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Old 01-08-2022, 10:51 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Ambridge, PA
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Jodi and I began the year on the Shenango River, after the trip on the Neshannock was moved due to low water. I've only ever seen the Neshannock with either too much water or too little water. I suspect that "just right" window of opportunity is indeed narrow. The Shenango was a nice paddle, and a nice way to begin the year.

In April, when Beaver Creek was moved to the Mahoning, I took the opportunity to get my youngest nephew out on the water in the tandem kayak. It wasn't long after launching that we encountered the first bit of active water. I knew this was going to be a make or break moment. Had we tipped over, that would probably have been the last time I would get him on the water. My nephew, Matthew, had some trepidation as we lined up for that first drop, but much to my relief, we made it through as he laughed and cheered. Matthew and I in the tandem, and Jodi in her single enjoyed the subsequent rapids as well. If anything, I think Matthew would have welcomed even more action on the water.

In early May, I joined Jim Bozdog and Jim Regal on Tionesta Creek for an over-nighter. I had been trying to get onto this trip for the past several years, but the stars just never lined-up. As the time neared, the water level on the Tionesta was too low, and the trip was going to be moved to the Allegheny. Fortunately, in the days leading up to the trip, the skies opened, the rain came down, and the creek came up. I paddled my tandem again, with all of my gear loaded into the front of the boat. We enjoyed perfect weather and water that weekend, and Tionesta Creek lived up to my expectations ... and then some. This was my first kayak camping adventure, and I was honored when Jim Regal complimented my boat handling and my camping skills.

The club picnic in May came as a welcome reprieve from the isolation of COVID. It seemed as though we were rounding the bend in the pandemic fight. As always, everyone pitched-in and we enjoyed a great late spring day.

Later in May, Jodi and I took my other nephew, Alex, along on Dustin's trip down the Clarion. We were looking forward to this, as we had never paddled below Cooksburg. I dusted off the tandem once again, and we all enjoyed the trip through the Clarion valley. We explored the old sawmill at Henry Run, and navigated a small drop just prior to the take-out at Gravel Lick. I was going to have Alex solo in Jodi's boat after the saw mill, but Jodi convinced me otherwise. That was probably for the best, as he and I almost tipped the tandem going over that last little drop. I don't think he would have appreciated that drop 30 minutes into his first solo trip.

Another first came for us in July, with the evening trip out of the B&O launch. We had never paddled this section, but we knew it would be action packed. We donned our helmets for this trip, and the Mahoning provided the excitement. We were both relieved to make it through Marshall Street, but not all were so fortunate that day. There was carnage at Marshall, and I believe Ken swam further down that day, however, as always, the others pitched-in and assisted the unfortunates that day. I can't decide if this section or the section below Lowelville was more fun. We were thankful for the opportunity to try some new water.

In August, Dustin lead us along French Creek, up along Miller Station Road, out of Cambridge Springs. This time, Jodi and I took to the tandem, and Alex solo paddled one of our Aspire 10.5s. At the lunch stop we found a swimming hole that had a bit of a water slide to it. Alex was reluctant at first, but after going through about ten or twelve times, I know we both really enjoyed ourselves. Alex finished his first solo trip, and handled the boat pretty darn well. That stretch of the French was a good section for a first timer.

We made a vacation of the Buckaloons trip this year. We went up a few days ahead of the weekend, and stuck around into Monday. We did some hiking, explored town, and enjoyed everyone's company during the weekend. The main float on Saturday was from camp down to Tidioute. We really had to put in some effort on this one, as we fought a head wind, almost the whole way down the river. Nevertheless, it was another great weekend up north.

Mother nature set us up for an opportune weekend later in September. We had never paddled out of Kent, and while the water looked a little low, I think we only had the occassional scrape on our way down to Water Works Park. JP lead us on this new (for us) stretch of the Cuyahoga, and it was a great late September day.

In October and November we were otherwise distracted by life. We're still watching after my dad, and trying to clean-out our house, having moved in with dad. We did a little hiking this year, and one bicycle trip; and our bodies reminded us that we had not been biking as much as we used to.

So we wound up the year with the chili paddle at Canoe City. By my count that is ten floats between the two of us. We met some new folks, paddled some new rivers, bought some new boats, explored some new trails, and got my nephews away from electronics and out into nature a few times as well. While we celebrate those accomplishments, we would be remiss if we didn't mention our profound sorrow at the passing of Ron Ells. We are also keeping Sue in our thoughts and prayers, and hoping the best for her. And COVID ... What can ya say ... Let's hope 2022 is a better year for everyone. See yinz on the water!
Properly worn life jackets save lives. Wear and fasten your PFD!

Last edited by Ambridger; 01-09-2022 at 06:18 PM.
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