Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River

Ohiopyle Whitewater River Guide Training

Whitewater river guide!?!  In Ohiopyle!?! The wind is blowing and the patches of black ice are waiting to ambush the unwary and your mind is drifting towards the coming spring.  If you are imagining sore muscles, swimming in cold rivers, feeling equal parts fear and excitement, it may be you are a candidate for whitewater river guide training with Wilderness Voyageurs.  Make sure you check out the guide letter on the employment page link.

2014 is going to be a special year here at Wilderness Voyageurs.  We will be celebrating our 50th year in operation and I invite you to throw your helmet in the ring for a chance to  join the pantheon of river guides who have enjoyed a well earned beverage, sitting in the sun in Ohiopyle, remembering a day on the water, and looking forward to another one tomorrow.

Ohiopyle Raft Guide Training

Getting it Done on the Lower Yough

Being a river guide is not a job for the faint of heart, nor is the training.  It is more than a sexy life jacket tan.  At its core, river guiding is about taking a complete novice from point A to point B, making sure they aren’t killed in the process, while keeping a smile plastered on their faces.  It is responsibility not to be taken lightly.   More importantly, you are a gatekeeper to a wonderful world, a world of wild things!  Everyday you are given a chance to take someone through that gateway, out of their comfort zone and introduce them to a world where the wild things are.  That is a privilege, one that Wilderness Voyageurs does not take lightly, and it is reflected in our river guide training.

After you send in your exhaustive paperwork; cover letter, resume, application, and photocopies of your driver’s license and first aid and cpr cards, we will go through and call your former/current employers and references.  Then we go all “big brother” and look you up on Google and Facebook, so please be responsible and make sure your social media is cleaned up.  After all that is said and done we will send out the invitations to join us for river guide training.  If you accept, get ready for a time you will remember for the rest of your life.

The training will be led by head instructors, Rich Rostauscher

Ohiopyle whitewater rafting wilderness voyageurs

Get used to that look on his face!

and Josh Lawrey.                

Ohiopyle white water rafting near pittsburgh

“Good Cop”? maybe… maybe not.

They will take you under their wings, and put you through the paces, breaking you down and then rebuilding you into a whitewater machine.  Helping you to create the skills that will pay the bills.  Enabling you to safely escort the guests down the river, showing them a great time, and helping them escape for a few hours and reconnect to where the wild things are.

Josh and Rich will take you from the basics of how to hold a paddle (remember, it is not an oar.  You find those on street corners late at night) to how to paddle a raft all by yourself (the J-Stroke), to how to set up a Z-Drag to unpin a stuck raft, to how to swim through a strainer (They’ll even tell you what a strainer is).  Day one will begin with a little meet and greet and be followed up by a nice introduction trip to the river; a little paddling, a little splashing.  Day two and until the end of training, this formula will take over; You will meet in the morning for a little classroom time, then you will get wet, you will be uncomfortable, you will be tired, you may even get to “raft dance,” and you will either be chomping at the bit for more, or you will be ready to hang up your life jacket.  If you feel like hanging up your life jacket, give it a couple days.  Being a river guide is a doorway to whole new world.

Besides becoming a complete whitewater badass, another plus of training with Wilderness Voyageurs is that you will travel!!  This area of the Appalachians is teeming with quality whitewater, and you will be exposed to as much as we can expose you too.  From the Casselman and Indian Creek here in our back yard, to the Stoney Creek to the north, and the Mighty Cheat and the Big Sandy to the south,not to mention even more rivers, you will be able to tick off a number of classics before you are even a river guide!

Training starts with on our kick off weekend of April fifth and sixth, then runs through the weekend of May 17th and 18th.  There will be a break for Easter.  To get a better idea of what to expect and what you need to bring, just click here: I wanna work in Ohiopyle!!  And remember, you don’t have to be a river guide to work with us.  We are always hiring good people to work in our Ohiopyle outfitter store, at our reservations desks, in Falls City Pub and Restaurant, or driving a bus.  Looking forward to seeing some new smiling faces on the water with spring!



Benjamin Scoville  is the operations manager here in Ohiopyle. He is the guy that has the power of the pencil as we say.. He does all of the scheduling and overseeing rafts & trucks.

