To begin the story it is important to understand that the Troop transformed from a car camping troop to a more hardcore adventure troop over about three years. Working in small steps, and building from a good core group of people, the troop went from totes to backpacks and has a lot more fun. We need to go back in time a little for the set up to understand how this trip came about.
About a year earlier the troop did a 60 mile canoe trip From Tidioute to Kennerdale and then again that October, a trip from Kennerdale to just below the Emlenton bridge for about 17 miles. We had camped on a nice Friday night and as is the norm for Troop 217, it turned to heavy rain. The rain mostly stopped by morning and we set out in a light mist that stopped by ten and the sun broke through steady by noon. After landing in Emlenton, setting camp and while eating dinner, the silly Committee Chairman quipped, “Since we did 60 this spring and just did about 20 starting from where we ended last time, we ought to just go ahead and do a hundred.” He soon realized the danger of humor when, instead of a collective gasp, there was a general contemplative look that took over throughout the group.
Planning began in earnest in December after we found that the Middle Allegheny River Trail was one hundred and seven miles from the boat launch at Kinzu Dam to the access at Emlenton using the PA Fish Commissions site. http://www.fish.state.pa.us/watertra...g/trailmap.htm http://www.fish.state.pa.us/watertra...leg/trailguide
The trip was very much possible and the lack of dams or portages with the fact that we had already covered most of the camping areas we needed on the shorter trips meant that by January, we had a pretty good idea roughed out with a map and a route. Logistics proceeded over the late winter into early spring. All of the Scouts had experience with packing for wet weather and back packing food as there was to be no resupply. The scoutmaster drew up the itinerary like he did for the sixty mile trip. Adults came up with canoes of their own or relative’s canoes, a rack was built on a 16 foot trailer, and LorNatInc http://www.lornatinc.com
donated vehicles and drivers to get the troop to the destination. The start date would be the first Saturday after school left out, putting the trip in the river when they water should be flowing enough that any bottoming out would be minimal.
The plan had the troop leaving the Chicora Moose http://lodge962.moosepages.org
at 5:30 AM and having wet boats by 8:30 on the 8th and pulling out in Emlenton at 4:00 pm on the 12th. Scout trips as they are, after about 5:31 on the 8th, the itinerary became more of a general list of good ideas. We had had a few days of rain beforehand that was going to be a lot of help making up time.
The road across the breastwork of the Kinzu dam was closed, so we had to backtrack a bit and come in on the other side of the river from another bridge. The water was moving quickly but the launch was uneventful and the fleet was going downhill by 10 AM (mm 197) with the intent of making up some time. We stopped at Point Park (mm 189) for lunch about a mile and a half short of the planned lunch stop. Then it was back in the water until we arrived at a private camp that we had made arraignments to use in Anthom (mm 175) covering the first leg and arriving at the correct location not too far off the schedule for time. The only mishap was one when 2 adults decided to find a little odd eddy current and go for a swim. A hat, sunglasses, a fishing pole and some pride were lost. However it was a good lesson for the scouts in lashing gear in the boat, and the required tip over for the trip was out of the way early so they should have thanked me. That’s my story, and I am sticking to it.