Of all the local creeks that Ed ‘missed’, Manada is probably one of the most deserving of the honor of mention in ‘Keystone Canoeing’. This creek is not all that small. It’s drainage area of 32.2 square miles east of Harrisburg and north of Hersey, is at least the equal of a number of smaller creeks in the book.
I went down the creek in early 1995, but I wasn’t the first from the club. I understand a group including a number of current members paddled the creek back in the eighties. I found it still holding water the third day after a big winter rain. This alone can attest to it’s size.
I put in at Kiawanas Club Road bridge. The creek is small here but I think if I’d been there 2 days earlier I could have gone up even further, maybe all the way to Manada Gap. But still, from here to the mouth at Sand Beech you’ve got 8 miles of good water. The creek initially weaves back and forth as it appears to look for a way under the three parallel arteries connecting Harrisburg with points northeast. You pass under first, the newest road - rt 81, then the old road - Jonestown Road, obsoleted by the 3rd road - rt 22, (which has in turn been obsoleted by 81). Makes one wonder when the next road is coming.
Shortly after the bridges the creek flows through a bit of suburbia before entering a lonely pastoral section. This stretch is pretty and quiet (except for noisy farm geese) but it gets even better as you near Sand Beech. Now the creek is bordered by wooded slopes on river right with exposed rock cliff in places. On river left is an old bottomland woods filled with big trees, rare in this day and age.
There’s a big dam to carry at Sand Beech. If you continue down the Swatty to the convenient town park take out in Union Deposit, beware the dam just up from the park. At high levels (and the Swatty will be high if you’re running Manada) this dam has one of the ugliest hydros I’ve ever seen. It would take Houdini to escape from this one.
Copyright © 1998 Pat Reilly. All rights reserved.