Wilderness Voyageurs, Inc.
PO Box 97 
Ohiopyle, PA 15470
Categories: Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle rafting, Whitewater Rafting, Wilderness Voyageurs | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Yough Defense Fund Party – November 15th, 2012

Hey, IF YOU  LOVE  THE YOUGHIOGHENY RIVER,  then please gift her a minute of your life right now to forward these 3 links and party info to your friends who also love the YOUGH !!!!    
and join us in Ohiopyle Nov 15 for the 2012 Yough Defense Party (and bring a friend !) 
If you cannot attend, PLEASE consider clicking on the second link now to make a donation to support the Yough RIVERKEEPER !!!  thanks !!
Please share these far and wide!
Yough Defense Party  — Flyer:
donation to Yough Defense Fund:
http://www.mtwatershed.com/donate.html  (pick YDF donate button)
Facebook Link:
Categories: Beer and gear, Fishing the yough, Food and Restaurants in Ohiopyle, Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, Upper Yough | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lonely kayaks in Ohiopyle: help stop the madness!

Ohiopyle needs your help!  A number of lonely kayaks were found today. Help stop the abuse by coming out and putting these kayaks back in the water where they belong.

Ohiopyle kayaks wilderness voyageurs

Kayaks waiting for you

How do you help?

1) Get in your car and leave the hot concrete jungle behind

2) Join us for a Learn to Kayak weekend  (next up July 28 & 29)

3) Arrive in Ohiopyle where the water temperature is a sweeeeet 65 degrees

4)  Follow the lead of your kayak instructor Josh. He is here to help.

Ohiopyle kayak instruction wilderness voyageurs

Lead Kayak instructor josh

5) Listen for the ahhhh and thank you from the kayak you just saved

6) Listen to your inner self saying thank you for taking me to the river

Kayaking in Ohiopyle wilderness voyageurs

Kayak & your sanity saved!

Call Wilderness Voyageurs at 800-272-4141 to get started  Learning how to kayak.  The kayaks thank you!

Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470



Categories: Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, learn to kayak, Ohiopyle | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Shiva commands you to have a blast on the river!


The Shivas are here!  We got all three sizes of Pyranha Shivas in stock.  I have tried both the large and the medium.  I am around 5’10” and weigh in at svelte 200 lbs.  I thought the large would be it for me, but I thanks to the indomitable John Regan, I gave the medium a second look and am really enjoying it.    I had fun in large Shiva, but at 92 gallons, I feel it was just too big for me.  It would take over sometimes and it was difficult to wrangle back under control, whereas I felt more nimble in the medium, carving and controlling the “charc” with more ease than the larger version.  Furthermore, I was paddling a large Burn before, and the medium is actually a bigger boat.  Longer and with more volume, it floated me fine.  Plus, it is more narrow, especially around the cockpit, making it more comfortable to sit in, not having to have my knees all splayed out, and also making it easier to transfer edges and roll.

I put both boats through their paces by paddling them down our local creek/big water combo of Meadow Run into the Loop of Yough.  Those boats boofed, carved, surfed, went down the slides right side up and facing downhill, caught eddies, and generally killed it!  Again though, the medium was the winner of the two.  It was just more manageable.  I think if I was 6’3′ and 200 lbs the large may have been fine, but just lacking that extra leverage, I felt, put me at a disadvantage.  The one thing I am going to try tomorrow on the Lower Big Sandy though, is to move the seat back one notch in the medium.

I have been a firm disciple of the burn for years now, but this boat may just change my mind.  Maybe it’s just because I am not as edgy as I used to be, but what you lose in the crispness, you gain in speed, nimbleness, ease in rolling, and stability.  And, heck, you can still surf waves, navigate the bubbling big water, and ferry across the confusing currents.

Categories: Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, learn to kayak | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pyranha Shivas are in

Some new Pyranha Shivas were delivered yesterday:

From the Pyranha guys:

The Shiva has a rounded hull, soft stern chines, a high bow rocker and loads of volume in the bow and stern.

These features give you softer landings on big drops, rear driving force when you want it, awesome boofability and resurfacing capability. The rounded & high deck, with a high centre of volume, countering a low centre of gravity for easy rollability.

