MD - Northeast River - 2003/09/01 - 15.0 miles



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Northeast River marshes bloom with a riot of color in late August and early September. When summer's flowers are fading on land, the marsh comes alive with a dazzling display of shapes and colors.




In the Blooming Marsh




We were interested in a short, easy trip for a weekend day. Something in an area we had not been in much before. Julio had yet to paddle in the upper end of the Northeast River (see also my tour here last year), so we decided to do a tour there. We arrived in the Northeast community park about 9:00 and went to the far end to the canoe and kayak launch area. After unloading the boats we parked in the lot next to the playground. The water spigots at the picnic pavilions had been recently padlocked, so I filled my water bottles at the rest-room sink.

We headed south along the east shore of the river toward the north end of the Susquehanna flats. The widening tidal portion of Northeast River lay before us. The banks are fully developed with a mixture of single homes, marinas and condo complexes. We paddled up one side stream to discover a heavy concentration of blue-green algae floating on the water. In another creek we saw a heavy concentration of "land algae" in the form of spira. There were also flowering pickerel, arrowhead and hibiscus in a riot of marsh colors. We continued our paddle down to where the Northeast River opens out into the Susquehanna flats. The annual Northeast Regatta kayak race continues on from here to a buoy about 2 miles further down along the shore of Turkey Point. We cut across the river to the western bank and headed back upstream.




The western shore is also well developed with small cottages, marinas and condos. There is a small launch site here with parking for about six cars. Small cottages line the shore in the pleasant backwater sandy shore community which once was a very important port on the water trade route between Baltimore and Philadelphia. It also was important enough to attract the attention of the British in the war of 1812 during Cockburn's Raid on the northern Chesapeake Bay.

Further along the shore, the Amtrak railroad runs close to the banks and the trains are readily visible as they traverse the busy Washington to New York rail corridor. Interstate 95 runs parallel to the tracks just several miles away, the modern version of the vital artery that use to be a water route.






We paddled into a small creek that is accessible under the railroad through a rock lined tunnel. On the other side we were treated to a small marsh in which there were many flowers in bloom. Arrowhead, pickerel, hibiscus, and other typical marsh flowers provided a riot of yellow, white, red and pink colors in the shallow tidal marsh. The hibiscus here were spectacular. We spent almost an hour in this small area observing and photographing the flowers.






We paddled back to the Northeast Community park where we launched and then continues on up the Northeast River alongside the town of Northeast itself. We had thought the flower display in the other creek was good, but here it was even better. Banks of yellow daisies, lady slipper, stalks of purple flowers, large seed heads, banks of white clustered flowers, yellow asters, sprays of purple flowers and low lying white beaded flowers.






Everywhere there were hibiscus, their white bells splashed with red and purple centers. Delicate morning glories added their white with pink trim reflections to the still milk chocolate waters.






Even the ubiquitous pickerel, not to be outdone by the other showy flowers on the banks, sent its spire of blue-purple flowers above its shiny green leaves. We spent most of the afternoon lazily paddling up the small river until the shallow rocks of the creek stopped us just short of the first bridge on the north side of the town of Northeast. It was high tide and we had been able to get further up the creek than on my earlier visit to the river. We turned back to the park and loaded our boats back onto the cars for the return from a very pleasant day in the bloomin' marsh.


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