Youghiogheny River

The Youghiogheny River, or the Yough for short, is a tributary of the Monongahela River in southwestern Pennsylvania.  The Youghiogheny River is the busiest whitewater river east of the Mississippi.  We rafted the Lower Yough, a seven-mile run.  It begins just below the Ohiopyle Falls and ends at the Bruner Run take-out.  The Lower Yough River is rated Class III to Class IV, depending on water conditions.  Inexperienced visitors are encouraged to hire an outfitter.  We chose Laurel Highlands River Tours.  Checking their website today, I noticed that they now distribute helmets in addition to the personal floatation vests that we wore when we rode the Yough.

The year was 1978 or 1979, I’m not sure which.  Anne and I were living in Ann Arbor.  I was working at Chrysler and Anne was working for CSC.  Anne’s CSC office was definitely the more socially active of the two.  It even had a softball team (also know as sissy-ball and/or kitten-ball, this was one of last Saturday night’s trivia questions), the Pinkos.  The people at CSC organized several whitewater adventure weekends.  Basically, we drove from southeastern Michigan to southwestern Pennsylvania on Friday night.  We rafted on Saturday, did some side trip on Sunday and drove home.  Then we crawled into work on Monday morning.

The first time we rafted, we ended up being paired with some other couple.  Things went well, so the second time around we felt pretty confident about inviting Cousin Anne.  I can’t remember how Mr. Bill ended up in the raft, but that is water long under the bridge by now.  Maybe one of the two principles in that relationship could illuminates us?  Enquiring minds want to know!  So, Anne and I were the experienced whitewater rafters and as such we exuded an air of supreme confidence.  This helped calm the other more nervous members of our crew, at least until the first rapids.  Going through the first rapids, Pooh promptly flew out of the boat.  Since this event occurred on the first rapids, one of the easier ones I might add, it kind of sucked the air out of our supreme confidence.

But there was no turning back.  The Yough is not the kind of river that one can paddle back upstream on.  We were left with nothing to do, but follow our guides advice and “Paddle Like Hell!”  The picture with this post was taken by one of the guides.  I think that it accurately captures both the excitement and terror that is whitewater rafting the Youghiogheny River.  please note how calm and collected le Marquis looks in the picture.  😉

3 thoughts on “Youghiogheny River

  1. Yeah, terror being the operative word in my case, *especially* after Pooh flew out of the raft. I know it sounds odd for a person who insists on calling herself Kayak Woman to be afraid of water. Let’s just say I have a very healthy respect for what it can do (-:

  2. I believe this picture is taken a bit below Entrance Rapid (likely where Pooh fell out). Or it might be Box canyon – about half way down, and an excellent place to eat lunch and watch newby paddlers crash and burn. 😉

    I kayaked the Yough countless times – most memorably in the fall — we always took a fall trip to take in the colors. very pretty.

    also, I played on the CSC softball team sometimes. sissy ball? are you kidding!? it can be very hard to hit a softball after drinking margaritas on the bench. it was a GREAT team to be a part of.

  3. Pingback: The Youghiogheny River | RegenAxe

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