Upper Gunpowder strainer report
Submitted by Bryan MacKay on 30/Apr/2019
Strainer Report: Upper Gunpowder River, Masemore Road to Monkton.
Date: Monday, April 29, 2019 Level: 150 cfs
Executive Summary: 3 mandatory portages, 2 strainers lined around
Strainer #1: about 150 yards below Masemore Road. Riverwide single tree, two feet in diameter, mostly but not all above water level. Short carry on right past the root ball. Minor problem, obvious easy portage.
Strainer #2: about 150 yards above Bunker Hill Road, at a bend, adjacent to the youth group campsite. Riverwide tree, partly in and partly out of the water. Landed on a gravel bar, river right, just above the strainer, used a rope to line canoes through a few branches on river right. Minor work with a saw would make this runnable by experienced paddlers (with care), but even then could be problematic for beginners as most of the current goes left.
Strainer #3: About 100 yards above Big Falls Road. Riverwide logjam, multiple large trunks choked with extensive debris. Mandatory portage. This is not going anywhere anytime soon, at least not without dynamite. Easy to see from upstream, slow current, but riverbanks are almost vertical and about 6 feet high, making getting up to and down from the portage trail difficult. Portage right.
Strainer #4: About 200 yards below Big Falls Road and about 50 yards below the end of the “Quarry” rapids. Riverwide tree with some additional debris. Tiny opening on river left, reachable only by dragging your boat over shallow rocks. The fast current goes directly into the strainer, so use care here.
Strainer #5: About 200 yards below Strainer #4 and about 200 yards above Blue Mount Road. Riverwide tree, mandatory portage. Good portage trail on river right, but getting up to it and down from it is over ten foot high nearly vertical banks. Portage distance about 100 yards (made more enjoyable by the discovery of morel mushrooms!)
Rest of the river has some down trees spanning only part of the river, and occasional stumps, boulders, etc. Experienced paddlers should have no trouble, but novices might get flipped in some of these places. No difficulties from Blue Mount Road to Monkton Road.