F-Troopers camp out on wilderness island

     That’s why you buy a camp, so you don’t have to sleep out under a tent, right? But we chose to do it anyway last weekend, for the first time in F-Troop history, and we had a great time.
    On Saturday the four of us – Todd, Brad, Donna Rai’ and I – prepped our tons of gear, but we were delayed by thunderstorms and didn’t hit the waters until 4:00 p.m. We pushed off near the village of Dunn’s Eddy and headed down the Allegheny River. D-Rai’ moved quickly downstream in her sleek new camo-colored kayak, and Brad followed right behind in his tiny whitewater craft. Todd and I brought up the rear in my broad and stable 14-foot canoe, heaped over with gear and pulling an inflated freight raft behind.
     We paddled six miles downstream in two quick hours and set up camp on Muddy Point (our name, obviously), on one of the designated wilderness islands of the Allegheny National Forest. We set up our two dome tents and began gathering firewood and preparing food: hot dogs, potatoes, and beans. From 7:00 p.m. until midnight, we feasted, laughed, and told stories beside the bonfire in the dark forest night, lively river waters flowing past us on both sides.
     Sunday morning we broke camp and paddled six more miles, down past the town of Tidioute, at a more leisurely pace, under clear skies and sunshine. We took photos of two immature bald eagles perched on an oak crag above and a mother common merganser leading her troupe of ducklings along the shoreline. Todd tossed a line in and caught a smallmouth bass on a crankbait. The whole overnight experience felt fresh and invigorating, a new way to experience the outdoors. We plan to try it again in two weeks.
    Good luck out there. And have a great week outdoors.    

~ Don Feigert, 6-17-08

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