Thursday, June 1, 2017


The gorge is some twenty-four miles of whitewater with only a rail-trail for company. You'll go under a singular bridge between the put-in and the first possible take-out, 9 miles later. That might not sound remote in an absolute sense, but in Pennsylvania it's just about as far out there as you can get when searching for trout.

This gorge's soundscape is geologic. It is the sound of water moving downhill and of rocks weathering slowly. It is one of the oldest sounds on Earth.

To a degree, aesthetics have begun to matter and mean more to me as I approach middle age. Not being reminded of the Anthropocene by sight or sound, for even a day, is a privilege. Places like the gorge are a relief and a refuge for the mind and the soul, where a rarified focus is able to emerge.

In a sense, this was the maiden voyage of our Stealthcraft Hooligan XL as it was the very place we had in mind when forking over the cash. Rocky rapids with names and the maps that show how to run them are the gatekeepers to an emerging wild trout refuge. Like learning to drive a manual transmission on the way home from the dealer, we developed a confidence at the oars in a few hectic river miles that saw us safely through the rest of the year.

Blue haloed browns have staked a claim to this piece of water, descendants of holdovers that found cold water seeps to weather the summer months. They're found among a healthy population of bronzebacks that like to play. It was early June. Tumbling a streamer through the boulders brought many fish to hand and an evening slate drake hatch turned a tail out on as the sun set and darkness crept into the gorge.

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