Wilderness Voyageurs

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!

#whitewaterriverguide

#ohiopyle

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

Whitewater Boy Scout Merit Badge… Ohiopyle is the perfect location

Ohiopyle has long been a scouters high adventure destination.  In fact, it was through scouting that our founders, Lance and Lee Martin came to Ohiopyle and founded Wilderness Voyageurs.  Today, we are the largest provider of scout high adventure programs in the mid-atlantic.   One of the most popular programs that we offer for Boy Scouts  in Ohiopyle is the Whitewater Merit Badge.  It involves two days of in depth instruction, utilizing three different whitewater crafts, and three different sections of the Youghiogheny River.

You will need a prerequisite merit badge in the form of a Canoeing Merit Badge.  Even though you can have either a Kayaking Merit Badge or a Canoeing Merit Badge to qualify for the program, we ask that you have the Canoeing Merit Badge due to the demands of the first day on the river.

Middle Yough Rafting Ohiopyle

Finding the Clean Line!

Meet at Wilderness Voyageurs main campus, get issued your safety equipment, enjoy a safety briefing and hop on the bus to the Middle Yough put-in. Day one of the program is in two person canoes.  The group will be paddling down the Middle Yough.  Once there, you will grab your paddles and canoes and hit the water.  Down stream you will find class I and II rapids where you will practice paddle strokes, rescues, reading rapids, and, most importantly, have fun.

Day two will be spent in and around Ohiopyle.  The first part of the day will be spent in the wonderful whitewater class room that is Z rapid.   A class II-III rapid with multiple chutes and a big gentle pool at the bottom, it provides a wide variation of challenge and opportunity for the novice and intermediate paddler.  Get ready to wet exit, eddy turn, attain, and paddle hard!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Whitewater Merit Badge Wilderness Voyageurs

Boy Scouts Learning to Kayak

 

 

 

Wilderness Voyageurs Whitewater Merit Badge

Ducking it Up!

After lunch it will be time to hop on a duckie, an inflatable sit on top kayak, and paddle the Loop. For a complete overview of the duckie, check out our duckie video.  

The Loop is the first mile and half of the Lower Yough, and consists of seven class II-III rapids.   Starting just below Ohiopyle Falls and ending just before the high bridge, this section is a wonderful way to finish off an amazing two day adventure.  

In addition to the scouts earning a truly unique merit badge, we hope to turn them into whitewater enthusiasts and maybe even a few will become river guides.

Looking forward to having your troop down to Ohiopyle and on the river with us!

Stop in and chat with us if you are in the area and want to know more about this really great program.

Read about other Merit badges in Ohiopyle..

#ohiopyle

#whitewatermeritbadge

Benjamin Scoville

Wilderness Voyageurs, Inc.
103 Garrett Street 
Ohiopyle, PA 15470
800 272 4141
 
Categories: Boy scout programs, Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle Family Fun, Wilderness Voyageurs | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Ohiopyle Cross Country Skiing Nirvana!

Customers often come into the Wilderness Voyageurs store and ask me what there is to do around here in the winter.  Well, since we got this 10 inch snowfall…cross country skiing!!!  There are some amazing trails in Ohiopyle State Park for all skill levels.  If you are looking for a flat and easy trail the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail is perfect.  The state park will usually groom the bike trail if we get enough snow.  Looking for more of a challenge? Sugarloaf mountain is fun and offers more downhill action.  Sugarloaf often has snow when the park doesn’t, due to its higher elevation.  You can park in the snowmobile area and just follow the hiking trails.  Laurel Ridge State Park and its groomed cross country ski trails is only 15-20 minutes from Ohiopyle.  The Ohiopyle State Park camp ground is another great option, with a series of trails looping out from the camp ground complex.  One the one hint for those trails; make sure it has been under freezing for week or so.  The trails can get boggy.  No fun to get a wet ski.

Ohiopyle Sunset Wilderness Voyageurs

The sun setting on another great ski on sugar loaf.

Ohiopyle winter Wilderness Voyageurs

Fresh turns to be had at an undisclosed location.  

Ohiopyle trails Wilderness Voyageurs

The Great Allegheny Passage prime for cross country skiing fun

Don’t like skiing? Bring along your hiking boots and check out all the beautiful winter scenery in Ohiopyle.   Cucumber falls freezes over and the Ohiopyle Falls turns beautiful shades of blue, you just don’t see in other seasons.  Please, don’t forget to stop by the Wilderness Voyageurs store for warm layers and winter gear.  Winter clothing and gear is now 20 percent off!  Just in time!  Winter just got here!  On Thursdays you could do an after work cross country ski, get warm and stretch those muscles in yoga, and hit the Falls City Pub for some delicious homemade pizza and a refreshing beer.  The Falls City Pub has great homemade food specials and a wonderful beer selection.  Plus it is toasty warm.  Hope to see you there!

