Lower Yough

Trip Start Feb 17, 2011
Trip End Oct 23, 2011

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Where I stayed
Tall Oaks Campground
What I did
whitewater kayaking

Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Saturday, July 23, 2011

This was my second trip to kayak the Lower Yough. I went last summer on the Lehigh Valley Whitewater club trip but wasn't able to make it earlier this year so I was excited when this trip came up.

Bill organized a weekend for his church's youth group to raft the Lower Yough while he, Ruth, Julia, Chris and I kayaked it. We arrived in the early afternoon on Friday and set up camp at Tall Oaks campground. It was 109 degrees outside on our drive across the state and when we arrived at the campground. It was supposed to be blistering hot all weekend and I was very concerned because I don't do well in the heat. We got our tents, the pop-up and camp set up and sat around and talked before making dinner. Around 6:00 we got hit with a huge thunderstorm and a ton of rain which lowered the temps by atleast 20 degrees. I was never so happy to have rain on a camping trip! It poured all night, we sat around under the pavilion at Tall Oaks and watched the lightning show.

We got up early the next morning and made breakfast and sat around the camp ground. Our launch permits for the Yough weren't until 12:30 so we had some time to kill. When it was finally time to go we took Amanda, John, Leah, and Justin over the Whitewater Adventures so they could get registered for their rafting trip. We went to the private boater area and did the shuttle and got changed. The level was 1.96 ft in Ohiopyle which is a nice level. 

We launched a little ahead of the rafting trip, took some pictures of the falls, played around in class III Entrance Rapid some before the raft trip started to move down river. Chris and Julia skirted ahead of the rafts and dropped into class III Cucumber Rapid. Bill decided it was a good idea to get Ruth and I down before the rafts came through. Bill led the way, followed by Ruth and then me. 

This was my first run of the Lower Yough in my playboat, I was a little nervous for some reason and it was a bit pushy but still doable. I got pushed into a sharp rock above Cucumber and flipped but I managed to roll before heading into the meat of the rapid. It seems like mother nature/river knows when you are nervous and forces you to deal with it. I ran most of the rapid blind because of the huge waves hitting me in the face. I drove hard left and made it into the eddy. We stayed there while Bill filmed the rafts coming through the rapid.

Up next was class I Piddly rapid , then class II+ Camel and Walrus rapid. Not much to report we did a little surfing and boofing and continued on down river. Bill and Ruth stuck close to the rafts but Julia, Chris and I dropped back some and gave them some space. We ran class II+ Eddy Turn and Dartmouth rapids by ourselves. No one really knew the lines but most of this section was read and run anyway. 

We headed into class III Railroad rapid and I decided to take the route down the "frog's back" since I didn't want to see the underside of Charlie's Washing Machine again! I had enough of that last summer! After passing the Loop takeout we caught up with Bill and rafts in the Doldrums. 

The rafts stopped to have lunch up above Dimple so Bill, Ruth and I stopped for a bit. Chris and Julia decided to run ahead of us and meet up with us at Swimmers. Once the rafters were finished eating we ran ahead of them. Bill set the line through class III Dimple rapid for Ruth and I. Dimple isn't a terribly hard rapid but it is a large undercut that has claimed 19 lives so its nothing to mess around with. Bill took us a little closer to Dimple than I expected him to, I actually clipped a section of Dimple Rock and did my first stern-squirt (not on purpose) but I was just glad to be right-side-up! Bill set up mid-rapid to video-tape the rafts coming through but I decided to go down to Swimmers. I led Ruth past some big waves and holes down into class III Swimmer's rapid

As always there was a lineup for Swimmers and plenty of people surfing. Julia and Chris were sitting on the beach watching the action. We pulled into the eddy to watch for awhile and wait for Bill and the rafts. While we were waiting a canoist swam in Swimmers and I helped plow his boat into shore. Turns out he is a friend of Open-Boat Joe's and is from the Allentown area and was paddling w/ my friend Tony who I used to guide with. Its a small world after all!

Next we continued down through class III Double Hydraulic rapid and made sure to stay away from the holes. And all too soon it was time to run class III+ River's End rapid. River's End is one of the toughest rapids on the Lower Yough but I managed to do it upright even though I got pushed off my line more than I would have liked. 

Up next was class II+ School House Rock and Stairstep rapids followed by Killer Falls which we didn't get to run because the rafts were in the way. Next we picked our own lines through class II+ Maze rapid and made the fun run down the large wavetrain of class II+ Bruner Run rapid. 

We hit the takeout, drained the boats and made the up-hill hike to the shuttle. Once we were back in the private boater lot we got changed then headed back to camp to get a shower. 

After our showers Julia, Chris, Ruth and I decided to go grab dinner in Ohiopyle and settled on the Falls City Pub. I liked it there and the food is good. We must have got there at a good time because it wasn't too crowded and our food came out quickly. We stayed after dinner and had a few beers before returning to camp for the night. 
Things learned at the Lower Yough:

1. Lehigh Valley Whitewater club: http://www.lvwhitewater.com/LVW2/Home.html

2. Lower Yough info: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1687/#tab-rapids

3. Tall Oaks: http://talloakscampground.com/
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