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Kayaking & Canoeing




At the Park...

Mason Neck State Park rents kayaks and canoes daily (in warm weather) and offers guided trips on weekends.  In addition, the Park offers guided TWILIGHT kayaking and canoeing trips on the Friday and Saturday nearest the full moon.  Sign up early; often, the trips fill up. 


Here's a description from a recent kayaker:


Twilight at Mason Neck State Park


My evening at Mason Neck State Park was easily the most enjoyable time I have ever spent at the Park.  I arrived a little after 6 PM and walked the Bayview Trail.  In the course of 20 minutes, I saw an osprey carrying a fish, a bald eagle, two deer only a few feet away, swallows, two groundhogs, and a multitude of birds in the marsh.  I then helped lead a paddling trip up Kanes’ Creek.  Evening  is the most beautiful time to be on the water.  The Park’s guided evening canoe and kayak trip is slow and relaxed, focused on experiencing the beauty and peace of the area rather than speed or distance.  The breeze was gentle, and the river was so smooth that it reflected every cloud in the sky.  Wildlife is much more tolerant of people in the evening than it is during the rest of the day.  We passed within 100 feet of a bald eagle eating a fish on a fallen log.  We saw at least ten other eagles, dozens of herons and numerous osprey.


 As we neared the upper end of the creek, we came across a beaver swimming less than 40 yards away from us.  It promptly turned around, slapped the water with its tail, and dove.  On our return trip we were astonished to find that the beaver escorted us as we floated down the creek with the tide, nearly to the mouth of the creek.  It was sometimes ahead of us, sometimes behind, and sometimes off to our side.  From time to time, it would slap its tail and dive briefly, but it always surfaced promptly.

 

We ran into a swarm of lacewings – delicate, light-green insects with gossamer wings.  A half-dozen rested on each of our hats, giving us a slightly feathery look. 


We had music for most of our trip, too.  We heard the throaty groan of bullfrogs, the “gunk” of green frogs, the clicking of cricket frogs, and the raucous calls of green tree frogs and Cope’s gray tree frogs.  Sometimes everything was quiet, but then one frog would begin to call, and soon the air was filled with a chorus of thousands.   Two hours into the trip, a green tree frog, which evidently had hitchhiked on a canoe, revealed its presence by climbing up onto the yoke and singing its little heart out all the way back to the dock.  


When the sun went down in a blaze of peach-colored light, the light of the nearly-full moon lit our way home.   As I walked up the road from the launch site to retrieve my car, the trees were filled with flashing fireflies, I heard a barred owl calling in the distance, and I was at peace with the world. 



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