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Pickle20

Kayaking the Patapsco

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OK... any advice on buying a kayak? also, it doesn't seem like this is something that should be done alone, at least just starting out. i don't mind "swimming" even if it's cold, in fact i've been in that river in january one year (long story), but i don't like the idea of getting in some trouble out there by myself, at least until i start feeling more confident.

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OK... any advice on buying a kayak? also, it doesn't seem like this is something that should be done alone, at least just starting out. i don't mind "swimming" even if it's cold, in fact i've been in that river in january one year (long story), but i don't like the idea of getting in some trouble out there by myself, at least until i start feeling more confident.

 

You can find a nice little recreational kayak like the one listed below for a couple of hundred bucks. This particular model is now on sale at REI in Columbia for under $300. Recreational boats are great at nothing, but pretty good at most everything--from flatwater to moderate whitewater. Given that they tend to be pretty short (usually around 9 feet long, give or take a couple of inches) and wide (typically around 27 to 30 inches), these boats are quite stable and forgiving.

 

http://www.rei.com/product/813872/emotion-kayaks-glide-kayak

 

Agreed about paddling in groups. Besides, it's much easy to run a shuttle when you're not alone. :D And don't forget the proper safety equipment--PFD, spray skirt, and helmet (the latter two items for whitewater).

 

Let me know if you're ready to take the plunge, and I'll be happy to show you around. I literally grew up on the Patapsco (raised in Ellicott City), and I like to visit my oldest friend (that river) whenever the chance presents itself. You would be hard pressed to find a better way in which to spend an afternoon.

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For the first time since Simkins Dam was removed, a buddy and I kayaked the Patapsco segment from the Main Street bridge in Ellicott City to Gun Road in the Avalon section of Patapsco Valley SP. It's nice to see the river carve out its own path upriver of the old dam site, and what was once flatwater come to life. Wildlife sightings included an osprey overhead searching for lunch, and a beaver scurrying along the bank. My friend went into the drink after getting pinned against a fallen tree. After confirmation that he was safe, it made for a good laugh. At least for me.

 

God, I can't wait until Bloede Dam is removed one day. Who knows what whitewater may lie beneath that nearly 30 foot high river clot.

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a beaver scurrying along the bank. My friend went into the drink after getting pinned against a fallen tree. After confirmation that he was safe, it made for a good laugh. At least for me.

 

God, I can't wait until Bloede Dam is removed one day. Who knows what whitewater may lie beneath that nearly 40 foot high river clot.

 

I love scouting for toothless beaver! It can usually be spotted clinging to long straight poles, prowling for green papyrus leaves.

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Alienrace, myself, and a bunch of other friends kayaked on the Patapsco yesterday. The theme for the day was no more dams, as we put in at the old Union Dam site, and took out at Ilchester bridge, just downriver of the former Simkins Dam. The river has been transformed without these impediments, particularly Simkins and what had formerly amounted to a long stretch of flatwater above the dam.

 

Just wait until Bloede Dam comes down.

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Yeah, that was one of the best trips yet. Great fun had by all, including all of the carnage in Suicide, and the onlookers pointing their fingers at it.

 

I wonder if there are any pics of the river before Bloedes was built in that area? I also seem to remember reading once about an area called "Patapsco Falls" or "Falls of the Patapsco", and wondered if that might be what's lying beneath there. Doing the math which adds up to a descent of 100ft/mi, is Upper Yough numbers, so I suspect at the very least removing that dam will expose a massive natural feature that is at least class IV, and possibly class V. It will depend on how long the descent goes, if it's the full length of the backwater, then it might be runnable, if not, we might be talking about multiple 10 ft ledge drops that sane people would portage, and nuts, or unsuspecting tubers would run.

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http://www.patapscoheritagegreenway.org/history/HistPersp.html

 

 

Great Falls of the Patapsco

The Great Falls of the Patapsco was just up river from Elk Ridge Landing ( present day Elkridge ). The falls prevented further navigation up the Patapsco River when the Valley was first settled. Soil erosion from cultivation, mining and logging operations upstream buried the falls. A sign at the intersection of the Park entrance road and Gun Road in the Avalon/Orange Grove section of the Patapsco Valley State Park gives an approximate location to where the falls are believed to be buried.

 

Have any pools formed above the simkins area that might be good for fishing?

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http://www.patapscoheritagegreenway.org/history/HistPersp.html

 

 

Great Falls of the Patapsco

The Great Falls of the Patapsco was just up river from Elk Ridge Landing ( present day Elkridge ). The falls prevented further navigation up the Patapsco River when the Valley was first settled. Soil erosion from cultivation, mining and logging operations upstream buried the falls. A sign at the intersection of the Park entrance road and Gun Road in the Avalon/Orange Grove section of the Patapsco Valley State Park gives an approximate location to where the falls are believed to be buried.

 

Have any pools formed above the simkins area that might be good for fishing?

