Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Got Rain?

The following post is contributed by Got Boof Crew Member: John Rudland

The day (Saturday, 4/14) started with Jason and I (John Rudland) going to watch and cheer the wildwater team trials at the Ohiopyle loop. I got to watch some great paddlers make it look like cake in long boats.

Craig Wassinger Wildwater Style

Then our first of three runs down the Top Yough where we met up with J, Shawn, Carl, and Dave Haines. The first run was trying to remember where the hazards were and where I was to go, being my 5th time down. My nerves were on overtime until I got over swallowtail falls. Then it was all a go. There were some great boofs to be had and a lot of fun for all.

John Rudland @ Swallow Falls

The second run was nice to try things that I saw the first run down and could try them this time. I still missed a few but the boofs were good and my nerves calmed down, until a large paddle snake grabbed my paddle and would not let go. I swung the paddle back and forth trying to get it out of its grasp and be able to skull up to the surface. Finally, he let go and I was able to roll up. A full-face helmet did cross my mind at that point. A snake that big, ten or twelve feet, must have been.

By the third run I was learning the river more and could hit some stuff I would not do the first two times. By the end of the third I was feeling great and the day went good for all.

Dave Haines @ Swallowtail

After a night in a motel and a long drive, we got to the takeout for Upper Seneca Creek. We talked to some locals and found out what we should be looking for and what the level should look like, so we drove up to the trail for the put in, long shuttle. We got ready and started down the mile to the put in, but once we got down there, the water was flowing more than what we were told. With paddles in hand, and gear on, we started our trip. After three or so large beaver dams and a lot of down trees and some portaging, we ran into a larger group that had some seasoned paddlers to this run.

Upper Seneca Put In

We paddled with them for a few miles, all the time on a rising creek. After four miles of hopping in and out of our boats we got our group together and talked with some of the other paddlers and came to the conclusion that the river was rising and that some of us were not skilled for such a run at this level. Of course, it will be there next time, so we decided today was not our day. So we picked up our boats, thanked the other paddlers and started back up the trail, for a four to five mile hike with boats at hand.

The Walk Out

After passing a few beaver chewed trees with fresh wood chips at the bottom, we came to the bridge where we had put in. The first time we saw this bridge, the water was about three to four inches under it. Two hours later when we passed it on our way back to the vehicles, it was over the footpath and close to the banks. We all laughed at this and were glad we didn’t paddle farther down for more to hike up. And I still believe we will talk about this trip for a long time to come. I have to thank every one for there knowledge and willingness to pack it up and call it a day. It was my first time to do this but I feel good that we did.