Stage 1 - July 2004 @ Vestal, NY
In 2004, a group of (initially) three paddlers and I began a 4-stage sojourn covering a distance of ~200 miles down the longest free-flowing, dam free stretch of the Susquehanna River; paddling from just below the Goudy Power Station Dam in Vestal NY to the confluence of the main and west branch of the Susquehanna @ Northumberland…just a few miles above the inflatable “Fabridam” near Sunbury.
Beginning in late July, and continuing through October, we began each of the four stages just after dawn to take advantage of as much daylight as possible.
Stage 2 - August 2004 @ Wysox, PA
We hit fog, rain, post-flooding high water, low water, hot & humid days, swarms of flying/biting critters and some extremely ugly headwinds along the way. We had several paddlers join us in each of the stages but, in the end, I was the only die hard (fool?) to paddle the entire distance and complete all four stages.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to write a few posts about my memories from each stage…as I’ve just about given up on wading through my old PC’s hard drives looking for tales from 2004 that were posted under my old netcarrier-hosted blog.
Stage 1 – July 31, 2004 - 55 miles
Stage 2 – August 28, 2004 - 38 miles
Stage 3 – September 25, 2004 - 62 miles
Stage 4 – October 30, 2004 - ~40 miles.
It is truly hard to believe that was 8 years ago. Jeepers…I was still in my 40’s! Anyway, before I get much older and forget the difference between my stern and my scupper, I’m planning another sojourn down this same stretch of free-flowing river. Instead of breaking it up in stages, I hope to start “Brule’ II” in late July…camp on islands, in parks…or elsewhere should a gracious host or two offer a recliner or backyard for the night, and paddle for as many days as it takes to arrive some 200 miles later at the confluence of north & west branches once again. Although I’ve evidently lost a few friends along the way because of my unforgiving “fracktivism”, I think I’ve picked up a few more and will hopefully convince some fellow paddlers to join me.
Stage 3 - September 2004 near Falls, PA
This is not a float trip; for those that think paddling 40+ miles in a day is a piece of cake…circle back next week for my post covering Stage 2, when a “I spend every day at the gym” type person folded, i.e. pulled over at the ~16 mile mark at the Wyalusing bridge and said they couldn’t paddle one stroke further…while another dude was cursing us for paddling too far ahead and leaving him on the river “in the middle of bl*nk#ng nowhere with no bl+nk!ng clue where I am…”. We told him if we got separated again, we’d wait – river left – at the next bridge in Tunkhannock about three hours downriver. He didn’t seem too pleased…so we slowed down the pace for the rest of the trip and only covered 38 miles on a day I was shooting for 60.
Stage 4 - October 2004 near Northumberland, PA
Hiawatha Island, Tioga Point, Singing Rocks, Towanda Rapids, Bradford Bear, Standing Stone, French Azilum, Homet’s Ferry, Wyalusing Rocks, Quick’s Bend, the Ponderoski, Laceyville, Vosburg Curve, Tunkhannock, Buttermilk Falls, Campbell’s Ledge, Nanticoke Rapids…and all points between and beyond await your adventuresome spirit.
Brule II: The Final Descent. BYOB (boat), BYOF (food), and BYOI ( imagination)…and get ready for the trip of a lifetime on one of the most ancient, majestic, scenic and - unfortunately – threatened rivers on this planet.
All are welcome.