Allegheny River
September 19, 20, 21, 22, 2013




Thursday morning Ted left his home near Cincinnati for an eight hour drive to Warren, PA. On the way he dropped by Tony's home outside Marion, picking him up, his gear and canoe. Then it was off to Galion to get Steve and everything but his kitchen sink. Wil drove over from Delphos to Steve's house so all four could car pool to the Allegheny National Forest. From Steve's home to the Buckaloons Campground is roughly 4.5 hours so a lunch stop was had near Geneva. The "C Tavern Smokehouse" had the best wings ever, not to mention all the other smoked items on the menu. In the small village of Corry, PA the group noticed a Swift Mattawa canoe on top of a car. It turned out to be Trip Leader Liz who has canoed the Allegheny River in the past and was sharing her knowledge of the area with the other OHCRA members. As they arrived at the campground, Tom was already there, arriving only 10 minutes before. You just can't schedule arriving times that close from such a far distance away.

The primitive group camping area was reserved for Thursday and Friday evenings and the weather was fall perfect, warm, sunny and no bugs. The campground had a great fire ring, plenty of picnic tables and a nice pit toilet. After buying firewood from the camp hosts, camp was set up for the weekend. Member Jock pulled in after missing a couple turns but thanks to cell phones he was soon back on track. Ted, Tony and Wil headed to Warren which was only six miles away and explored the town that was established in the 1700's. Back at camp the small Indian fire felt good in the clear night air.

Kinuza Dam

Friday morning was warm and beautiful. After the usual morning routines it was upstream to the Kinzua Dam for a 15.2 mile paddle back to camp. The Allegheny merges with the Monongahela River in Pittsburg to form the Ohio River. Although the Seneca Indians referred to the Allegheny River as the Ohio the white man did not share their view. The river at the dam is wide compared to rivers in the Buckeye state with Ted complaining about paddling on a lake. But once the seven members launched the five canoes it wasn't like paddling a lake. The current moved along at a healthy 3-3.5 MPH. Black bugs bothered the canoers at the put in but once on the river, bugs of all types were nonexistent. The clear water showed rocks of all kinds on the river bed. If a person stared at them long enough moving as fast as the current you could get lost in the head.

They saw three eagles, a raccoon in a tree and lots of ducks. A fawn was on an island sunning itself and romantic (mute?) swans swam together. Herons and other small water birds rounded out the animal kingdom. Lunch was at a Warren city park where Conewango Creek flows into the Allegheny. There was a small shelter house with a picnic table for their dining pleasure. Just downstream from the lunch stop is about 15 seconds of white water. Most folks took on some water as two foot waves slammed against the bows. Only Ted claimed to stay dry due to the rocker on his canoe. As a first for the club, they paddled past an oil refinery. That's not something you see on a river every day.

The monthly potluck was scheduled for Friday evening due to the plan of camping on an island on Saturday evening. Harold brought in his happy little butt just in time for chicken breasts, fried bologna, black bean soup, chicken wings, corn on the cob and apple cobbler. Sometimes the paddling gets in the way of eating!! After dark Colleen arrived and since she grew up in the area she stopped to visit family first. Everyone kept checking the weather forecasts on their cell phones. Rain was coming for Saturday and the percentage just kept rising until it reached 90%. Plans were changed to staying at the campground another night instead of camping on an island. No one wanted to set up tents in the rain.


The rain started at 3:08 am., stopping and starting a couple times. With hot morning drinks in hand the brave souls pondered whether to canoe or not. A break in the radar looked promising. Colleen, Liz, Tom, Tony, Harold and Wil paddled away from camp trying for 10 miles of recreation time. One mile into the paddle the rain came down, and down and down. Thank goodness there wasn't any thunder or lightening. Sponges could not keep up so they had to pull over at times and dump the rain water from the boats. Rain suits failed and everyone was wet to some degree. Seeing Jocks truck and trailer at the Indian Waters take out made them happy knowing hot showers and dry clothes were around the bend. Only one lone eagle was as eager to be out in the weather as the paddlers.

By noon everyone admitted defeat in the canoeing department and made plans for other act ivies. Jock drove over to the Sky Bridge attraction, Tom and Steve relaxed at camp until time for church services, Colleen went to visit her mother and the rest went into town for lunch and shopping. When Colleen came back to camp she had the back end of her vehicle filled with firewood. The Jock type, White Man's Fire, felt real good on such a damp evening. It was so hot that you could cook a baked potato ten feet away. The rain quit by 6:00 pm but it stayed damp and gloomy.

Sunday was cloudy and on the cool side. After breakfast around the rekindled fire, part of camp started coming down while others made paddling plans. Liz, Colleen, Harold and Tom wanted to canoe so they drove down to Saturday's take out and added another 6 miles to the weekend's distance, paddling from Indian Waters to Tidioute. They floated past Coursons Island, the one they were going to camp on Saturday evening but pasted due to the rain. The rest started for Ohio and home with Ted racking up another eight hours of driving time. Beautiful country, a good current and great people made for a wonderful weekend in Pennsylvania.


View All Pictures From the Allegheny River