What does WV do in the winter?

Eric Martin, one of the owners of Wilderness Voyageurs, took part in the Trail Town Sustainability Summit. Read what they had to say “After a warm welcome from Cathy McCollom, director of the Trail Town Program (and fair-trade coffee from Reilly’s Best in Ohiopyle) Eric Martin of Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle started things off with a compelling and candid presentation about the challenges and successes his operations have experienced. Being in the business of “eco-travel,” over the past nine years he has been incorporating sustainable practices at his rafting company, retail store, Falls City Pub, and the Trillium Lodge as much as possible. As he sees it, sustainability is “not just for hippies anymore.” While encouraging, Eric was also realistic about the hurdles he and his employees have faced (ineffective local recycling options, an abundance of rafting equipment made from petroleum products, etc.). He stressed that sustainability does not mean a lower level of servicein fact, it’s about making smart business decisions that don’t cost a lot and often even save  money.

Wilderness Voyageurs Bath house Ohiopyle


Specifically, sourcing materials locally for building, lighting a bath house with passive solar methods (not a single lightbulb was used!), reusing scrap materials, recycling and making bio-diesel saves resources and money. For other initiatives like using “Greenware” biodegradable cups, the extra investment is worth it for the customer engagement, interest and appreciation.

Sustainability practices at Wilderness Voyageurs

By getting a little creative, “rethinking the process” and engaging his employees and customers in the process he continues to expand his sustainable practices and create a unique brand identity for his businesses and experience for his customers.

Categories: Food and Restaurants in Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle, Restaurants in Ohiopyle | 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

Winter isn’t Over Yet

We’ve had some warmer weather and Upper Yough releases this past weekend with more warm weather coming this week.  However winter isn’t over yet and your in luck if you need some winter gear!

Chuck might round house you if you don't take advantage

If your looking for creeking gear we just got in gloves and mambas.  With creeking season coming up it might be time to consider a new rescue vest.  Check back here for the coming review on the Stohlquist and Astral pfd’s.

Remember – Wilderness Voyageurs Outfitter Store is open year round! So if you come into Ohiopyle to enjoy the winter views, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or winter kayaking & you can come warm your fingers and toes in the store. Falls City Restaurant & Pub is open Thursday – Monday with great beers on tap and nightly specials.

Categories: Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle Family Fun, Ohiopyle Winter Activities and Skiing, Outdoor Gear, Restaurants in Ohiopyle, Upper Yough | Tags: | Leave a comment

Get Out This Weekend

This is a perfect weekend to get out and explore the Ohiopyle and the Laurel Highlands.  We got more snow yesterday and everything is covered in a blanket of white and looks amazing.

Jan 27, 2011

We’ve got pletny of snow shoes to rent at the Store( open daily 10-6) so you can explore and check out spots like this:

Brian Looking up at cucumber falls

Categories: Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle Winter Activities and Skiing, PA | Leave a comment

run with the deer flies 15k

So on July25th I tried my first long trail run, the Run With the Deer Flies 25k and 15k.

On Saturday after a long, extraordinarily sweaty day of biking, working at the store, and desperately attempting to keep myself, we finally got out of Ohiopyle. After about three long hours of rolling around Western Pennsylvania’s dark, windy roads, we finally found the campsite. Too tired to investigate further than the parking lot, we pitched my new Lightpath 2 in the trees a few feet from the car, which we thought was removed enough from the drizzle. At midnight, we finally shoved our little Thermarests inside the tent and tried to go to sleep. This resulted in a long night of fretting with the rain cover, moving rocks out from underneath us, and trying to invent pillows from nothing.

Needless to say, 6:00 came early. I staggered out of the tent in the hazy morning, changed into running shorts and a top that I thought made me look sort of fast. I laced up my semi-new Vasque Velocity’s (which I’ve outfitted with some neon pink laces to accent their mossy green color) and did a couple futile stretches. Then came registration and two hours of waiting for the race to start. I listened to some of the other racers ramble about their experiences at other 100-milers and the Badwater Ultra while they cinched the straps on their fancy Camelbaks and flexed their enormous leg muscles (I have neither of these things). Needless to say, I was more than a little bit intimidated. And I was wishing that I hadn’t been too cheap to buy a little hydration pack when I was at the store.

At the starting line, the racers were still talking about all the ultraefforts they had in common (especially one particularly rangy-looking dude, who found it necessary to expound upon how many races he had done and how many pairs of shoes he had worn out). I stood quietly on the sideline with another runner from the UT.

