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trip and gear report from kayaking Grand Canyon Pine Creek, PA

In the things to do thread I mentioned that I had a plan to do Pine Creek. Well, Mon and Tue thats where I was. Two of us did Ansonia to Hoffman campground on Mon, then Hoffman to Blackwell Tues. We used Pine Creek Outfitters to shuttle the truck to Blackwell.


So to start.. I packed a little heavy because Temps were supposed to be in the 30's in Wellsboro, that changed to the 40's, however, in the gorge, you take about 15F off.

Boat is a 2000 Carolina 14.5, the other was a 2000 Old Town Castine. The Carolina is the boat I got for my son. I actually never paddled it before this. I like it. Primary stability is great, secondary, not so much. I did have to save once with a hard low brace. It doesnt like to edge like my boat does.

Aft hatch. Tent poles, coffee press, 550, cook set (optimus terra HE, pocket rocket, isopro). mattress, filter, extra paddle.

Cockpit. Platypus, dry box, PFD, skirt (seals sneak), paddle float, pump, headlight. Paddle inside. Lunch and coffee in a dry bag behind the seat.

Front Hatch. TP, 1st aid/meds, dawn and sponge, tarp, chair, tomahawk, saw, scoop, tent. Emergency blanket, 30deg mummy bag (surplus) and a fleece bag (coleman)

Fire kit. extra knife, multi tool, striker, zippo, esbit tablets, and a pill bottle with cotton balls coated in Vaseline.

We were feet wet at 930a in Ansonia at Pine Creek Outfitters. They ferried the truck to Black Walnut Bottom where we took out. The water was at 2.44 when we started, slightly under the optimal range. We got to Owassee rapids around 11 checked them out and ran them, not a real big deal. Might be worse with more water. The confluence just after Owassee is said to be the boat swamping area. Again with skirts, not a big deal. Water was probably breaking over my deck 6-8 inches. Farther down we hit more riffles that had deeper waves and you had to pay more attention. The Pine Creek at this level seemed to be split pretty equally between fast riffles and quick flats each being a couple hundred feet. Only hit one flat area where with a pretty stout headwind I felt I needed to paddle. We stopped in Tiadaughton (tie a dot en) for lunch and then paddled about 2 more hours to Hoffman campground. Approx 19 miles total.

Gorge temp got down to 28f, my nose was cold. Woke up to ice on the rainfly and frozen gloves. I had slept on my wetsuit after hanging it for a few hours. I pulled it in the sleeping bag for 15 min before I put it on in the AM. Tues was more flat-riffle-flat-riffle water until we took out at Walnut Bottom.

I wouldnt want to do it with less water in it. As it was we did a lot of "kayak shuffle" to get off rocks into water. Not enough to make it miserable. Leave the carbon paddle at home. I brought 2 Carlisle Magics in case I needed to use it as a pole, (I did) or bent or lost one. (I didnt) I would not take out at Black Walnut again. The access is small and the bank is high.

Gear wise, I can do without the full mattress. Had to try it though. With as nice as the campsites are, if I go again, I will bring 2 wool military blankets to make a pad. They will pack easier and have more uses than a regular pad or mattress, warmer than air to. No way you should do it at this time of year w/o a wetsuit and booties. My buddy had neoprene gloves, I had fingerless fishing gloves. I will have neoprene. I just wore a rain coat, over a light fleece pullover, over skirt, over farmer john 3mm, over poly pro LS shirt. Took the fleece off at lunch.


3 Replies



Excellent! Now I'm thinking about getting into kayaking...

REI Member Since 1979

Just to let everyone know. It is the Pine Creek, in the PA Grand Canyon. Not sure how that got lost....