really enjoyed it. So now I am headed to be the great fisherman of the Eastern Shore!! Ha!!

Back to the story at hand – Up early and headed to Deal Island, Wenona for a fishing excursion. Started in the dark.

Our Boat The Lady Katy

The moon setting and the sun coming up over Fairmount.

1st cast of the day (Kathy photo)

I forget who tried to catch this huge skate – Gail? Well, he took everything when he was cut loose.

Gail did good, catching quite a few trout. but Kathy out did us all with her 19-1/2″ Rockfish.

Kathy, a rock and a Captain

I didn’t do too bad. The Captain kept coming over to give me some pointers (Damn City people!) He told me, “You’re doing pretty good – almost.” WTH! No, actually the Captain was very helpful. He kept re-baiting our lines and then removing the fish for us. Half the time he would unhook the fish and throw it back over the side. “Hey, I wanted him…” He was trying to make sure we had good sized fish for our limit.

Me and my trout

After a few hours out there, somewhere between Crisfield and Smith Island, it was time to head back.

Our catch for the day: 1 rock fish, a few Trout and 3 Spots. We caught a bunch of Spots and most of those were used for bait. Also caught a couple Oyster Toad fish and Croakers, which do make a croaking noise.

Time for cleaning.

Kathy’s mom asked what I was doing? I was supervising!

Great day with great family!

Trap Pond State Park 9/11/2019


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First off, I would like to thank the team @KayakingDelmarva for writing and documenting their trips/adventures to places I had no idea about. Because of them, Kathy and I have been able to follow their paths on our own adventures. Thank you!

I had previously written about Trap Pond a while ago when we were looking for a new place to hike, but because it was $8 to enter, we passed. Seems crazy to pay to go hiking. Kayaking and use of a boat launch is worth it though.

In the above photo is a yellow sign to the left:

The water was nasty looking and we did everything in our power not to touch it!

We followed the shore, passing the camping sites, into the first creek.

Dead end
Floating root system of lily-pads

Turned around and headed back along the shore, occasionally heading out into the open water, then back into the cypress.

Lots of turtles

Kathy took some nice pics of the flowers and nature, adorning her kayak.

And of course me photo-bombing her pics!

We then headed into another creek. A sign says this is Terrapin Branch. On Google maps it is noted as Thompson Branch. Lots of signs pointing you in the right direction.

Only became aware of this guy because of all the noise he was making.

Water still green back here

Various nests (or spy cameras?). Also odd markings on trees. Looks like scrapings from falling trees maybe?

Uh-oh! End of the road? A fallen tree in the way. There were a lot of trees down but for the most part, people had cut them out of the way.

My kayak will fit under, but I won’t.

So, I tried backing up and going full speed, to get my kayak to leap over it! No luck – just bounced off!

Time to turn around and go back.

He saw us first.
Turtle very still – “Please don’t look at me!”
“Are you looking at me?”
Cypress reflections

After about 4 hours out there, back to the launch. It will take quite a while to clean the kayaks off.

Nice pond to say the least!

Our path. Not really sure of the ending point only because I had no GPS signal. Very nice day. Thanks God for another great one!

Chincoteague 9-3-2019


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Kathy and I figured we would get at least a couple days of biking and hiking in before the weather took a turn for the worse (Hurricane Dorian). Chincoteague is always a favorite spot. First we biked over to the Bivalve Trail on the bay side.

Playing in storm drain
Kathy’s sister Gail’s bike. Kathy likes this one better.
Snails in high tide
Don’t tread on me.
Upside down in the grass. Grass cuts your legs up!
Reading Naturalist on the Nanticoke. Full chapter on these guys
Kathy’s photo of the Roy Orbison bug.
This was all dry last week.

Then we headed over to the ocean.

The female carries a male, digs a shallow hole for her eggs then tosses the male onto the eggs to do his thing. Then they go their separate ways. This group didn’t make it.
A bunch of trees with sea shell ornaments.

Packed up and headed through town to see if we could find a decoy carver’s shop. No luck but found this old house – Sign on left says: Capt. Timothy Hill House. Islands oldest home. 1800. Another sign says privately owned, visitors welcome.

Great day for the bike and beach.