17 October 2018
We had a fine run on the Patapsco through Ellicott City last Friday, Hollofield 634 to 618 cfs. The river has less slack water and a gentle push at this level. Doughnut Bend, just below the bridge in town, was much more interesting and Suicide was fluffy and well padded. It was harder to read but the holes were filled and paddling harder seemed to solve all problems. Thrilling. The mid 600s was an excellent level.
There are changes. A trib just above the takeout destroyed a bridge on River Road and created a large alluvial fan. More later. We shuttled on river right, 29 south to 103 east, left on Illchester Rd to the river. Parking was limited but this was an excellent route. It avoided the lights and traffic of Ellicott City although there was afternoon backup on Rt 29 north. This will be my regular route henceforth.
Bloede Dam removal continues. The work has cut a slot on river left which was a great looking chute with a big drop. Class 4 maybe. I hadn’t realized how close the dam is to the takeout bridge, a few hundred yards at most. The extra gradient might make the tail end of the run pretty exciting. The new alluvial fan constricts the river to one third of its former width and could be an interesting rapid.
A request. It seems time to change the name of Suicide rapid. I know it was an edgy name back in the day, but it is just a class 3 drop and the name itself is terrible. When someone we know and care about commits suicide it is a tragedy, a loss for all. This name is no longer cute or edgy, it’s just stupid and insensitive.