Today, I got out on the kayak for my second paddle of 2023. My first time out was a week ago Tuesday, when I launched from Homeport Farm Park and spent an hour or two paddling on Church Creek. I am always on the lookout for places to launch that are 20 or fewer minutes’ drive from home. Today, I tried one I hadn’t used before: Baltimore Rowing & Water Resource Center in Middle Branch Park. They have a floating dock where you can drop in on the Patapsco Middle Branch just west of the Hanover Street Bridge. There is a driveway leading right up to the dock, but it was gated shut when I arrived at 8:30am (and still gated when I took out at around 11am), so I parked in the lot a short distance away and wheeled the kayak to the dock. It wasn’t a long carry (maybe 200-300′ or so). The put-in was easy, with the surface of the dock floating at about the same height as my kayak.
I paddled just over 5 miles, starting out to the east, crossing under the Hanover Street Bridge, and hugging the shoreline past Harbor Hospital and then across towards Masonville Cove. Still sticking mostly to the shore, I continued past the dredging barge and crane, then around the MC “crab claw” and past the dock (still blanketed with goose poop, just like last year). I then headed over to visit Captain Trash Wheel, then along the western shore of MC, and back out across the water and back to the launch. It was a nice, pleasant paddle, with the temperatures in the 60s, calm winds, and smooth, glassy water. I saw one other kayaker out, as well as a couple of small fishing boats, and a whole bunch of folks fishing off the shoreline.
When I returned to the launch, there were several canoes out. I know that Baltimore Rec & Parks runs programs here, so I wondered if this was one of them. I took out uneventfully at the dock, and the canoes started heading back in as I was packing my stuff up to take back to the car.
This put-in worked pretty well, and seems like a nice alternative to putting in at Southwest Area Park (which has gotten a bit of a sketchy vibe to it over the past few years). I’ll probably launch here again. I noticed that there was another dock a few hundred feet to the east, that seemed to be popular with fishermen, and had what looked (from a distance) to be a dedicated kayak-specific put-in. I chose not to take out there, because there were more people there, and it looked like a longer carry to the car. However, I may investigate it further next time.