Stony Run

River of the month #102

author: Pat Reilly

Here we go featuring another local micro-stream. At least this one is neither a glorified drainage ditch nor a concrete urban channel, as some previous ROM columns. Rather it is a fine little run worthy of a local creek explorer's interest. I became interested in it many years ago when paddling partner Greg, Stubby, Stone told me about running it. However, Stubby made no mention of Stony's special feature so he no doubt paddled only the lower mile that is paralleled by country lanes.

For years, every time I paddled the Yellow Breeches past Stony Run's mouth at the first bridge downstream from Grantham, I would contemplate running it. On one such Breeches trip last summer I ran into another paddling friend that has run Stony. Bob Barrett, probably the friendliest guy you'll ever meet in a kayak (and one of the most active paddlers I know), teaches at Grantham's Messiah College and resides in town. When Bob talked of a steep rapid hidden in the woods south of Grantham, Stony Run suddenly moved to the top of my local stream hit list.

I didn't realize just how close to Stony Bob lived until I called him after some big rains to ask if he thought it was up. 'Wait a second and I'll walk outside and see', was his reply! So we got together for my first run of Stony Run and I was pleased to have the local creek expert as my guide. Seven Falls is what Bob calls the 'big' rapid. It is about ½ mile downstream of our put-in at the Siddonsburg Road bridge near Dillsburg. I say big but that is a relative term. How big can a rapid be on a creek with less than 15 square miles of watershed?

How big? That's exactly what I was pondering as I approached Seven Falls paddling ahead of Bob since I was the designated photographer. A few abrupt ledges of a foot or more had me on my toes when I saw the creek bed suddenly fall away next to a sheer little cliff. Whoa! Little Stony Run drops a good 5 or more feet over a stairstep series of ledges to make a fun rapid that you wouldn't expect in this neck of the woods. Pretty cool!

And Stony doesn't quit after the falls. Although there is nothing to match Seven Falls, smaller ledges and mildly steep rock gardens continued on down through the woods and back to civilization as we paddled past Bob's house high up on a steep wooded hillside. The final ½ mile winds down to flatwater to make for a 2-mile run to which we added 2 more miles of Yellow Breeches. The Breeches was near flood level and had some rolling waves that were fun to surf. A new creek, a new rapid and a new paddling partner on a beautiful spring day in May! Ya can't ask for more than that!

Pat Reilly

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