help_outline Skip to main content

Trip Reports

Patpsco R, 25 July 320cfs
Author Last Post
There has been discussion this week about canoe zero on the Patapsco Hollofield gauge: 500, 200, 300, 150 cfs? What is the minimum and where is the sweet spot? It was agreed, even by the skeptics that today's volume of 320 at put in was a fine lower level. There was minor scraping in the rock gardens below the Rt 40 overpass but all rapids were padded if not fluffy.

This was a first time trip through the revived section of the river formerly smothered under Bloede Dam and Reservoir for all of us: Wayne, Cindy, Larry, Ed, Tony, and John. A few had walked the area last winter for a look but today was out first descent. The several hundred yards are class 1-2 whitewater, interesting and quirky but not difficult. Man-made whitewater has a different character than the real thing. There were lines of boulders and artificially graded banks. Big boulders are perched on top of the ground rather than bedded in, with no moss or lichens. There does seem to be enough stone in the river bed and lower banks that the flow of the river has material to work with to create a more natural watercourse over time. It was a huge thrill to paddle a "new" piece of whitewater so close to home, and even more exciting to realize that we had shared in an Ed Gertler first descent, a rare event indeed.  There is quite a bit of gradient here, for the Patapsco, so it will be interesting to see this stretch with a lot more water.

The take out for the extended paddle was in the Avalon Area of Patapsco Valley State Park just off Route 1.  The $ 2 per car and well worth it for a class 1 takeout on a gravel beach on river right. We saw a fine stone arch bridge, the Thomas Viaduct (1833-35, Benjamin Henry Latrobe II, still in use) near the park entrance. Note that we ended up in the park after finding that an old favorite take out at Route 1 has been blocked by a new guardrail.

The addition of the Bloede Dam section and the mile or two of fast water down to the park take out adds an hour or more to the traditional trip but was well worth it today. All paddled elegantly. Trip was rated 10/10.

John Snitzer
Return to Forum