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Canoe Trips - Introduction

Canoe Trips - Introduction

Annual Canoe Weekend is a regular retreat to nature open to all our friends (and friends of these friends). Our most recent canoe weekend took place on June 26-28, 1998. Our next canoe weekend will take place on 16-18 June 2006 (e-mail announcement to SIS and ISP will precede the trip).

We will be going to Clarion River again. We normally drive on Friday afternoon to Cooksburg (about 2 hrs NE of Pittsburgh) and spend the night in the group camping area in the Cook Forest State Park. The outfitter brings us and the canoes about 30 miles up stream on Clarion River early on Saturday morning (that's why we go there on Friday night) and we spend two days (Saturday and Sunday) on the water (we camp somewhere along the river on Saturday night), returning to Pittsburgh on Sunday night.

Clarion River is quite peaceful, so it is far from white water canoeing. There are a few rapids, so even though the trip is generally safe, there is a small chance of falling into the water if your canoe gets stuck on a rock and the current turns you sideways. We go at a slow pace and have usually a lot of fun on the way. There is generally enough time to swim, talk and enjoy the sun (we always had some sun). Camping in the forest and a dinner/fireplace is also a lot of fun. It is a nice opportunity to meet new people (also to meet old people in a setting in which you may have never met them before).

Everybody is welcome to bring friends, spouses, and children. This is an informal get together and everybody is responsible for his/her safety (parents are responsible for the safety of their children). We had children as young as 8 months going with us, and safety was seldom perceived to be a problem. You do have to make them wear lifejackets, no matter how peaceful the river looks, in case they fall into the water. Kids really love it, are always very excited, and usually start asking "When are we going again?" right after each trip.

As far as the costs are concerned, they are around $40 a person, which is essentially the cost of canoe rental. (The costs of camping and food are usually negligible.) This is based on two people in a canoe. Children, if in the canoe with the parents, fare for free. If we have an odd number of participants, we split the cost of the extra space. Everybody is responsible for his/her camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, and cooking gear: these can usually be borrowed/rented if you don't have them), food and drinks, and getting to Cook Forest State Park and back (this has never been a problem, as we usually share rides). You can find more details about the trip on the other pages.

We hope to have you go with us!

by Tomek D Loboda and Mark Voortman