MD - Foundry Bay - 2009/03/29 - 8 miles
An early spring Sunday starts out with fog and dripping rain. Skies clear in the afternoon for a nice paddle back to Havre de Grace from Foundry Bay.
This was my third paddle of the 2009 season. I got out on January first for a short cold paddle at very low tide at Mariner Point. The previous weekend I did a solo paddle at Dundee Creek. This time I had talked two friends into starting out on a cool foggy drippy morning. Two others had wimped out so it was just the three of us gathered at Jean S. Roberts park upstream of the Amtrak bridge in Havre de Grace. We launch on the single concrete ramp with a rubber kayak launch ramp to one side.
The high speed Acela passenger train roared overhead and hurtled into the fog. It disappeared well before reaching the half way point across the broad tidal mouth of the Susquehanna River. We were experiencing a drought this spring so there was very little current from spring rains pushing down the big river that drains half of Pennsylvania and New York. To the south of Havre de grace the river dumps out into a wide bay about 5 miles square. In the center the built up silt of the millennia have formed a large sand and gravel dome. At low tide, a good part of the center of this bay goes dry or is very shallow. Vast banks of underwater aquatic vegetation ring the more open center like a bald man's head.
We skirted along the north side of this done, in the channel that runs near the bank. On the bank is the open ground of the Perry Point Veterans hospital. At the far tip of the point is Perry Point park where you can hand launch your kayaks if you do not want to paddle across the busy channel up the Susquehanna. On the backside of Perry Point is a small shallow bay named Foundry Bay. At the top of the bay, a small bifurcated creek heads up into the woods. This is Principio creek.
On one side of the creek is an active quarry mining the quartz sand and gravel - the deposited remains of the once mighty Appalachian mountains, now brought down to the shores of this tidal river. The creeks winds up through heavy forest and is blocked just short of the site of Principio Foundry for which the creek and the bay are named.
The creek goes under the elevated track of Amtrak and the busy rail corridor sees several trains go by in the twenty minutes we are there. The massive tunnel that provides passage for the tiny creek is built for the worst flood. The big impressive stone work looks like the work of the depression era CCC. the large granite blocks fit seamlessly and show no sign of decay except for a little calcium seepage overhead. Nonetheless, I do not dawdle under the high portal.
Where the creek rejoins the bay, last years marsh reeds are laying on their sides with just a few seed stalk still holding last autumns high ground. The tide is high now so there is plenty of water for our visit. if you come at low tide you are likely to not be able to reach the creek as the bay is extremely shallow.
As we paddle along the west side of the bay along undeveloped shores,I spot a bald eagle sitting up in an overhanging tree. He waits long enough for me to get under him and leaps off his perch as I point my camera at him. He does not escape my camera as I get off three pictures of the mature bird. I did not see a mate.
In the last half hour the sky turned quite blue and a few unstable looking clouds rolled up from the west, suggesting that the possible thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon just might materialize. We arrived back at the ramp about five hours after we left on this nice, lazy eight mile paddle