We had sunshine and we had warmth but not an over abundance of either. After the rain ended before the cold winds arrived we had a mellow paddle on Seneca Creek from Dawsonville on Rt 28 to Riley's Lock. Alf Cooley, Alan Gale, David Cottingham, Gus Anderson, John Snitzer were in four kayaks and a beautiful cedar strip canoe. Alan and Cotton were out on Seneca for their first time.
The creek was solid and steady at that level but not pushy. Seneca Creek is a class I stream and with neither gradient (6 ft/mile) nor boulders to engage higher water, it does not get appreciably more difficult at 500 cfs. We had a few rapids and Gus found surfing waves. Almost nowhere was it impossible to paddle back upstream against current. There are safety issues at this level: a more challenging put in at the Rt. 28 bridge, steep muddy banks everywhere, and log jams of which we had only one today. It was a class III carry up a six-foot vertical slippery muddy bank, beset by mf rose, and no good places to take out or put back in. We persevered. A massive sycamore that blocked the river completely four years ago diverted flow towards its own root plate and the creek has cut a wide new channel there.
There are beautiful rocky ridges along the lower stretch of the creek, mossy cliffs covered in hemlocks, mountain laurel, and ferns. The mosses and lichens seemed lit from within after the soaking rains. A touch of West Virginia, or Maine, right here in Montgomery County.
Dry Seneca Creek was bridge-scouted before the run at 11:30 and had runnable water but it would have been hard on the cedar strip canoe so we stuck with plans. Looked interesting. It was low runnable at 3:30, Dawsonville Gauge 457. I suggest sticking with 500 cfs on the main stem as canoe zero on Dry Seneca. It looked possible to put in off the Rt 107 bridge south of Poolesville.
Our 5.5 mile run took 2:15 hours.