If you are running big drops and pushing harder lines the Shiva is the one you want.

We’ll have some reports up once we get the boats down the river a few times.

If you’d like to take one out, give us a call at 1.800.272.4141 and reserve a demo. We have larges and mediums.

posted by Montana

Categories: Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, learn to kayak | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Friday Night(evening) Loop Runs Commence

Finally, summer can officially begin now that Friday night loop runs on the lower Youghiogheny River have begun. We had a terrific group of Wilderness Voyageurs staff and a few new participants to joined in on the fun. What a terrific way to start off the holiday weekend. The water level seems to be holding at a steady  something making for a great way for folks to really step up there surfing, boofs and playboating. Just a few yards into the loop is the “DQ” wave/hole which at this water level is sticky enough for

crowd pleasing loops and yet forgiving enough for first time spinners.  Entrance rapid has waves all through it that are easy to catch on the fly and there is always Nemos hole for some powerful fast spins and cartwheelin if you can get your timing down. Cucumber has a really sick wave if you are daring enough to go for it and if not you can just punch it and enjoy the waves behind. Eddie hopping and stern squirts line the rest of the loop pretty much anywhere you look. Camel Walrus rapid has a terrific wave to boof line if you know where to turn and Dartmouth rapid turns nice and wavy. Railroad rapid has multiple lines from boofs to slots and even a fun slide where a well-timed rock spin will make for a nice topping to your loop run. There really is so much to do and try while out there on the loop. I’ve been paddling it now for 7 seasons and I still look forward to each on. For those who do not know it this well there is no way to learn the insandouts of this section than with us on Friday nights. You can do this. You should be here. Friday evenings 5:30 till park closes. c u there

Learn to kayak in Ohiopyle

Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett Street Ohiopyle PA 15470





Categories: Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, learn to kayak, Ohiopyle | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

There is nothing like it- kayaking that is

Yesterday, while on an evening “loop” (youghiogheny river) run on the with a few friends we shared an interesting insight into kayaking.  The water level is up a little, which allows for creativity in boat choice. My friend was trying out a longer glass boat of yesteryear, others chose to dabble and surf in play boats and I, a creature of habit, was in my Pyranha Burn.  The topic that intrigued us was that there really is no limit to how creative you can be on the water once you have learned the necessary skills for kayaking.  There is no comparison when it comes to creativity and ingenuity of people sharing a love for moving water.  Sure there are different surf board, snow skis, snow boards and bicycles, but those all change with the conditions that they are choosing to challenge. Yesterday, there were 5 people, 5 different boats, and 5 totally different experiences while on the same moving arena for exploration. Where can it lead you?

Categories: Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, learn to kayak, Outdoor Gear | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Learn to kayak

Time to focus on summer fun.  Around Ohiopyle, that means kayaking!  If you have a few river miles under your belt, then this time of year means lots of river options that do not normally exist.

Think about kayaking the Casselman River, a great class 2 and class 3 whitewater run, located in Somerset County about 30 minutes from Ohiopyle.  It is a great section of river to head for when the Lower Yough is to high for comfort.  If the Yough is over 5 feet there is a really good chance that the Casselman is at a runnable level.  Between 2 feet and 4 feet on the Casselman there are a lot of friendly well defined features, eddies with strong eddy lines, surfing holes that are forgiving.   This week we had a number of kayak students in town to shake off the rust, and they were lucky enough for this treat.

great kayak learning river
Typical rapid on Casselman River
Learning to kayak in Pennsylvania

Spring day on the Casselman River

If you have any interest in learning how to kayak, now is the season, and learning to kayak in Pennsylvania is the way to go.  We have some many rivers that are easy to access and that you can kayak most of the year, and you have the  experience of Wilderness Voyageurs to draw upon.

Get in a kayak this week!

See you on the river.

Categories: Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, learn to kayak, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Kayak Gear

It’s creeking season now and the full on kayaking season is upon us.  One of the best parts about getting ready for the season is breaking out and going through gear and finding reasons to replace that old gear. A lot of kayaking gear is made very well, durable and can last many seasons.  However any rescue equipment or gear that I directly related to your safety such as PFD shouldn’t be pushed to the limits of years of abuse because when you really need it to work it might not.   The best thing to do is get out your safety gear and check all of it thoroughly.

