Sometimes all the planning in the world still leads to a terrible trip, and sometimes you just get lucky.
For the past few months, Tax and I had been planning to take our kid brothers on a camping trip since none of them had ever
received a lesson in manliness really spent any real time out in the woods. Unfortunately, sometimes life get’s in the way, and what was supposed to be a 5 man trip quickly turned into a 3 man “expedition”.
The plan was for us to load up our Kayaks and head out to the Savage River Reservoir in Garrett County, Maryland. So on a rainy and cold Saturday morning we loaded up the trucks and started out on our 3 hour haul. Needless to say the weather didn’t look promising and based on this, we’d set our expectations quite low for the rest of the weekend.
After driving through what seemed like 3 hours of a non-stop torrential downpour, we finally arrived at the Savage River State Forest and went to work finding a campsite. The Savage River State Forest has 70 primitive camp sites, and the adjacent Big Run State Forest has an addition 29 with group sites and family camp sites also available. For this trip we chose site 123 on Big Run Road in order to stay close to the reservoir and because we got tired of driving back and fourth down the road looking for a site.
One thing to keep in mind here is that all of the sites are very close to the road, but traffic during this time of year was pretty light, and we only saw a handful of other vehicles (most likely because we were the only idiots that wanted to tent camp in the rain). Also the sites here are huge, we saw numerous pop up trailers and 5th wheel campers, so if you’re looking for a place to get off the beaten path, look elsewhere. The good news is the sites are relatively spread apart, so you don’t have to worry about seeing/hearing your neighbors like you do at your typical National Park campground.
After setting up our tents and registering for our spots (they use self registration/honor system, pay the $10 bucks and don’t be a douche) we grabbed our gear and headed out for the reservoir; it was still raining. There are 2 boat ramps available for use, we chose the more northern one located at the intersection of Savage River Road and Dry Run Road (here’s the map if you want more details). Be aware that depending on water levels you will most possibly have to carry your kayaks down to the water, the boat ramp is also pretty rocky/rough in areas, and the mud can be dangerously soft.
The Savage River Reservoir is 360 acres of absolute bliss, and the big guy up in the sky must have been willing to cut us some slack because as soon as we hit the water, all the rain stopped and it started to warm up. With some good weather (finally) we headed out to the middle of the Reservoir to take in the sites. Immediately as we came to a halt, two bald eagles were kind enough to give us a low pass. As we watched them glide along the water, my only regret was leaving my American flag shorts and Bud Light back in the Jeep.
We spent the next 2 hours paddling around the reservoir, and we made a stop to check out a cool rock formation. Lucas also the took the opportunity to demonstrate his expert rock skipping skills, and in a reversal of stereotypes, Tax took photos while I clearly left my rock skipping game at home.
We headed back in as the rain started to come down again, and we spent the rest of the evening grilling some steaks and telling stories around the fire. Overall we were lucky to get a pause in the rain, and we had a great time out on the water. I highly recommend a visit if you’re a fisherman or you enjoy hitting the water in your canoe or kayak (sorry swimming is illegal here).
Next time we head out we’ll be sure to bring some fishing rods and hopefully the other 2 knuckleheads we call brothers will manage to show up.
Special thanks to Alex Tax for being brave enough to bring is camera out on the water to take some beautiful shots.