DR. Tarbox

DR. Tarbox



Solomon's Auction & Yard Sale Page

Street Machines

Carter Auctions


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rick Barkley's Journal--Kayaking The Allegheny- Part 7

The Day After

I decided to stay in Buffalo the next day, Friday the 7th, clean out the crap from the kayak, repack the gear, get my head on straight, and prepare to go right back down there Saturday morning. I convinced Bev that kind would be fast asleep, and I could get into the water and gone with no problem. She had intended to meet me in Onoville at the Marina that day anyway, so I let her carry the gear, and she drove to Jamestown to spend the day, while I paddled to the Marina. As it turned out, I could have paddled about an hour and a half, to what was a beautiful wide open valley, with plenty of good camping on grassy islands. With a seven hour paddle to Onoville though, I couldn’t take a chance on not finding anyplace to camp, Thursday evening, so I believe I made the right decision.

I was right thinking there wouldn’t be a soul around Saturday morning, and I got in the water and out of Salamanca without further problem. It was a rainy morning, and soon the water deepened, as I came into the reservoir, making for a calmer period of time where I could relax a little, and just paddle. I saw many osprey in the air, and a couple having a tussle over breakfast on an island, but even though it’s technically the Kinzua Reservoir shortly after leaving Salamanca, it still ran about two feet deep for more than two hours.

As I planned this trip in months past, I was excited at the prospect of paddling under the bridge that carries route 219 over the river, north of Bradford. I’d crossed that bridge so many times going back and forth to PA, and every time, I looked forward to the moment I’d actually go under it, on my way to fulfilling a dream. Who would have ever predicted that day would be as disappointing as it was, not only because the water was still shallow enough to have to get out and drag some, but to have the memories of Thursday to deal with. I strained my eyes at every turn, and searched the banks all the way along, hoping for a sign of wildlife that would help replace the thoughts I couldn’t easily shake. The one thing I kept saying to myself that whole day was, “I may have a mark or two, but I didn’t lose the fight, and I didn’t let him or them stop me.”

My Wife, the Camper

I reached Onoville at 2 p.m., after a 7:30 start to the day. There was a little chop to the water, and a slight headwind, but I didn’t mind, as I finally could sit back and paddle without worrying about getting flipped. Bev was there to meet me, and had already talked to the folks at the Marina. She had the scoop on where we could camp, courtesy of Jeff Davis and the Marina. We picked a spot, got the tent up, carried the gear to the campsite, and secured the kayak for the night. I went up to meet Dan Kartman, the gentleman who’d spoken to Bev when she first drove in. Dan’s a great guy, a retired teacher, and he knew where I was coming from, dealing with troubled kids. I really enjoyed talking with him, and he gave us a tip on where to have dinner.

We were back at the campsite, as I got ready for a shower and change of clothes, when Dan drove through just to make sure we were settled okay before he went home. We chatted some more, and then I got myself ready for a nice evening with my soul mate. It was a quick hop to the Horseshoe Inn, where the food was good, the beer was cold, and the conversation helped Bev understand more about why a guy like me would want to keep going, after Salamanca. It was a split between not wanting to have to admit failure to complete the trip for Roswell, and not wanting to let ANYTHING beat me in my quest.

Rain began falling as we came back to the Marina, and we spent some time in a picnic shelter, as I worked on a few stubborn leg cuts that didn’t want to dry up. Bev also is a pretty good minor triage nurse in addition to her other abilities brought out in the open by this trip, and between us, we at least felt sure I wouldn’t be painting the inside of my sleeping bag. She fell right in line with the cramped space of a 7X7 dome tent, and we talked more as the rain fell on our nylon condo.

Seventh Installment: Rick Barkley kayaked the Allegheny River from it's beginning near Gold, PA to it's end at Pittsburgh this summer. Solomon's words chronicled that trip from Rick's brief reports from the river. This is Rick's in depth journal of this adventure of a lifetime, presented in installments, as it is quite lengthy. I think you will find it very interesting. Editor.

No comments: