April Trip to Pennsylvania
April 28, 2007

On Saturday, April 27, I met Mike McCrae, Vic Chenwith, and Vic's paddling grandson CG in Freeland, Md.  We caravaned up to the swap meet at Blue Mountain Outfitters.  It was my first trip to BMO, and I was suitably impressed by the breadth of paddling products, the friendly staff, and the general paddling camraderie.  I picked up a couple of thwarts for a project boat, some foam, and a boat license, then hung around talking paddling.  I ran into Hap who I met at Raystown last October and Phil Dawson, who'd been in our group on last spring's Lehigh trip.  Dave, who I'd boated with on the Breeches was working at BMO.  Mike, of course, seemed to know everybody.  Somebody was selling airbags and that reminded me I needed a replacement airbag for the Tripper.  His bags weren't going to work, so back into BMO went me and my MasterCard to pick up a set.  It was a very laid back morning of browsing paddling products and talking paddling with new and old acquaintences..  

I'd planned on camping on one of the islands in the Susquehanna near BMO, but decided to go to one of the islands near Cold Cabin so I could meet Mike and a few others for planned paddling on Sunday.  I camped in a nook between the rocks on an island in the Susquahanna near Cold Cabin.
Camping spot between rock outcroppings

Coffee steaming on the "kitchen rock" ledge with the Susquahanna beckoning beyond.
Coffee brewing, and the river beyond
Mike looked at the whitecaps out on the Susquahanna and pronounced the conditions too rough.  I'd just paddled off the river from the opposite side and while there were waves it wasn't what I'd call rough.  Plus the wind was blowing straight on shore, so if it was too rough we'd get blown back.  But Mike was resolute and the boats stayed racked.  

Cold Cabin is the take out for the nearby, whitewater run on Muddy Creek and several groups were gearing up.  Theresa offered to shuttle me, so I rerigged--installing the airbags I got at BMO the previous day.  Just below the put in, Muddy starts out as gurgling rips.
Muddy Creek near the put in
Muddy Creek near the put in.
More gurgling rips on the Muddy
No more gurgling rips, Muddy Creek gets interesting way before this well-known feature, Snap Falls.  This picture was taken by a nice woman named Liz.  Lucky thing she was holding my camera, because a few seconds after this picture was taken, I was swimming.  Liz is a good photographer, but her toss of the throw rope was short.  Oh, well, the heck with the swimmer, she got the shot!

Liz shows the proper kayak line for Snap Falls.  I believe the smooth pour to Liz's left might be a better route for longer open boats.   Recirculation under the pour makes it dicey for play boats, but I think the Tripper would barge through.
Liz plays on the tail of Snap Falls
Side Surfin Liz
A few more rapids lead to "the Gorge", as in, "you're not gonna paddle that are ya?  That's the Gorge!  Nobody paddles the Gorge."  Liz paddled it and did okay besides almost getting her clock cleaned by the under cut at image right.  But most boaters carried, which is somewhat arduous.  Becky is kayaking out of a slot where the portage ends.  The  churning gorge is image-center-right. The gorge

I ran 90% of Muddy Creek standing and poling.  My knees were shaking as I boat scouted some of the rapids, and only partly from being tired.  

When I emerged back out to the Susquahanna, I was amazed at how much the wind had abated.  There was nary a whitecap and I was kind of disappointed that the wind-assit had died, making it necessary to actually paddle.  Hopefully, Mike and crew had a good day on Broad Creek, to where they'd eventually departed in a belated plan B.  Thanks for the shuttle ride, Theresa!

May 1, 2007
Words and most pics by Chip Walsh, with one by Liz