Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rapids, rapids everywhere...

...and plenty of options for vacation.

Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours has been busy, busy, busy so far this July.  We had a monster 4th of July weekend, putting over 500 people down the Youghiogheny River over a two day period on 3 sections of river.  The weather was gorgeous, the water levels were great and everyone had a fantastic time.

Our Fully Guided and Guide Escorted Lower Yough tours have started hitting the numbers we are used to this time of year.  We typically have a 10:30 or 12:30 trip going out daily on the Class III section of river.  Most of our guests enjoy going Fully Guided, which puts an OTP river guide directly in your boat.  With a lunch stop halfway down the river, It's a great way to enjoy the day.  Our seasoned guide staff members know all the routes through the rapids which means you spend less time getting stuck on small rocks and there is a less chance of anyone falling out of the boat. Our guide escorted tours are designed for those with more whitewater experience but still want our guide staff out on the river with them.  Our guides travel along with the trip in kayaks and other rafts, directing our guests down the river, and setting safety for you in the major rapids. This way, if someone falls out, the guide will gather them up as quickly as possible.

Fully Guided

Guide Escorted

The Class V Upper Yough has been releasing every Monday, Friday, and Saturday and we've seen great crews and great levels on that section.  Space is very limited on those tours so call to place your reservations well in advance. 
Upper Yough
On July 3rd, we received 26 brand new Trek Shift 3 bicycles to be cycled into our fleet once they are built.  Our bike mechanic, Kevin, will have his hands full with all the wrenching that needs done, but we should have them up and on the trail in the next couple of weeks.

It's been busy  here in Ohiopyle, stayed tuned for more information, or come on down and enjoy the river!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summertime and the living's easy...

Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours is in full sumertime swing as we approach the first official day of Summer (June 21st).  We've had multiple days reaching the mid to high 80's, but with the Lower Yough water temperature sticking around 65 degrees, taking one of our Fully Guided or Guide Escorted rafting tours is a great way to ward off the oppressive heat.  Not only is the water nice and cool, but late day thunderstorms have kept the Yough at slightly above average flows. 

We have been running multiple trips daily on the Lower Yough with some of our seasoned veterans returning for their yearly rafting trips.  Summer's Best Two Weeks had their first 3 trips of the year with us.  This camp, based out of Boswell, PA, brings campers to the Lower Yough as a guide escorted trip every two weeks throughout the season.  Their trips are usually the first ones on the river, with an early morning launch time of 9:30, and are hitting the take-out around noon so campers can pursue an afternoon of activities.  

This past week, we also held our annual Nemacolin Woodlands Adventure Center staff trip on the Lower Yough.  Their staff shows up whenever they can close down the Adventure Center and we run an express Fully Guided trip down the Lower Yough, stopping only at Jump Rock to cool off.

The first day of Summer will also be the start of Saturday releases on the Upper Yough.  Up until this point, Deep Creek has been releasing water Mondays, Fridays and only certain Saturdays, tomorrow will start the releases on every Saturday from now until September.  These Saturday trips fill up quick, with us only allocated 21 rafters per given release, so make your reservations early for your Class V rafting trip. 

With all the great happenings in Ohiopyle, the town is suffering a great lost to the rafting community.  Donald "The Booster" Harshyne passed away at the beginning of the month.  Bo was a living legend in Ohiopyle, guiding for 32 years on the Yough, Cheat, Gauley, and Russell Fork rivers.  He was a staple member of our Upper Yough staff, helped out on busy days around the base, and ran the Lower Yough when needed.  He will be greatly missed by our staff, and the whole Ohiopyle community. 
The Booster

"Paddle High-five, Wow-Wow, Buddy"

Ever so slow to catchup with modern technology, Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours has just emerged in the Twitter, follow us @OPTradingpost. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Whitewater Professionals....Enough Said.

Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours had a terrific Memorial Day weekend.  The weather was hot, the water was cool, and the rivers were awesome.  We kicked off our weekend with a full 7 boat trip on the Upper Yough.  We had a good, fluffy level of about 2.3 on the Sang Run gauge.  As usual, our stellar staff smoothed the river, with only minor action. 

The town of Ohiopyle was bumping this past weekend with lots of rafters, lots of bicyclers, and lots of people in general.  The gorgeous weather had folks out in full force looking to enjoy the sunshine.  The river was not as busy as expected, but we did have a few walk-ins looking to add to our Lower Yough rafting tours.  A great 3.5 water level kept the waves breaking over the boats to cool down our guests on the 80 degree Memorial Day Monday. 
Looking fine, at Bottle of Wine.

On Wednesday May 28th, Jeremy and Chaz conducted the classroom portion of their annual ACA Swiftwater Rescue class.  All of Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours guides have to take the class in order to guide for us.  The classroom day is kind of boring, but there is a plethora of useful information covered, such as rope throwing and handling, aggressive and defensive swimming, Z-drags, Telfur Lowers, and other whitewater rescue techniques. This past Tuesday, June 3rd, was the on-the-water portion of the class.  All new guides were in attendance and Jeremy put them to the test of their swiftwater knowledge.  The class was held on the Cassellman River at Fort Hill, PA.  We spent all day in the water, practicing the technical skills needed to perform safe Swiftwater Rescues.  The students and instructor had a great day on the water, with everyone having fun, being safe, and learning loads of information.  

