Posts Tagged With: ohiopyle

Ohiopyle Whitewater Rafting; first whitewater trip in North America in 2014

Ohiopyle rafting buzz was in the air yesterday.. as the first rafting trip of the year hit the Youghiogheny River.

Ohiopyle group rafting wilderness voyageurs

Wilderness Voyageurs hosted a college group from Illinois on spring break who were working on a Habitat for Humanity project.  Kudos to them for their community involvement and volunteerism.   What a great way to kick off our celebration of being the oldest whitewater rafting outfitter east of the Mississippi; Launching the first whitewater rafting trip in the US of 2014!!  That has us really fired up.

Rafting trip briefing Wilderness Voyageurs

Every rafting trip starts off with a safety and orientation talk.  Today we were focused on how to keep every one warm.  If you fall in, you need to be proactive about getting back to the raft and out of the water ASAP.  Here the trip leader Brian T. explains the proper way to sit in a raft and how to efficiently paddle together as a team.

The Yough River was running 6.9 on the Ohiopyle Gauge and the water was a bit on the chilly side, about 40 degrees.   This water level dictates that we use a bit larger of a raft than during average summer flows.  Today was 8 man rafts, with a guide at the helm. 

Ohiopyle spring rafting wilderness voyageurs

The lucky Ohiopyle raft guides that got to kick off this memorable year were Zane R., Adam aka Sherpa, Adam aka Grizz, and Brian T. Check out their “Blue Angel Formation” as they approach Cucumber Rapid.  These guys are true professionals, you would never know this is the inaugural trip of the year.  Although it is the first raft trip of the year, everyone has been out kayaking creeks and playing on the loop all winter. As a side note, if this sounds awesome and this lifestyle is screaming your name, think about joining our whitewater guide training program this spring.

Whitewater rafting ohiopyle cucumber splash

Well the reason why you come rafting.. to get wet. Hope everyone had their wetsuits and paddling jackets zipped up.  To check out more pictures from this trip, head on over to our whitewater rafting photo gallery on Google +.

Ohiopyle rafting 2014 trip 1

These guys and gals have got game..   Look at these big cheesers, note the snow on the banks of the Yough.   Well they did score  the first trip of the year,, but you can still get in on the early fun.  Our official Rafting Season Kick-off event is April 5th & 6th.  Come experience the Yough River and the Cheat River, get fed good food at the Falls City Pub, and dance to Rising Regina.  An Ohiopyle party to not be missed.  Come on out and have some fun with us.

Downstream is where the fun is!

We have mentioned Ohiopyle a lot,, not sure where or what that is??  Ohiopyle is a town and the largest state park in Pennsylvania.  Read about Ohiopyle.  Check out all the other outdoor fun that Wilderness Voyageurs has to offer: Ohiopyle outdoor adventures.

Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470  800-272-4141

#ohiopylerafting

#whitewaterrafting

Categories: Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle rafting, Whitewater Rafting | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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

Riding from Ohiopyle, PA to Davis, West Virginia and back

Posted by Montana

“You know it’s supposed to thunderstorm all day,” says Colleen.

“I think I’ll be alright. It might miss me,” I say.

“Ok, I just don’t want you to be miserable and come home complaining about it,” Colleen says.

I futz around, pack the rest of my stuff onto my bike. Got the camera, got my sleeping stuff, have a dry pair of underwear. No room for a rain jacket. Maybe I won’t need it. I roll out the door. No better grab it. Back in the door. I strap the jacket to the top of my bars roll away from the house again.

Up the first climb out Ohiopyle. I’m a little nervous. Davis is 75 miles away, I don’t know my route, and black clouds are puffing and sliding across the sky. I pull out the cue sheet, sweat drips off my forehead and splotches some of the ink. Nuts. I wipe my eyebrows. Can’t be doing that.

Alright, I need to go right on Glades Road, left on McCracken School. I put the sheet away. Left on Glades, right on McCracken. Left on Glades, right on McCracken. No that’s not right, right? I check the sheet again. Left on Glades, not right.

I turn left on McCracken, and ride down the road a few hundred feet. Wait, this isn’t right, I should have gone right. I spin around, and roll onto the first dirt of the day. A few miles later, I scan for my next turn. There’s an unmarked trail off to the left, but it sure doesn’t look like Mason Dixon Road. I check the map on my phone. It is. These cues are going to be impossible to follow without road signs. I tuck away the paper directions.

I cross the border into West Virginia, ride a bridge across I-68, and bounce down some rutted, rocky, single-lane tracks into Cuzzart.

Welcome to the Cuzzart General Store! Hours - None

Cuzzart General Store – Hours – None

I ride past one farm house, where the road turns from dirt to trail, and a short brown dog rushes out of a garage.

“Sit! Sit down!” I yell.

