The Girls at Play Summer Tour kicked off in Confluence, PA at Riversport. As I was driving into the area, Andy from Riversport called me to let me know that there was a tornado warning for the surrounding region. I kept my eyes on the skies ready to pull off and take shelter, but all I encountered was some heavy rain. I think it rained at least 2 inches that morning so the rivers swelled up quickly and we had high water all weekend. If you’ve never been to that part of the country it is full of awesome rivers and creeks — the Yough, the Sandy, the Cheat and other smaller creeks and rivers.
Saturday was the intro to whitewater. We waited until the storm subsided before getting on the water and enjoyed tea and coffee at the Lucky Dog Cafe. It was a nice way to start the morning! Once the rain subsided we put on the river and worked on strokes, wet exits and other basics — although it was tough to find defined eddies to work on river running technique. We made our way down to Ramcat rapid which was quite big at that water level. We stopped at the campground so that Orley, our youngest paddler could take out before the rest of the rapid. We headed down through the rapid only to realize that we too should have taken out at the campground because that was the take-out! So… we pulled off as soon as we could, hiked up the bank and back up the railroad tracks to the campground (it wasn’t a very long walk). It was a great example of how plan A doesn’t always work out in kayaking and so you have to go to plan B, C or D! Nonetheless, it was a great day.
The abundant rain and high water really energized me because I hadn’t seen rivers that swollen in a long time — NC hasn’t received huge rains in awhile. Andy, Jesse and I went for a paddle on Meadow Creek — a really fun class IV creek that runs into the Loop in Ohiopyle. It was pretty high water so we were waffling back and forth as to whether or not to put on — well Jesse and I were waffling, but Andy was ready to go. It’s a little scary to put on a river with a lot of water… We were standing below the take-out looking at the impressive class V slides rushing by when we saw a group of paddlers and shredders hit the take-out. They said it was awesome to we headed up and put-on. It was so fun for me to run a new river (something I hadn’t done in awhile) with high water. There were some great slides on the run and I felt re-energized about my paddling. I wish I had brought my camera to show you some photos…
Sunday was the intermediate white water class and we headed to the Casselman River. It was also high and that made it very exciting! There were a few swims, but everyone had a great attitude. The ladies did an awesome job of reading the water, choosing their lines and getting some quick combat rolls. Reading brown, flooded water is more challenging because the white water isn’t as obvious. It was a fun learning experience with lots of camaraderie.
Thanks to Andy and Erika from Riversport and to our sponsors!