On the water lecture.

Kevin, demonstrating proper aggressive swimming technique.

Foot entrapment scenario. 

Rains mid-week brought the Upper Yough back up to a runnable level and we were able to book a 3 boat trip on Friday May 30th..  With an unexpected natural flow of about 2.4 on the gauge, plus a release of 620 CFS from the dam, we saw a whopping 2.9 at Sang Run, the put-in for the Upper Yough.  It appears we were the only outfitter with the fortitude, knowledge and skill to tackle the Upper Yough at such high flows.  There was not a single swimmer on the trip, which just solidifies the fact that we have an expert staff on this Class V section.  The Upper Yough starts consistent releases on Mondays and Fridays for the month of June, and picks up every Saturday starting June 21st.
Boofing a juicy Cheeseburger Falls

Summer has finally arrived with temperatures consistently hitting 80 degrees.  We feel it's time to go rafting, get your butts down here to Ohiopyle to run the Yough River with us, Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Big Bubbles, No Troubles

On Thursday, May 15th, Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours and the surrounding area saw 2.5 inches of rain fall from a massive storm that dumped rain throughout the watershed.  Levels on the Lower Yough went from a about 3.5 feet on the gauge Thursday afternoon, to a whopping crest of 11.89 feet on Friday.  Our professional Youghiogheny River staff was geared up, amped up and ready to go to take on the Lower Yough at its near flood stage levels.  The Lower Yough is cut-off to all guided tours at those levels, but our staff launched in their own personal boats making multiple runs on Friday.

USGS River Gauge of Lower Youghiogheny

Saturday saw more reasonable levels in the 8-8.5 foot range.  Our trainees took to the water at 8:30 AM to get an early morning run in before our guests arrive.  Everyone was anxious to get on the water to see what the Lower Yough actually looks like at these levels.  Jeremy took them out and had a great day, running smooth lines and not dropping a single person in the river. 

On Saturday afternoon, we had about fifty guests check-in for our Lower Yough Fully Guided tour, ready to challenge the river at these extremely high flows.  Most of our guests had previous rafting experience but were totally impressed by the high volume of water.  There were definitely some unexpected swims, but all were gathered up very quick and back in their boats before they could get too far downstream.

Fearless Trip Leader Joel, leading the pack, and busting waves.

Small boats + Big water =Big HITS
Sunday brought a (slightly) lower water level of about 7.5 feet on the Lower Youghiogheny gauge.  We had another medium size trip spotlighting Jean Garrett's Scouts coming from Pequea, Pennsylvania to test their rafting skills on the Lower Yough.  We had spoken to Jean multiple times on the days prior to her trip.  She seemed nervous, with the river levels be higher than expected, but we put her mind at ease, by telling her we have a very experienced Lower Yough guide staff, who are all well-trained at any level.  After the trip, Jean was all smiles and you could tell her scouts, along with everyone else had a great day on the water.

This past weekend's weather was not the best, with cooler temps moving through the area on Saturday and Sunday.  Word on the trail is that the cooler temperatures make a much more enjoyable bicycle ride, and the threat of rain keeps traffic down.  We have also heard that the town of Confluence now has all of it's restaurants and attractions open, or at least will be for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.  The ride on the Great Allegheny Passage is about an 11 mile bicycle ride from Ohiopyle to downtown Confluence.  Once in Confluence, most folks enjoy a bite to eat at one of the many local restaurants, do a little sight-seeing and then return back to Ohiopyle.   Of course, once they return to Ohiopyle everyone loves to cool off with a scoop or two of our Hershey's Premium Hand Dipped Ice Cream.

The upcoming holiday weekend is starting to pick-up but we still have plenty of space available on our Lower Yough rafting trips, Upper Yough rafting trips, Middle Yough raft rentals and have our fleet of over 85 Trek and Gary Fisher bicycles all tuned up and ready to go. 

We hope to see you this weekend!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

April Showers Brings May Rafters!

Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours is happy to see May roll in with great weather, great river levels and great rafting trips.  This past Saturday, May 3rd, found us with a full 7 boat trip on the Upper Yough at a great, fluffy, 2.4 on the gauge.  For a few of the guides, it was their first ice-breaker run of the year but they styled it with the confidence of the seasoned veterans they are.

Smashing Gap

Zinging through Zinger

Proof that our champion kayaker, Ian Wingert, can guide a raft

Back in Ohiopyle, things are starting to pick up to summer speed.  The Kickstand is now fully operational with 32 flavors of Hershey's Ice Cream.  Come on down and get yourself a scoop of one of our new flavors like Candy Bar Overload or Carmel Cheesecake or stick with an old stand-by such as Chocolate or Vanilla if your taste buds aren't feeling too adventurous.  Our ice cream seems to taste exceptionally good after renting one of our Trek bicycles and taking a ride on the Great Allegheny Passage.  Speaking of bicycles, one of our guide candidates just so happens to be an excellent bicycle mechanic and he has been taking time through the week to make sure our fleet is well maintained for your ride.

