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.