Northeast Creek - below covered bridge on Route 272


Northeast Creek, Maryland, US

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below covered bridge on Route 272

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)
Length 4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 70 fpm
Max Gradient 120 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
BIG ELK CREEK AT ELK MILLS, MD
usgs-01495000 400 - 5000 cfs V 02h08m 42 cfs (too low)


River Description

Walt Shank says:

There is one section below a covered bridge on Route 272 just north of I-95 that is most definitely the sickest thing in Maryland that I know of. It has been reported that Eric Nelson has run this and suffered some pain in doing so. I plan on getting out there next weekend to get some low-water pictures and a scout for a description.

The 120 ft/mi max gradient may not seem like much, but it's concentrated in the first quarter mile or so. It gets significantly flatter after that. Lat/longitude coords of the takeout are a SWAG.

Jay Seiler 2005-05-23 19:02:33
This creek is indeed sik. There is a gauge on Lum road off of 272 S below 95. We ran every drop at a little above 2.2. By every drop I mean "The Really Long Continuous 6 Step Rapid". The run begins(at the level we did it)on the right with some scrapey meandering slot moves for about 50 yards. Then you come to the first drop and the start of the steeper gradient. You know you are there when you see a pretty intimidating horizon line. I recommend scouting the entire steep part of the run, which is about 100 yards, before going any further. The easiest scout is on the right side-which is loaded with poison ivy and slippery rocks. You can also scout on the left from a big green pipe which runs along the creek-also loaded with poison ivy and not as good of a scout. There is a very good possibility once you run the first drop you will end up running the rest. Know what’s there before going any further.

We have heard this first rapid may be named Mushroom- but we felt like it was more of a "Hitting the Wall" type rapid. You approach the drop by peeling out of the river right eddy above and drive left and climb up over the "wall" which is a large rock in the middle of the right channel where most of the water goes and ramps up on top of the rock and falls off the left side about a 5 foot drop. You want to boof off hard and land with right angle because behind it on the left is a manky looking sieve where obviously the better line is right. Here you bump down a 10 foot sloping slide and try to grab the eddy on the left-Left to Right to Left and set up for the gnarliest drop on the run. We named it "GO RIGHT!" You want to drive right out of the eddy on the left and paddle hard using the main flow to drive you up on the rock on the right. The idea is to stay as far away as possible from the left. There is a huge room of doom with a nasty undercut rock in the middle of the creek to the right of the room. This boof is similar to a National Falls except with serious landing issues. You set up the boof to the right of a F**k me rock at the top of the boof and boof right with a left stroke falling about 5-6 feet through a 60 degree sloping chute and land directly on top of a "willy nilly" piton rock. Meaning if you don’t boof this sucker and instead go off "willy nilly" your gonna piton and hit the deck and probably run the following 3 foot ledge upside down into the eddy above the next drop which we named, Eenie Meanie Miney Mo. This drop is one of the coolest boofs on the run. In fact we ran this boof first before we tested the "The Wall" and "Go Right". This drop is characterized by a huge rock in the middle giving you two 4 foot slot boofs on either side. Which after doing an Eenie Meanie Miney Mo- we chose the left. The left side had more water going over it, and really reminded me of the first drop on the N. Fork of the Blackwater-but smaller. I can imagine at higher flows the hole on this side can get pretty sticky-especially with the rock that creates the drop being extremely back cut. You boof left here and bounce down a 10 foot 45 degree two step slide to the next drop, "Little Hammer". This reminded me of Hammer Factor on the Green but a little smaller. Run Right of Center and boof left off the flake rock half way down and land next to an undercut boulder. You can also sneak far left and bounce down a 15 foot long 45 degree slide. By now you have completed the majority of the gradient on the run and have come to a 3 foot boof which we named "My Little Friend". Boof left and pull a grab off that bad boy and bounce your way down through about 100 yards of boogie water to the powerhouse.

Take out on the left and hike back up the dirt road for another run. Keep in mind 2.2 is THE LOWEST possible level to do this creek. This is also a creek where a half-inch on the gauge makes a big difference. My guess is 2.4 would probably be an ideal level but will definitely be pushier. Use good judgement on this run. It will punish you if you take it for granted. Just remember Right to Left to Right to Left to Right to Left to Right and say "Hello to My little Friend" and Boof Left! got That?!? enjoy!
-Jared and Ricky 5/20/05


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-03-19 12:50:30

Rapid Descriptions

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User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 19 2016 (279 days ago)
Cagg1271 (153409)
Has anyone run this since? How is the rest below the V section?
October 1 2006 (3919 days ago)
Matt MuirDetails
Bob, you can get map links in most river pages (including this one) by looking in the right-hand
column. The maps are pretty bare-bones (usually just a TopoZone and a Tiger map), but you can use
them (especially the Tiger map) to zoom out and locate the sik run you're lookin fer.
February 2 2006 (4161 days ago)
Jay SeilerDetails
Its pretty easy to find on a Topo map. Roughly 30 minutes west of Wilmington DE. The gauge is right
on Lums rd. from 272 South just off 95, its labled on the map as a gauging station, we check the
level first and its a short drive up 272 north, maybe a mile or two from 95 to the put-in. You dont
have to go to the gauging station if you dont want because the run doesnt require a shuttle, but
its a good indicator of how much water you will have. I believe the covered bridge at the put-in is
to the right on 272 parallel to the road when 272 crosses North East creek. The drop is hard to see
from the road.
January 29 2006 (4165 days ago)
Robert FarmerDetails
Ok, but where is it?


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