The new trainees have been progressing very well, with them learning new skills every weekend.  They have covered R-1ing, rope throwing, swimming in rapids, and getting back into a raft, just to name a few.  We are glad to have an 8 member training class, which provides us with the new staff that we need, and allows our head trainers, Joel Geesey and Ian Wingert, to spend more time with each individual trainee in order to give them the skills they need to become a top-notch, professional  Ohioyle Trading Post and River Tours river guide.  Our entire guide staff, less 2, will be returning this year so we are looking to add only a handful of new, quality people to our guide roster.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Upper Youghin'

April 18th was the first scheduled release on the class V Upper Yough and Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours was out in full force.  A big thanks to Bluffton College and Tara Cassalino for booking with us.  We had 60 degrees and bluebird skies, with the gauge reading 2.3 at Sang Run.  Our stellar Upper Yough guides, Chaz, Chris, Joel, and Jeremy ran the river like there was no off-season with great lines had by all.  The steep, tight, and technical rapids of the Upper Yough definitely caused some unexpected swims, but with our safety boater Ian Wingert (who is the current Upper Yough Short Boat champion) and exceptional guide staff, all swimmers were gathered up and put back in their boats as quickly as possible.

The Rooster Tail!

Chris "The Animal" at National Falls


The Kickstand, Ohiopyles premier bike rental facility and Hershey ice cream parlor is now fully stocked with 32 flavors of Hershey's Ice Cream.  Whether you like Extreme Chocolate, Vanilla, Peach or anything in between, we're sure to have something to please anyone's taste buds.  We also installed a brand new, candy-apple red awning at The Kickstand, which really makes the facade look wonderful.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Full Streams, Ice Cream, and Whitewater Dreams

Only the second week of April and we have been busy bees here at Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours

The Kickstand, Ohiopyle's premier bike rental and ice cream parlor, will have its opening day, tomorrow April 12th.  We have installed two new, 16 tub ice cream coolers and have one filled to capacity for opening day with 16 fresh tubs.  Having put our used bikes up for sale, we have filled in our fleet with new Trek Shift 3 and Shift 4 bicycles.  We still have plenty of our Trek Navigators left for sale, so if you're in the market for a new ride, stop by and check out our selection.  What better way to spend the first 70 degree weekend of the season with a bicycle ride on the Great Allegheny Passage and a couple scoops of Hershey's Premium ice-cream? 

Training began last weekend with a small, 6 person class, and will continue this weekend.  Even though we had a small turn-out for training, we prefer quality over quantity, just like our river trips.  Our senior staff remains on stand-by, ready for any folks looking to go rafting and to help the new guide candidates learn their way on the river.

Two of our returning staff members, Jamie Rosenberger and Ian Wingert, participated in the 2014 Top Yough Race.  Jamie took first in the long boat class, and Ian took 2nd in short boat class.  Ian is the current reigning Upper Yough short-boat class champion.  Just another example of how Ohiopyle Trading Post excels above the competition. 
Jamie Rosenberger

Ian Wingert
With temperatures near the 70's, sun shine, and great water levels, this weekend is shaping up to be the weekend to shed those cabin fever blues and come visit us down in the mountains!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gearing up for the 2014 Season

Spring is in the air and it's time to get WET!  After a long, cold, hard winter, all of us here at Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours are gearing up for the 2014 season.  Since the snow started flying, we have been thinking about the upcoming rafting season.  

It is also that time of year again where we are looking to add some new people to our group of fun-loving outdoor-oriented staff.  If you think you  have what it takes to join our professional team, please fill out an application and send it to our office.  We will have our staff contact you.

Just a quick run-down for those of you wanting to become riverguides: Training begins April 5th at 9:00 AM at our Outfitter Store located at 4 Negley St.  Training will continue every weekend (except Easter Weekend) until mid-May.  We run training as if every new candidate is new to rafting, so if you have experience, please expect to learn something new.  If you have no experience, get ready for a wild ride.  We will pair our guide candidates with our seasoned river staff to teach you the in's and out's of what being a Lower Yough Guide is all about.   We provide all the necessary gear, lunch, and place to stay for all of our guide trainees. 

If river work does not sound like your cup of tea, we are currently looking to fill a few other positions.  We are looking for a full-time bicycle mechanic who is responsible for maintaining our fleet of Gary Fisher and Trek Bicycles.  We also need a base staff who are responsible for taking reservations, selling retail items, checking in trips, taking trip photos and renting out equipment.  There are plenty of positions available, please phone us for more information. 

With breaks in the weather, our existing staff has already been on the water honing their skills for the upcoming season.  We need our faithful guests to give these guys some folks to take down the river!  Give us a call to book your 2014 rafting trip today!