Follow along as Alliance staff member, Laura Todd, paddles all 444 miles of the Main Branch of the Susquehanna River with her father, Mark. Starting in June 2022 in Cooperstown, New York, the pair will kayak down the river to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace, Maryland. This series will follow their journey over the next year as they paddle the longest river on the East Coast, sharing Susquehanna facts, photos, and reflections from the trip along the way. 

Map of the Susquehanna, Photo Credit: Kayak Maps PA

Getting Started 

In the summer of 2015, I worked as a kayak guide leading eco-tours on the Sinepuxent Bay off of Assateague Island on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. I loved being able to share my knowledge about the landscape of Maryland’s coastal bays and wildlife while spending time on the water.

My parents also have a special connection with the water and kayak regularly on the Wicomico, our hometown river. In December 2020, my dad mentioned that one day he would like to kayak the whole length of the Main Branch of the Susquehanna River. I eagerly volunteered to join him, and thus our planning began! We will complete our journey through a handful of trips over the next year.

Our first leg of the journey will take place in late June 2022. We will be paddling for six full days, aiming to kayak roughly 20 miles per day. We will arrive in Cooperstown the day before the trip to prepare our kayaks, organize our gear, and rest up for the days ahead. I’m looking forward to exploring the Susquehanna and developing a deeper connection with our watershed from the headwaters to the Bay. Check out our gear list below and tune in next month for photos and updates from the first trip! 

Picture of Laura and her Dad on their kayaks in the Wicomico River in Salisbury, MD.

Gear List 

  • Wilderness Systems Tsunami 160 Kayak – 16 feet long with rudder
  • Suspenz Smart Airless Kayak Cart
  • Two “J” racks for car transport
  • Paddles (and spare)
  • PFDs (with safety whistle)
  • Dry bags
  • Trash and ziploc bags
  • Compass
  • Innovative Lighting Portable LED Bow Light
  • Throw rope
  • Leatherman Multitool
  • Head lamps
  • Maps – We are using KayakMapsPA’s New York Susquehanna & Chemung Rivers Guide Book for the first trip
  • Float plan
  • 2L Water bladder
  • Life Straw
  • Water bottles
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen, tick and insect repellent
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Trowel and toilet paper
  • Binoculars for wildlife watching
  • Waterproof bluetooth speaker
  • GoPro with mount
  • Rite in the Rain notebook
  • Swimsuits
  • Wide-brim hat
  • Bandana
  • Columbia rain jacket
  • Tevas
  • Waterproof watch
  • Sunglasses with croakies