“Bark bark bark!” he yells.

“Sit the hell down!” I yell.

“Bark bark bark!” he yells.

This conversation clearly isn’t getting either of us anywhere. I pedal faster and the dog finally gives up the chase. I drop into the woods.

West Virginia road

A puddle. With ridges, for flavor.

A few miles later, I ride past a group of eight people on five ATVs. All the people are staring at the road. I wave and say hello. They all wave back in unison and look at me blankly. Weird.

Around the next bend, there’s a black plastic hose sticking out of the dirt, pumping water onto a little pallet platform. Perfect. I was almost out of water. I fill both bottles. The sky rumbles. That doesn’t sound great. The road turns from trail to dirt to gravel to pavement. The wind picks up, grey clouds roll like waves. The hills thump and echo. I better find some shelter before this storm hits.

I run into a little pavilion next to a white church. The rain pings sharply against the metal roof. Louder, louder until I can’t hear myself talk to myself. Lighting strikes the steeple. The thunder blasts. Jesus that was close.

The storm starts to let off. I put my rain jacket on, which I’m very glad I went back for, and get back on my bike. The lightning is gone, but it’s still raining. I ride a flat gravel road over Snaggy Mountain which is more of a Snaggy Bump and hide from the rain in an old log cabin. At this point I kind of want to go home. I’m all wet and uncomfortable. Then the sun starts to come out. Oh boy. I fold up my coat and ride into the nice weather.

Storms and sun

20 more miles of dirt and pavement until I get to the bottom of the climb into Tucker County, where I drink my last drop of water. 15 miles to go. My only food today has been a bag of peanuts, so I’m feeling a little out of gas, but I should be able to make it to the Purple Fiddle in Thomas. I start grinding up the hill.

A while later, my stomach is contracting. Gotta keep going. Beef wraps at the top. A trickle of water runs down the hillside. No, don’t stop. Just keep rolling.

I finally make it to the Fiddle, and order a beef wrap and a Seneca IPA in a mason jar and sit across from a chubby kid with eyes that are permanently sunk into his game playing thing.

After I finish eating, I get back on my bike and head for camp.

I ride out of Thomas and up the windy road a few miles to Davis. The elevated sidewalks are pretty empty for a Saturday afternoon. I roll past the Shop n’ Save on the edge of town and cross the bridge onto the dirt road that borders the Black Water River. Muted, far-off thunder booms.

Time to find a spot to camp. Up and down the road, scanning the woods. The thunder rumbles again. Man, I better find a spot quick. I scamper into the woods. This place is full of rocks. Damn. I wish I would have brought my hammock. I find a little crack between two boulders, string my tarp and blow up my sleeping pad.

I’m swarmed by mosquitoes. I swat my face and arms. They keep swarming. I need to go get some chemicals to repel these little bastards. I crash back through the weeds and onto the road, and ride back to the Shop n’ Save to get bug spray, a bomber of Torpedo, and a coffee cake.

On the way back, I walk down to the river to wash off. The water is deep orange. I cup some into my hands, it looks like iodine. I wonder if I should bathe in this stuff. Well, it’ll probably be alright. I soap up.

The storm hasn’t started yet, so maybe I can find a better camping spot. I roll up all my stuff and ride farther down the road. A few miles in, there’s a nice clearing by the river. I reset my campsite, read until the sun sets, then go to sleep.

A mosquito buzzes in my ear. I slap it. It buzzes again. I crush it against my head. Silence for a few minutes. The buzz comes back. Christ. I’m covered in deet you little beasts, leave me alone. I pull a t-shirt over my face and pass out.

Black Water Camping

I crawl out of the tarp the next morning, and into a big mass of poison ivy. That’s fantastic. I guess I’ll find out if I’m still immune to the stuff in the next few days. I repack my bike, and roll back into town to the Bright Morning Inn for breakfast. I eat a big stack of banana-walnut-blueberry-pancakes with thick cut bacon, drink four cups of coffee, then head back towards Thomas, and on to Ohiopyle.

Since my phone is out of battery, and I can’t navigate on all the confusing back West Virginia trail roads, I decide to take the more straightforward route through Oakland, Deep Creek, and Friendsville, Maryland.

Tucker County windmill

Top of Tucker County

I coast down out of Tucker County. Into the rolling farmland and red roads in Maryland. I’m spinning my highest gear, making great time. Through Deep Creek, up a climb then steep descent to Friendsville, then up another hill to Markleysburg. I start toward Confluence, the closest town to Ohiopyle. The road pitches up steeply, I shift into my lowest gear. I’m starting to lose energy now, I’ve come 60 miles on two bottles and one cliff bar.

Up, up, up. The road finally levels out at an old church. I pull off the road. I could climb up another 1000 feet over Sugarloaf Knob, then descend all the way back to Ohiopyle, or I could drop into Confluence, get a burger, then roll back into town on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.

