Monday, May 9, 2011

Allegheny Reservoir Paddle Trip - Roper Hollow to the Hodge

A bunch of the AO summer crew enjoyed a BEAUTIFUL paddle this morning on the Allegheny Reservoir. We departed Roper Hollow launch (or what wasn't submerged, lol) and paddled a couple miles to explore the north and south sections of the Hodge. High water levels made for interesting scenery. We kayaked through the forest on parts of the trip. A SUPER day! The batteries are recharged.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Another One Bites The Dust

As predicted, I was able to get out and climb for a few hours today. BTO was rockin', "Don't bring me down," on the radio as I headed out. I met up with my friend, Brian, for some bouldering at Rimrock. The gnats were out, but the temps were great and the rocks were dry. We threw down on a project that Brian had scoped out last fall. It was great to be outside -- on real rock -- and we had a good session. On the way home Queen was jammin', "Another one bites the dust." Very appropriate as the project saw it's first ascent. Name: Murphy. Grade: V7.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The art of climbing in the rain

The foreseeable future is partially cloudy with a 30% chance of rain. Welcome to climbing in the ANF. Still, this is not enough to stop the experienced climber. I've been able to get out a couple of times this spring. The climbing has been great, and I've got my eye on tomorrow afternoon... Oh yeah, I'll be hittin' the woods.

Still, the wet weather has kept me indoors more than I'd like. That's why you need a good indoor haunt. And... I just snagged some new, rad climbing holds from AO. My brother, Nate, and I just put them up in my garage last night. We set a new route that is all the madness!

Climbing Rocks!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hector Falls - Allegheny National Forest

All this rain may delay getting on the river, but there's plenty more to do! We got our bikes tuned-up at
Allegheny Cyclery, and are heading out on a bike ride to Hector Falls in the Allegheny National Forest.

I've been quite a few times but this was the most water I've seen coming over them. Beautiful! We spent a couple hours hiking around and exploring a few caves. There was enough water to create some really cool streams under and through rock formations. I was thankful I wore my gaiters. :) Check out the pics!

To get there: From Warren go East on Rt. 6 to Ludlow (17 miles). Turn right onto South Hillside Avenue (also called South Hillside Road). At the T make a left onto Water Street, then your next right onto Scenic Drive. Cross the railroad tracks and follow FR 133 for 1 mile. Turn right onto FR 258 and go 2.1 miles until you reach gated FR 258H on your left. Park at the gate. (41'41.712N, 78'58.845'W)

When you reach the Y in the road (trail), head to the left down the steady decline. The road ends at a gas well in a grassy glade. To the right are a set of small boulders. This trail leads to Hector Falls, a short hike from this point.

Or you can stop in at Allegheny Outfitters outdoors store at 430 Pennsylvania Avenue West in Warren, PA to pick up a set of directions.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Climbing on Hilltop

It appears that Mother Nature is going to insist on a wet spring. Avid climbers will have to be alert and quick to action if they want to have any chance of catching rocks dry enough to climb. Yesterday, my brother, Nate, and I did just that as we braved the steep hike to Hilltop for a brief bouldering session. Some of the rocks were still soaked, and patches of snow lurked in the shadowy places amid the boulders. Temperatures were balmy 45 degrees… and we loved every minute of it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Allegheny Outfitters Outdoors store and Wilderness Trip Planning Center opens!

This spring, a longtime dream of ours became a reality when we opened the Allegheny Outfitters Company Store and Wilderness Trip Planning Center in downtown Warren. 

The store will carries gear for backpacking, adventure racing, camping, canoeing, kayaking, climbing and more, from brands like Old Town, Necky, Wenonah, Deuter, GoLite, MSR, CamelBak, North Face, Nathan, KAVU, Seal Line, Therm-A-Rest, Outdoor Research, Keen and Vibram, among others.

The Wilderness Trip Planning Center, located in the store, is a free resource for anyone who is looking to take an adventure down the Allegheny River or in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF). It includes a large table, and walls covered in maps of the ANF and Allegheny River. In addition, three-dimensional topographical maps of popular trails and recreation areas in the ANF are available so users can see the elevation changes they will face on their trip, water sources they can expect to run across and other details pertinent to wilderness trip planning.

The store is a big step for our family and staff and we want it to be a force for good in our region. We hope you’ll come check it out and get involved!

See you on the river and down the trail...

Brokenstraw Creek trip report - April 18, 2011

Some days it just feels good to battle the elements. Yesterdays kayak trip down Brokenstraw Creek was no exception. The air temp read 41 as we put in off Cemetery Road in Spring Creek, on our way to our take out in Pittsfield on Davey Hill Road. The gage height was just over 4.5 in Youngsville, up from our trip a few days earlier. It took us roughly 2 hours, 15 minutes to reach our destination 6 miles down creek, through rain, snow, and a few portages around strainer-infested waters.

This section of creek is much more challenging than the previous and I would not recommend it for an inexperienced paddler. In spots, the creek would split into 4 or 5 different channels and we played "choose your own adventure" as we maneuvered our way through and around large trees and debris piled from spring floods. At times we found ourselves having to turn around and paddle back up stream to try an alternate route. In one section we attempted three routes before having to portage through an island a couple hundred yards.

Almost went completely in the drink at one point, lol. Coming around a bend I saw an enormous bald eagle on the ground (literally, wings wooshing right next to me, you could see he was just as startled as I was) and took my eye off the ball. The current got me, spit me sideways, and the lean scooped up a quarter of a kayak worth of refreshing water, lol. I just kept thinking... this will feel really good in a couple months when it's scorching HOT outside! An awesome encounter with an eagle though... glass half full, eh?

Overall, great, challenging trip. Enjoyed seeing eagle, heron, merganser and wood duck, and exploring on what would have been a miserable day inside, looking at the doom and gloom weather outside. We're fighting back - and playing regardless of what the weather brings us! :D

Please remember, be safe, take a friend along for company, and let someone know where you're going and when you plan to return.