This post written by Kate the store chick.

Wilderness Voyageurs  103 Garrett Street,  Ohiopyle, Pa 15470

800-272-4141

#ohiopyle

#pennsylvaniaoutdoors

Categories: Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle Family Fun, Ohiopyle Winter Activities and Skiing, Wilderness Voyageurs | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Erin Graber, Wilderness Voyageurs new bike tour manager

Bill Hall, our beloved bike tour manager, moved away to the mountains of Idaho this summer. We’ll miss him, but we’ve got a bright new face filling in–Erin Graber.

Erin Graber

While working on her business administration degree at Shepherd University, Erin Graber spent her weekends guiding rafts on the Shenandoah River. After college, she moved to Morgantown, WV to sell outdoor gear at Pathfinder. She got her sweat on at Power Yoga Morgantown every week and made friends with the owners, a pair of boaters from Ohiopyle.  Through them, Graber hooked up with Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle and trained to guide on the Youghiogheny.

“I just love the whitewater industry and the people associated with it,” she says with a characteristic, sweet smile. “And the staff is like family. We take care of business and have as much fun as we can while doing it.”

GLY_062313_1230_116_Erin_6

But Graber has another passion—cycling.

“My dad’s an avid cyclist,” Graber explains, “So I’ve been biking as long as I can remember.” While she was growing up, Graber mountain biked at Cooper’s Rock State Park.  She started road riding when she moved to Morgantown. “Then I had access to all the cool bikes at Pathfinder,” she grins.

After spending a couple months rafting, she heard that Wilderness Voyageurs was hiring a new bike tour manager. So she applied. After a whirlwind interview session, Graber snagged the job. She moved out of her place in Morgantown and set up a tent in Ohiopyle. (Until she found another apartment, of course.)

Since she started working, Graber’s been able to sample a few of Wilderness Voyageurs’  cycling tours. She’s pedaled the six-day Great Allegheny Passage tour,  the GAP and C&O Canal Highlight Tour,  the Civil War Bike Tour, and the Katy Trail Tour in Missouri.  And there are more in her future.

“I love going on bike tours,” she says. “The bed and breakfast’s we stay in are awesome, and the food’s great. It sure beats living out of a tent.” She laughs.

As the new manager, Graber hopes to use her passion for outdoor travel to add some fresh new flavor to the bike tour scene. She’s working on adding some new tours to Wilderness Voyageurs’ repertoire, including one in Washington State and another in Colorado.

“Right now I’m working on an all-female bike tour that would be a mix of road and mountain biking,” she says. “I’d also love to include some yoga classes and cooking instruction. It would be fun to add in some different activities to the bike tours that would appeal to lady cyclists like me.”

The job’s got a lot of perks, especially her new company vehicle: a tricked-out Kona Rove. Plus she scored a Cannondale shop shirt (unfortunately it wasn’t the design with the humping bunnies on the collar).

Interested in “Living the Dream” and working as a bike tour guide or working in Ohiopyle. contact us at
Wilderness Voyageurs Outfitters Inc
103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470
800-272-4141
http://www.wilderness-voyageurs.com

Categories: Biking Vacations, Ohiopyle, Wilderness Voyageurs | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Three tips to get you ready for the spring biking season

With plenty of cool sunny days, spring is one of the best times of the year to hit the trail in Ohiopyle. And if you start riding now, you’ll have the fitness to put in some big rides this summer.

Ohiopyle bike Bridge Wilderness Voyageurs

The High Bridge just outside of Ohiopyle

Here are some tips to get you ready to ride:

Get a tune-up

Take your bike to your local shop (if you’re in the Ohiopyle area, that’s us) and have the mechanics tune it up. Fresh cables, brake pads, and tires will make your ride way more fun.

Check your tire pressure before every ride. The maximum recommended pressure is stamped on the sidewall of tire, but that’s usually a much higher pressure than you should ride (think of the max pressure stamped on your car’s sidewalls. My truck tires say 60 psi, and if I pumped the tires up that hard I’d be all over the road.)

Correct tire pressure depends on your weight, so you’ll have to play around with it a little. The tires shouldn’t be so hard that they bounce you all over the trail, and they shouldn’t be so squishy that they squirm under the bike. Also, pumping the tires up extra hard won’t make you go faster. A tire is most efficient when it can conform to the bumps it’s rolling over.