Hell, I’ll just take the mountain. It’ll be five miles shorter. I pedal a hundred feet up the road. Nope. Out of gas. I turn around and coast down the hill to the Lucky Dog Café.

Great Allegheny Passage Trail

After a pretty decent burger, (not as good as a Falls City Pub burger) I roll onto the GAP Trail, and burn the last 12 miles into Ohiopyle.

That was a great little mini tour. 151 miles total, a ton of climbing, and lots of time in the saddle. I’ll have to do some more of those.

Categories: Biking Vacations | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ohiopyle looks good in white

It’s been in the single digits for the past week here. A couple days ago, we got hit with eight inches of fluffy snow.

And that made everything real pretty. The sun came out and it was clear and cold, but I was nice and warm in my Smartwool Midweight Crew and Mountain Hardwear Microchill.

Cucumber Falls was a little iced up:

Frozen Cumber Falls

The ice pile at the bottom of the falls was over ten feet high:Cucumber Falls in winter

And it was mostly solid enough to walk right up to it:Punching through the ice at Cucumber FallsThe Meadow Run slides were frozen to a thin channel:Meadow Run slides frozen

And all that snow made for great fat bike riding conditions:Fat biking in Ohiopyle

Categories: Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle Winter Activities and Skiing, Outdoor Gear | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Setting up a mountain bike for the winter

Some people, like Amanda here, set their bikes up for winter by covering them with junk in the corner of the garage. But she also bundles up with a puffy sweater and ski hat before she steps inside to use the computer.

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So the following winter riding tips are for those of us that are hardy enough to type in nothing more than a Zoic Tradesman Riding Flannel ($85, all sizes in stock):

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with elastic cuffs to cut keyboard drafts:

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I’ve had some of my best mountain bike rides in the winter. Knobs dig into the frozen crust through corners, and the trails in Ohiopyle can be as fast as they are in late July. Riding through the last six winters, I’ve picked up a few things to keep myself rolling in relative comfort.

So here are the top-secret secrets.

1. Whiskey in the bottle

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An ounce or two of liquor will keep a bottle from freezing in cold weather. Five or six ounces will make it feel like summer again (activate simulated summer at your own risk.)

2. Catching the crud

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The Crud Catcher ($15) is the best mountain fender I’ve used, and I’ve used many. It attaches to the downtube with a few rubber o-rings, so it’s easy to pull on and off. Never bounces around or gets in the way, and keeps freezing spray out of the face and off the water bottle. Perfect.

I also shelve my suspension fork for the snowy months, and put on rigid one. The suspension fork doesn’t work super well and cold weather, so it isn’t worth it to get the delicate fork seals covered in frozen mud.

3. The light

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The days in winter are too short to risk going out without a light. Priceton Tech’s Push ($49) puts out 100 lumens with three AAA batteries. That’s plenty of light to get home on the road, and enough to carefully negotiate single track. The thumbscrew handle bar mount is secure and easy to remove.

Those are the only changes I make to my bike for the winter season. If you ride gears, it is a good time to try single speeding, but that’s a topic for another post. Otherwise, the mountain bike you ride all summer will work like a peach.

Next post, I’ll share my thoughts on winter riding clothes.

posted by Montana

Categories: Bike repair, Mountain Biking, Ohiopyle, Outdoor Gear | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Sunshine in November

If you live anywhere near Ohiopyle, you might not recognize this big glowing ball:Image

It’s the sun. And it’s shining. Finally.

And it’s supposed to keep shining all weekend long.Image

66 degrees on Sunday. Shorts and sandals weather! After a week of freezing hurricane drizzle, that’s going to feel awesome. No doubt, this is going to be a great weekend to be in Ohiopyle. And since it’s already mid-November, it could be the last nice weekend this fall.

So get down here. There’s plenty of water (2.5ish feet and holding) in that wet thing that runs through town. But if you’re like me and enjoy being dry, the single track is in great shape. Since the soil is so hard and rocky around here, the trails aren’t affected much by rain.

If you stop in the store, we’d be happy to set you up with a map and a route for a few hours of hiking or mountain biking. If you know where to go, it’s easy to piece together a 30 mile ride on dirt in the park.

By the weekend, the GAP Rail Trail should be all dried up. Our rental Cannondale Adventures are still ready for a day of cruising along the river. Rates are $6 per hour, and $21 for a full day.

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Since it’s the end of the season, the store is full of slamming deals on clothes, shoes, and gear. Winter and summer stuff. Just look at that sale rack. It’s ready to explode:

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As always, the Falls City Pub will be ready with fine foods and beverages for your post-sunshine enjoyment.

