Residents flock to more of Harford's waterfront spots as heat wave lingers

The temperature in Joppa was hovering around 90 degrees, with the heat index climbing into the upper 90s, but that did not stop Brian Miller, of Bel Air, from enjoying a kayak ride down the Gunpowder River from Route 40 to Mariner Point Park.

"There's really no way of beating the heat; it's just how you want to enjoy it," Miller observed as he disembarked from his kayak in a shady spot at Mariner Point.

Many area residents seemed to agree, as Harford County's southern beaches and boating areas stayed busy Sunday with people partaking in all kinds of activities on the water.

The mercury had dipped a little since Saturday, but the National Weather Service still called for heat indexes around 102 degrees for the waterfront areas of Joppatowne and Edgewood.

For Steve Walsh, of Baltimore, heat is just a fact of life in Central Maryland. He was on the water at Edgewood's Flying Point Park doing a more unusual sport: paddleboarding.

"It's a fun activity; it's peaceful," he said, adding he does not mind the heat.

"It's summer and it's Baltimore, and if you are expecting it to be Maine, you are living in the wrong part of the world," Walsh pointed out.

He said he lost power for four days after the storm last weekend and does not have central air conditioning, but Walsh seemed to take the heat and outages in stride, noting his neighborhood pool stayed open.

Walsh was also enjoying the trip to Flying Point.

"It's just a nice, calm, pleasant area," he said. "It's nice to catch a bald eagle occasionally."

Walsh had brought his daughter, Hannah, for her first time paddleboarding somewhere besides the ocean.

Unlike her father, she was less fond of the heat.

"He invited me out and I didn't really want to go because it was hot," Hannah Walsh said with a smile, but said she enjoyed the outing.

"It was nice. It's really peaceful," she said. "You can splash yourself if it's getting hot."

The Walshes seemed to be the only paddleboarders out in the mid-afternoon heat, but Flying Point Park was filled with people fishing, boating, jet-skiing and just swimming.

Valerie Dehaven, of Edgewood, was overseeing a group of relatives who were unloading a pair of jet skis.

She said the group comes to the water "every chance we get," and was not especially fazed by the heat.

"The heat doesn't bother me like it would most, but this definitely is a way to beat the heat," Dehaven said about jet-skiing.

"You will definitely get wet on one of these," she said. "This is just our first time out this year with them."

Chuck and Lona Thomas, also of Edgewood, were in their swimsuits on the beach at Flying Point, relaxing with their dog, Cashmere, who was also having fun getting wet.

Chuck Thomas said they had just discovered the beach recently.

"It's awesome," he said. "Last weekend is the first weekend we came, and we didn't have power."

"It's really nice, it's really quiet, [has] a lot of amenities," he continued, adding the water was pretty cold. "It's a really nice facility."

Lona Thomas explained they were looking specifically for a place to beat the heat.

"We were Googling for a beach," she said. "We just started driving down the side road [to the park]."

The hot weekend seemed to be a time for many firsts, at least for visitors to Mariner Point and Flying Point.

It was Michelle Colgin's first time on a new boat, which she was pulling in to shore along with her boyfriend, Frank Butindaro, and 6-year-old stepson, Jayden Butindaro.

"We just bought this boat," the Edgewood resident said, smiling. "We were out for a little bit."

Colgin does not "usually like the heat," but noted the water is a little cooler.

At Mariner Point Park, Karen Cope and Craig Williams, of Joppa, were just watching the kayakers floating down the river, but said they usually partook of the sport themselves.

"We have actually been kayaking every weekend," Cope said, adding they also just went to the beach at Cape Henlopen, in Delaware.

"It was very refreshing," she said about the trip to the ocean.

Williams agreed, saying they have also gone out on the Susquehanna River.

"Water is a big draw when it's hot out," he said, adding they were considering kayaking.

"We normally jump out, pull up to the bank and just cool off," he said.

Brian Miller, the kayaker from Bel Air, came with two other kayakers to the Gunpowder River who also seemed resigned to the hot days of summer.

Gwen Paul, of Riverside, said she had tried to relocate away from hot temperatures but had apparently failed.

"I moved here from Florida to get away from the heat but oh, well," Paul said.

She thought kayaking was "fun" and "good exercise," and said she had come to the area of Mariner Point Park a number of times.

Miller's grandmother, Le Garrett, also of Bel Air, said she moved to the area from North Carolina and did not have central air-conditioning.

"You just go from air-conditioning to air-conditioning," she said about her living situation.

Miller said the river does provide some relief.

"If you get hot, at least you got the open water," he said.

Garrett, however, thought the water itself was not too refreshing.

"It's not that cool," she said.

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