After everyone was done adjusting their shoelaces and one-up each other, the gun finally went off. The start was a slow loop around the campsite on a gravel path. Hydration packs sloshed about, and people made some jokes about how long it would be before they started walking. I sort of smiled at this comment and thought- hey, at least I wasn’t one of those people. Then the route twisted off onto a path lined with some sort of nerdy Boyscout propaganda– large wooden signs appeared periodically along the trail that said things like THRIFT. BRAVERY. OBEDIENCE. REVERENT (I am assuming reverent to their scout masters.. or to the creator of the iron-on merit badge). KNOT SKILLS AND MERIT BADGES. Okay, those last few were a lie. But at least the signs provided some amusement. Then the trail twisted off into a long bit of singletrack and the climbs started.

The first couple hills were okay. I was following behind a few people who were moving at a good pace, hopping over some logs, avoiding rocks, and trying not to think about how dehydrated I was getting. The entire route looped around and around, switching steeply back and forth through rocks and streams. By about three miles, I was getting tired of this. I had lost my pacer, so I was now leading a group of maybe ten other people through the woods. Fantastic. I was front-running a 15k. This had to stop. I let a few obnoxiously loud breathers ahead of me and then considered sitting down on a stump. But I slogged on, finally grasping the concept of the “power hike” (a euphemism for “walking up a hill when you get too tired”) and wishing that I could see some sort of turnaround point–or anything but trees, for that matter.

 Finally, after about another mile of ridiculously steep climbing, the leaders came back through from the turnaround. As the trail opened up onto a gravel road, I realized that the water stop was a half-mile up a very steep hill. A few more people dropped me and sped away, chatting about the merits of long-distance running while I slogged on, cursing myself for slacking on hills for most of my life. I power-hiked up to the aid station and nearly burst into tears when I saw that there was no Gatorade. This wasn’t racing. This was hard and miserable.

Thankfully, the run back was actually quite nice. I had lost most of the other runners near me (or they had lost me), so I just tried to concentrate on not tripping over things. If I didn’t think about the fact that all the previous downhills had turned into uphills, the last 4.5 miles were pretty lovely. Sure, the climbs still totally sucked and my legs were hurting terribly, but it was all in good fun, right? After a distance that felt much longer on the way out, I was finally back at the campsite. I proceeded to get lost on the last part of trail and basically walked across the finish line.

 Apparently, even though I ran embarrassingly slow 9:58 mile splits, I was seventh overall and the first lady in. But that wasn’t as exciting as the fact that there was a huge bag of trail mix open on a picnic table by the finish line. Within a few minutes, the heavens opened up and rain came pouring down on all the remaining runners (the people doing the 25k still had another ten miles go). I shuffled around in a graceless daze, congratulating the other athletes and shoving food into my mouth. I yanked off my filthy shoes, which had served me quite well (my feet were hardly damp, and I hadn’t broken any toes on the trial). “Man,” said a muddy, exhausted runner sitting down on a picnic table, “Did we just pay to do that to ourselves?”

Yessir. So it goes in the world of endurance sports.

Categories: Outdoor Gear, PA, running | Leave a comment

Schools Closed. Government Offices Closed. Wilderness Voyageurs….

IS OPEN!!! We are here for you and the extra play days suddenly in your schedule.

Ohiopyle is one snowy delight. Thanks to Ohiopyle State Park for keeping the bike trail tracked for cross country skiing. I’ve heard a lot of people complaining for the last 2 winters that they haven’t been able to use their snowshoes. If that rings true for you – don’t miss this opportunity! Some trails are too deep for skiing right now, but are ideal for snowshoes. Just be prepared for a good workout.

If you do want to ski, our advice is either stick to the bike trail or go steep! The snow is so deep right now that making normal tracks is difficult. There are plenty of fun runs around the park that often aren’t skiable. But they are now! The pipeline off Firetower is a blast, but isn’t for the faint of heart and does require quite a trudge out on the bike trail.

When you’re done playing in the snow, come warm up at Falls City Pub. The pub is open Thursday through Monday with a Wii bowling championship ongoing. There is great micro-brew selection including Hop Devil IPA, Dog Fish, Burning River and plenty more. The Black Bean Burrito and Chicken Wrap are 2 of the favorite eats.

Here is a shot of Garrett St looking from the store down the street towards the pub. And what’s that forecast I just saw? Another 10 days of powder coming to 15470!

Favorite Gear of the Week: Aside from a Subaru with snow tires, Mountain Hardwear’s Nitrous Jacket is closely trailing The Synchro ski jacket and pants!

Categories: Ohiopyle, Outdoor Gear, PA, Restaurants in Ohiopyle | Leave a comment

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