I don’t mean to sound desperate to get some people in the store, but its going to be a sweet weekend to be in the Pyle. I’m really just looking out for you. And the bow-tie bears I have set up next to the computer aren’t very good company. They never laugh at my jokes.

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posted by Montana

Categories: Ohiopyle | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Mountain Biking Routes in Ohiopyle

Ohiopyle is at the bottom of one of the deepest valleys in Pennsylvaina, so riding here usually involves a big climb and a big ripping descent.

After a few years here, I’ve figured out some good loops that start and end in town. This first set of rides uses Sugarloaf, Baughman, and McCune Trails, which are all east of town.

Sugarloaf Trail is about four feet wide, and full of loose rocks and water-bars. The trail alternates between super steep pitches and flat sections. It’s a great climb, but most locals skip riding down it because of all the flat pedaling sections.

Baughman is narrower, runs along the ridge at a steady grade, and has more sharp embedded rocks and fun dips. Descending that trail is awesome, so that’s the way I usually go.

There are three ways to chop up the Sugarloaf-Baughman loop.

#1 Sugarloaf to the Baughman Overlook – 1 hour

The start of Sugarloaf and Baughman Trails are across the rail-trail from the Middle Yough takeout. Take Sugarloaf, which is on climber’s right, and start heading uphill.

A couple miles up, and after the steep water-bar covered pitch, look for a trail that swings back and to the left. Take it and climb to the Baughman overlook. Make a left and shred Baughman back to town. It takes seven to ten minutes of hard descending to get back to the parking lot.

There’s a steep set of stairs at the bottom of Baughman. They’re rideable, but it’s a good idea to get off and scope them out on the first time down

After the stairs, turn left down the street and past the WV Bike Shop, make a right across the car bridge, make another right onto Garrett Street, and park your bike in the rack at Falls City Pub. Get some beers.

#2 Sugarloaf to Upper Baughman – 1.5 hours

Keep riding past the turnoff and up Sugarloaf. There are two more steep rocky pitches to grind up before the start of upper Baughman. Do a short descent, then turn left to follow the trail at the dirt road. Cross the road and stay on Sugarloaf.

After a second dirt road crossing, Sugarloaf forks. Take the left side and climb another 400 yards. At the trail signs, cross Sugarloaf Road and start Upper Baughman.

The top section of Baughman is tight, twisty, and full of big rocks. It’s a great piece of singletrack. After the overlook, keep going on the trail and back to town.

#3 The Full Loaf – Sugar, McCune, Baughman – 2.5 hours

This loop has 1,700 feet of climbing, which makes it one of the biggest dirt climbs in Pennsylvania. It takes almost 1.5 hours of steady ascending to get to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, and the start of McCune Trail.

Ride past the Baughman turnoff. At the XC Ski Area parking lot either keep  going up Sugarloaf or jump on the road.

I don’t like the last grassy section of Sugarloaf trail (we’re working on fixing it with some good singletrack), so I get on the road at the XC Ski Lot and ride a mile of pavement to get to the start of McCune. At the trail sign, turn left off of Sugarloaf Road to the McCune parking area. 100 feet from the road, on the right side, McCune starts going up hill.

There isn’t a sign to mark the trail’s start, so pay attention. The first few feet of the trail go through a field, then the trail turns into the best rocky singletrack in the park. Climb up the switchbacks to the very top of the mountain, check out the sweet view, then start the long, long descent. Ride back onto Sugarloaf, onto Upper Baughman, down Lower Baughman, and into town.

posted by Montana

Categories: Mountain Biking, Ohiopyle | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Shiva commands you to have a blast on the river!

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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

Rivertowne Pour House appears at Beer and Gear

Hailing from Monroeville, Rivertowne Pour House has developed to fill a niche in the Western Pennsylvania craft world.  Offering 14-18 different styles throughout the year, there is plenty of variety for all palates.  Offering that many beer choices, we are eager to find out what is going to be brought to the festival.  Perhaps the Knight Rider Black IPA or the delightfully fruity Pineapple Under the Sea will make an appearance.  These are just two examples of the plethora of brews that can be found at the pour house in Monroeville.  What can be expected to be here are the flagship brews of the Old Willies IPA, the Babling Blonde, and the Amber Lager.

Some history of the man behind the cask, Andrew Maxwell.  He has been pursuing his dream to produce and distribute the finest beers that can accompany any meal or any occasion.  After 33 years of jumping from college in central PA to chemistry jobs in Philly, Andrew placed himself down in the Pittsburgh area and opened his own brew pub and now makes his own rules and his own great brews.

Check out the Rivertowne webpage and find the locations!  The good news is they have you pretty well covered all across Pittsburgh with 4 locations.

Stop by and say hello to them Saturday June 18th at Beer and Gear in Ohiopyle the best beer fest this side of route 40 ;)

Categories: Beer and gear, Ohiopyle | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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