 

There might be eventually, but for now it's mostly very fast moving water. I imagine a few years of storms will change that.

 

As for the Great Falls of the Patapsco, I have reason to believe that information might be incorrect as to it's location. Reason being, the drop from Gun Road to tidewater is maybe 5-10 feet in total in more than a mile of river. Though, with siltation the tidewater line could have moved downriver, maybe it reached Gun Road at some point, maybe creating a 5 foot or so ledge drop there. I'd still think that what is behind Bloedes is signifigantly larger. That is where the river cuts through the high cliffs and Buzzard rock, etc. The land around Gun Road doesn't suggest much of a river drop at all really ever existed there. I could be wrong of course, but there is no doubt a huge rapid will be exposed when Bloedes is removed.

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There might be eventually, but for now it's mostly very fast moving water. I imagine a few years of storms will change that.

 

As for the Great Falls of the Patapsco, I have reason to believe that information might be incorrect as to it's location. Reason being, the drop from Gun Road to tidewater is maybe 5-10 feet in total in more than a mile of river. Though, with siltation the tidewater line could have moved downriver, maybe it reached Gun Road at some point, maybe creating a 5 foot or so ledge drop there. I'd still think that what is behind Bloedes is signifigantly larger. That is where the river cuts through the high cliffs and Buzzard rock, etc. The land around Gun Road doesn't suggest much of a river drop at all really ever existed there. I could be wrong of course, but there is no doubt a huge rapid will be exposed when Bloedes is removed.

 

Once Bloede's is removed the river is going to go through a drastic change. From the Tunnel bridge to the bottom of the dam is going to be quite a quick drop. I wonder if they finished the study on removing it?

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Once Bloede's is removed the river is going to go through a drastic change. From the Tunnel bridge to the bottom of the dam is going to be quite a quick drop. I wonder if they finished the study on removing it?

 

I think the study is in progress, Bruce might know more.

 

I did some research last night, apparently "Great Falls of the Patapsco" may have referred to the entire freshwater portion of the river, but it's unclear. There was also a "Great Falls of the Gunpowder" reference or two which also seemed to indicate the freshwater portion of that river as well. I was finding this on land deeds from the 1800's. I.e, descriptions like "250 acres along the Great Falls of the Patapsco", etc.

 

But yeah, the drop from the bridge to the bottom of the dam is going to be 26.5 feet over a 1500 foot stretch. That's upper Yough type numbers. It could be a paddlers delight, or a nightmare, lol.

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Even though the river was quite low (only about 50 CFS worth of flow at the time), a buddy and I kayaked from Woodstock down to the Old Frederick Road bridge this past Saturday. Certainly plenty of scraping, but only had to take out twice due to shallow water. And perhaps due to the unlikely paddling circumstances, there was hardly another soul to be seen on the Patapsco. Osprey and heron were in abundance, and the water temperature was quite nice.

 

Another nice and peaceful day on the river.

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Wait until this weekend!

 

http://weblogs.marylandweather.com/2011/08/hurricane_irene_poised_for_swe.html

 

"For three days now, it has been portending a significant heavy rain event for the Mid Atlantic, and wind/high surf along the Eastern Shore. The track, heavy rain footprint and slow speed of the storm through the Mid Atlantic continues to look very Agnes (1972)-like."

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A buddy and I kayaked along the lower portion of the Patapsco this past weekend, from the Main Street bridge in Ellicott City down to the Gun Road bridge in Avalon/Elkridge.

 

How was it? Water levels high enough?

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How was it? Water levels high enough?

 

It was quite nice; the water wasn't as cold as I would have imagined. The water level was fine; there was some scraping, but I didn't need to do any portaging aside from the obvious (Bloede Dam).

 

And speaking of water level, as evidenced by the new debris along the river banks as well as entangled in the surrounding tree branches, it was amazing how high the river had been at its crest. To put things in perspective, a normal/kakaking flow is 175 cfs. There was a point, and I don't believe it was the high point, that the Patapsco was over 1,100 cfs. That's a helluva lot of water.

 

Thankfully (and thanks to some volunteers), it looks like most of the newly planted saplings along the old Simkins Dam site survived the flooding.

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next time we have a rain event like that i'm going to make a point to walk down to the daniels area to see the water level. i missed out on this last one, but yesterday down there you could see how high the water was... pretty shocking sight to see. now it's almost back to normal late summer levels.

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Bruce, actually at the crest point, it was 16,000 cfs!

 

Btw, here is a video of running it at 1500 cfs, I didn't make the video though. It shows some of the river around the Ellicott City area.

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Bruce, actually at the crest point, it was 16,000 cfs!

 

Btw, here is a video of running it at 1500 cfs, I didn't make the video though. It shows some of the river around the Ellicott City area.

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Bruce, actually at the crest point, it was 16,000 cfs!

 

Btw, here is a video of running it at 1500 cfs, I didn't make the video though. It shows some of the river around the Ellicott City area.

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