Maryland Outdoor Club
Fri, May 7 2004 - White Water Rafting on the Cheat River (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Jesse Allen, Laura Paszkiewicz
Participants:Jesse Allen, Laura Paszkiewicz, Meredith Gibb, Roger van Boeyen, Ruth Corser, Mitchell James, Malu Silva

Write Up:
It was a dark and stormy night. Roger, Laura, myself (Jesse), and Meredith started the weekend in College Park loading up the cars for the trip and then heading out for the car pool location. Heavy traffic on I-95 slowed us and we were a little late, but Marluce was south of us struggling through the same traffic, so we got a chance to chat with Ruth and Mitchell huddling under the cover of Mitchell's station wagon to stay out of the rain. Marluce arrived and we did our cycle of introductions, then headed out to West Virginia. To our good fortune, the storm broke and cleared out as we were driving. Meredith was in tortured angst since she knew she could be waiting all weekend long to hear from her real estate agent about an offer she made on a condominium. Fortunately her agent put her out of her misery early on with the news the offer had been accepted before we even made it past Hancock. We toasted her success with a fine repast at Hardee's before completing our last leg of the journey to Pinehill Campground just beyond Maryland's western border.

However, while the rain had let up, there was quite a thick fog, so each of us managed to drive right up to, and then fail to see, the sign giving us directions to the campground even though it was just a few feet off the road. The directions on the website to the campground were a bit vague ('turn west at Mt. Dale Road': not left or right nor any indication that Mt. Dale Road only ran east from the intersection). But after a brief excursion down the wrong way, we all collected ourselves at the campground, searched for a spot away from the loud radio of one campground to another right across the road for a pond with loud frogs. In the fog, we were not aware of the presence of the pond -til morning.

Our new neighbors stopped by to loan us a lantern while we set up our tents. Then most of us started thinking about turning in. Ruth went off to return the lantern and ask for directions to the bathroom, but after not coming back for quite some time, those still waiting for directions to the toilets headed off to find her. She was at the campfire of the neighbors having a beer and a good time and she had totally forgotten about the bathrooms! Our new friends pointed us to their homemade facility: a toilet set artfully arranged atop a fire ring. We chose to eschew their fine facility and opted for the woods instead. Ruth, Laura, and Malu stuck around for a while longer and got introduced to the sport of 'mudding', while the rest of us wondered what the heck anyone was doing starting up a big truck at 2 AM in the morning...

The next morning we got up bright and early and I completely and utterly failed to make a campfire to cook breakfast. So it was a quick and coffee-less start to the morning with bagels and cream cheese before we got on the road to Albright, stopping briefly for gas and coffee for most of us, and a chocolate ice cream bar for Ruth. Chocolate and ice cream would remain a recurrent theme through the weekend. We made it through the twisty road into Albright and to our outfitter, where we all got into oh-so- flattering wetsuits before heading out to shoot the Cheat Narrows.

The Cheat River is a wild river, meaning it has no dams or reservoirs on its path out to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Thus its flow levels are largely determined by rainfall and it runs best after the snow begins to melt and spring rains come. We were catching the river just slightly past its peak run. But it was quite good to us, and our guide tried to give us a good run, though some of the things he wanted to do with us, such as 'surf' in the backwash from certain rapids, proved impossible as other rafts were already in the critical spots. On one occasion, we fought hard to get into the right spot an

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