Packrafting the Big Gunpowder Falls – Descent Down the Falls Line

The Lower Gunpowder river offers a quick whitewater run down the historic East Coast falls line, a division separating upland rivers from the coastal plain. Before reaching it’s tidal limit near the Chesapeake Bay, the river first marks a steep descent down a series of rocks and ledges, reasserting it’s authority for one final act. Packrafting the river allows one to see it the way many early explorers did, utilizing the flow of it’s moving water for navigation instead of harnessing for power.
Continue reading Packrafting the Big Gunpowder Falls – Descent Down the Falls Line

Packrafting a Strainer-choked Seneca Creek

A debris-clogged Seneca Creek will teach any wary packrafter how to portage. While the whitewater here is nothing to write home about, the amount of strainers, sweepers and logjam more than make up for any adventure shortcomings. There were at least three times I had to carry my packraft around obstacles and one instance where I was left no choice but to haul myself over some logjam. This not only taught me some valuable lessons in obstacle avoidance but also how to exit a packraft for the great haul over.
Continue reading Packrafting a Strainer-choked Seneca Creek

Packrafting the Upper Lehigh River to Rockport Gorge

The Lehigh River isn’t exactly the type of solitary run packrafters are used to. Scores of boaters and paddlers take to the river each and every weekend, with regular dam releases scheduled to meet peak demand. For this reason alone, it is best to paddle the river in a mid-sized group and treat it as your requisite social hour of the week. More challenging than the actual whitewater itself (under standard releases), will be navigating past the throng of guided raft tours and around the Michael Phelps’ who fall out of them.
Continue reading Packrafting the Upper Lehigh River to Rockport Gorge

Packrafting Seneca Breaks on the Potomac River

Seneca Breaks on the Potomac River is a short packrafting run characterized by frequent surf. The many slots and chutes available on this section of the river make it ideal for learning how to eddy-hop and surf hydraulics in moderate conditions. Full of debris, rocks and bisecting islands, it is also a haven for bird life. An entire day can be made out of just this two mile stretch of river, crashing on isles and surfing holes as they come.
Continue reading Packrafting Seneca Breaks on the Potomac River

Packrafting the Middle Youghiogheny – Ramcat Rapids to Ohiopyle

The Youghiogheny River is legendary for rafting on the East Coast. While the river boasts of many miles of scenic flatwater, it is the Class II-V+ rapids, chutes and waterfalls that garner the most attention. Recreational rafting in the Eastern U.S. owes a lot to the industry behind popularizing The Yough (pronounced “Yock”) for whitewater boating. Although each portion of the river offers a unique packrafting experience (Ohiopyle Falls for hardshell boaters with special permit only), the Middle Yough is the best introduction to it.
Continue reading Packrafting the Middle Youghiogheny – Ramcat Rapids to Ohiopyle