This report is by regular hiker Mary, who organized and coordinated a float trip on Monday:
On Monday, April 25th a group of eight Ithaca Hikers traveled 93 miles SW to Pine Creek Outfitters in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania to float (paddle) the creek.
Pine Creek gorge, often referred to as The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, is part of the Pennsylvania Scenic Waters system and designated a National Natural Landmark. However, the creek is typically only floatable March through May. Water levels on the creek fluctuate and paddlers have to be flexible about what they expect of their Pine Creek float experience.
This year, unlike last year, we were unable to float the canyon area. Instead, we were shuttled to the Upper Pine Creek area where we experienced class I and II rapids. We put-in at Galeton and floated to Ansonia. It was a beautiful day, 70 degrees and sunny. Though it wasn’t as dramatic as last year’s canyon float, we still enjoyed being on the water.
As happenstance would have it, a group from Trumansburg (organized by a woman named Mary G.) floated at the same time we did. The PCO staff explained that they were initially confused as to whether they had only one group, organized by Mary, or two–silly because we did give our last names.
Two groups meant more paddlers, so we used several types of crafts: kayaks, canoes, and a two-person rubber canoe and two of the guides used paddle boards. The variety of crafts on moving water created some real fun moments.
Very soon after we got going, an Osprey flew overhead; it had a small fish in its talons! I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture of it. We also saw many ducks, a few geese, kingfisher and other small birds.
We stopped about halfway and had a very rustic lunch along the creek bank. Then got back into our boats and finished up about 3:30 p.m. We traveled about 3.5-4 hours on the water, much shorter than last year.
We (six of the eight Ithaca Hikers) stopped at the Wellsboro Country Club for dinner before heading back to town (a recommendation and reservation made by PCO staff). Little did we know that they offered only an abbreviated menu because their season hadn’t yet started. Our group however, sat on the large porch in chilly dining chairs that rocked gently, and ate our mediocre food, served with good drinks, by a cheerful and talkative waitstaff. We floated above any tug to complain about things that were less than what we hoped for, and rode small waves of time well spent–back home.