Rafting on the Youghiogheny

The Lower Youghiogheny, to be specific. The Upper Yough is a bit, um, feistier than the Lower. The Lower has rapids rated at mostly Class III's plus a couple near-IV's, or mostly II's plus a couple of III's, depending on whom you ask. (For example, this outfitter says II's and III's.)

Anyway, these are pictures from the Champaign Ski Club's white-water rafting trip over Labor Day Weekend, 1997. This trip is a long-time annual event, but it's the first time LG and I went along. It was a blast. I'm already ready for next year.

Waterfalls and Fallingwater

We did not go over this waterfall. The put-in point at Ohiopyle is immediately downstream of it. Two of these photos were taken at night (obviously). The house is Frank Lloyd's famous "Fallingwater", which is along the road from our campsite to Ohiopyle. Some members of our group (including LG) touristed here on Day 2, instead of rafting.

Getting ready to go

My crewmates, Tina, Dave (our captain), and LG. Also variously visible: Dennis, Jake, Laura, Joe, Steve (bent over in front of Joe), Sheryl, and Phil (bent over in front of Sheryl).


Here's most of our group going through River's End rapids. It's called that because from a distance it looks as though the river just runs into a giant rock wall. The illusion is formed partially by the big rock you can see right above everyone in most of these pictures, and partially by the even bigger one that I was standing on to take the pictures. Let's just see how many of these people I can identify...

Clockwise: Cindy, Twyla, Bill (captain), and John.

"The Boys", aka "The Testosterone Boat", clockwise: Mark, Brandon, Matt (captain?), and another Mark.

Clockwise: Neil, Kari, Christopher, Dennis (captain), Jake, and Laura.

Kristin and Michael.

Matt in his solo duckie. I tried one of these on Day 2 (as did about half a dozen others), and found it quite enjoyable. You'll hear mixed reports on whether they're easier to handle than a big raft. I didn't have much of a problem. I only dumped it once, unfortunately on the very last rapid, earning myself a bit of a paddle upstream back to the take-out.

Clockwise: Sherri and Nancy (the pink-hatted duo), Danny the hoodlum, Ken (our fearless leader, and this boat's captain), Bonnie (the hoodlum's mom), and Cindy.

Somer, our only other solo duckie on Day 1. She made it through these rapids in the solo duckie on Day 2.

L to R: Phil (captain), Joe, Sheryl, and Steve. Joe seems to be thinking awfully hard. Notice that they're not actually in the rapids. They got hung up on a rock just upstream, and when they finally dislodged themselves (and I do mean finally), they ended up in that little eddy there, and sat beached on another rock for a while longer.

Intrepid Lynn, who brought his Real Camera along on the river, capturing the same folks that I did in the previous series. My photos (the ones on the river, such as above) were taken with a cheap waterproof one-use camera. I didn't get Lynn's boat, though, because it was the only one that went through before we did. For this shot, I had enough time to climb down from my 20-foot high rock, walk halfway around it, and take Lynn's picture before the above-mentioned boaters (Phil, Joe, Sheryl, Steve) unstuck themselves from their second rock and floated on through...

Professional shots

The outfitters have professional photographers who sit on the rocks near Cucumber Rapids and take pictures of you having all your fun. I don't know where Cucumber Rapids got its name. I didn't see anything that looked like a cucumber. You can later purchase these pictures (of course) for a fee that we thought was quite reasonable considering 1) it was our first time rafting and 2) both of these turned out so well. If you've been paying attention (and you know me and LG), I don't need to tell you who these people are or which day the pictures were taken.

Much Later Note: Today (2 Apr 99) I got this email in response to my comment above...

I am an outfitter in Ohiopyle and was checking out your web site.  I
thought I would answer your question about Cucumber rapid.  It got the
name from the small creek just upstream, where a large number of
Copperhead Snakes have dens.  Copperheads smell like Cucumbers in the
spring mating season.  At the turn of the century the creek was so
infested with snakes that the entire area smelled.  Have fun on your
rafting trip this summer.

Eric Martin
Wilderness Voyageurs

River scenes

Lunch on Day 1, Dave and Tina, LG and Tina, lunch on Day 2, and an interesting shot of our group gathering at one point. I don't know what happened with the last one here -- foggy lens or something -- but I like the effect.

Shoe stories

Bill lost a shoe in a rapid sometime on Day 2. Later after we took out and were waiting for the bus, he found another shoe lying there, and it fit.

In other shoe news, Tina once lost a shoe in a rapid. A little while later, a little ways downstream, we found it sitting up on a rock. Presumably a good samaritan had found it somewhere and left it there for just that reason.

Dinner out, Day 1

We ate out one night at a family-style restaurant in a nearby town. I think the town was Markleysburg, but I forget the name of the restaurant. "Family-style" means they bring you food and food and food and then a little more food. I know I had enough, anyway.

Our Leader

Ken did a great job of organizing our group, and we paid him well for it when he "fell asleep" around the campfire. We really thought he'd wake up after the first flash photo, but when he didn't, well... To be fair, he only emptied about one of those cans we scattered around him for these pictures. And I don't know what that Pepsi can's doing in there. :-)

Tom Magliery