Northeast Creek, Maryland, US
below covered bridge on Route 272
||V (for normal flows)
BIG ELK CREEK AT ELK MILLS, MD
400 - 5000 cfs
Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.
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
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 whatÂs 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 donÂt 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
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Last Updated: 2009-03-19 12:50:30