We all at some point have used our throw bag for extracurricular activities: as clothes line to dry out gear, tying boats down on the roof, to extend the reach to the tree for hammock, using as a slack line, tow strap for stuck car etc… If your throw rope has been used for double duty it’s probably time to retire it and get a new throw rope for dedicated rescue use only.

The next piece of gear to consider and probably most important is your PFD. There are many ways a PFD can lose functionality through regular wear and tear which is why you should take the time to inspect it often instead of just throwing it in gear bag or boat and waiting till the next use.  UV damage can weaken the fabric, repeated use and loosen and cause threads to tear.  Even having your PFD compressed can cause it to lose buoyancy over the years.

From the US Coast Guard standards concerning PFD selection, use and care.

Serviceable condition – A PFD is considered to be in serviceable condition only if the following conditions are met:

1. No PFD may exhibit deterioration that could diminish the performance of the PFD including:

  • Metal or plastic hardware used to secure the PFD on the wearer that is broken, deformed, or   weakened by corrosion;
  • Webbings or straps used to secure the PFD on the wearer that are ripped, torn, or which have become separated from an attachment point on the PFD; or
  • Any other rotted or deteriorated structural component that fails when tugged.

2. In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, no inherently buoyant PFD, including the inherently buoyant components of a hybrid inflatable PFD, may exhibit:

  • Rips, tears, or open seams in fabric or coatings that are large enough to allow the loss of buoyant material;
  • Buoyant material that has become hardened, non-resilient, permanently compressed, waterlogged, oil-soaked, or which shows evidence of fungus or mildew; or loss of buoyant material or buoyant material that is not securely held in position

Most of us don’t follow the USCG rules completely and some don’t apply unless in a power/moto boating situation but they are a good guideline when inspecting your pfd.

Check your PFD if you notice:


-Tears, holes stitching coming loose

-Straps/attachments/hardware damaged in anyway


-shrinkage or change of shape to buoyant materials

-doesn’t fit properly*

Then it’s probably time to start shopping for a new PFD!

* A proper fitting life jacket should not ride up on you and when floating should keep chin above water.  To test stand straight up in a deep pool of water and check how much floatation you have.

If you are shopping for that new vest check back here for the Stohlquist and Astral review.

Categories: Family Fun River Trips, Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle rafting, Outdoor Gear, Upper Yough, Whitewater Rafting | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Kayaking is Cool

Over the years I’ve been kayaking I always get questions like “where did you learn to kayak”, “how did you get into the sport”,” how can I get into kayaking” etc…  My first experience was memorable but not at all the right way to get into the sport. 

 I asked a friend who was fairly new to kayaking to teach me how to kayak.  We lived near the Slippery Rock Creek but my friend said we should go to the lower yough.  So one day we drove to the lower yough took our boats to the put in and geared up.  Up to this point I still had never even held a paddle nor did I know how to get into a kayak or whether I was supposed to kneel or sit inside the boat.  Once we got that figured out it was on to trying to wrap my head around the mechanics of a roll.  We never talked about a wet exit or a bow rescue instead it was straight to ok try to roll.  Needless to say my first roll attempt was a disaster but we were burning daylight and needed to get going.  My teachers words were “eh lets go maybe you’ll figure it out down the river” and with that we went.  I swam every ripple and rapid on the lower yough.

 I wasn’t turned off from the sport completely but I didn’t try again until I was in my 20’s.  Luckily the college I was at offered a whitewater kayak class and I learned the right way the second time around. Personally I think taking a formally class is the best way to learn kayaking.

 You don’t need to enroll in a college just to take a 1 credit kayak class.  All you need to do is come to Ohiopyle and enroll in a Kayak Clinic at Wilderness Voyageurs.

Whether your just starting out or looking to step your game up and run some more difficult rivers there is a group or private clinic for your skill level.

Before Wilderness Voyageurs Kayak Instruction and After

Categories: Family Fun River Trips, Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, Ohiopyle, PA, Uncategorized, Upper Yough | Leave a comment

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