Check your saddle height

Seat height is really important to being comfortable on your bike. If the saddle is too low, you won’t be able to pedal efficiently and you’ll destroy your knees. Too high, and your hips will rock back and forth until you get super unpleasant saddle sores.

So to check your seat height, find a wall to lean against, get on the bike, then put your heels on the pedals. When you pedal backwards, your leg should be fully extended and your knee almost locked out. Spinning with the ball of your foot on the pedals, there should be about a 30 degree bend in your leg.

For a visual explanation check out this video, which features the handsomest bike mechanic in Ohiopyle. Or consider making an appointment for a bike fitting. 

Just remember, being able to touch the ground from the saddle has nothing to do with correct saddle height. Get off the saddle before you need to stop the bike.

Get on the bike as often as possible

You might not have time to do a long ride every day, but if you ride around the neighborhood for a half an hour everyday, your bike fitness will increase dramatically. It’s all about getting your body used to pedaling.

If you can only ride three hours a week, split that time into short rides everyday. Riding a bike will become routine, and longer rides won’t be a problem. In contrast, riding three hours one day on the weekend will just be a shock to your system, and probably a miserable time.

And if you can, commute to work on your bike. Along with all the hippy-feel-good benefits that come with bike commuting, it’s the absolute best way to become a better cyclist. Riding to work gives you a reason to ride (actually going somewhere), and will get you riding more than ever. After all, bikes aren’t just for recreation, they’re also a serious and efficient way to get around.

Swing through the shop if you are on the Great Allegheny Passage, or road riding through on RT 381.

Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle Pa, 15470

800-272-4141

#ohiopyle

#greatalleghenypassage

Categories: Biking Vacations, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, Mountain Biking, Ohiopyle, Wilderness Voyageurs | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

NEW! Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Bike Tour – Best of GAP 4 Day

Ride the GAP End to End in 2013!   Wilderness Voyageurs is introducing a new 4 day Inn to Inn journey from Homestead, PA to Cumberland, Maryland.  This trip will cover the Great Allegheny Passage at a relaxed pace and will allow for plenty of time to explore the trailside, small towns, and soak your feet in the Youghiogheny River.  This bike tour will average about 35 miles a day, as opposed to our 6 day Pittsburgh to Washington DC tour that averages 60 miles a day.

Great Allegheny Passage- Wilderness Voyageurs

The GAP Trail crossing the Cassellman River on the spectacular Salisbury Viaduct

Wilderness Voyageurs has been conducting tours on the Great Allegheny Passage since 1999, today we are the largest bike outfitter operating in the corridor. Why is this important?  Because, you get more time to enjoy your vacation when you put our 14 years of experience to work for you taking care of  all of the details, luggage moving, snack breaks, meals, lodging, and bike tuning.  We make it easy to explore and enjoy the trail.

You will meet your guides and fellow travelers at the Wilderness Voyageurs’ base in Ohiopyle, PA.  Here you will park your car and have your luggage loaded into the SAG vehicle.   Munch on a bagel while the guides load your bikes and attend to any last minute bike tuning before we load up to head for Homestead, PA and the start of your vacation.  You will spend 4 days, traversing from Homestead, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland, on this world famous Rail- Trail.  Beginning your meander in the shadows of the Pittsburgh skyline and then quickly you will turn into the Youghiogheny Valley where tall trees and small towns are your companions.  Overnights will be spent in Perryopolis, Confluence, and Meyersdale, upon arrival in Cumberland you will be transported back to Ohiopyle where you parked your car.

One of the things that has us so excited about this new tour, is our new lodging partners, the Levi Deal Mansion in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania.  This gorgeous B & B is 2 blocks from the Great Allegheny Passage, and will be our refuge on night 3 of this tour.   Meet our innkeepers and have a peek into their beautiful home, that they have lovingly restored to turn of the century grandeur……

Details of the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Tour – 4 Day

The inaugural departure for this tour is July 21, 2013 with additional departures on September 8th and October 6th.

KATY TRAIL Bike Tour - Wilderness Voyageurs

KATY TRAIL along the Missouri River

Have you already biked the GAP?  If so, you may be interested in the KATY Trail, the longest Rails to Trails project in the US,  an excellent 6 day biking vacation that crosses Missouri.

To reserve your biking vacation, or have your questions answered, call us at 800-272-4141, or stop into our shop at 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle PA, 15470

Don’t want to talk to a human?  Reserve on line at  Wilderness-voyageurs.com

#greatalleghenypassage

#bikingvacations

Categories: Biking Vacations, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, Ohiopyle, Wilderness Voyageurs | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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