Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tips for Rafting Season

People keep dying or getting arrested on the river. Just today we saw police stopping people on a bank, possibly searching their coolers, and someone was recently arrested for giving minors alcohol. So to make you summer rafting easier, I have some handy tips for you thanks to experience and plenty of stories.
  • Drinking on the Mighty Yough is okay as long as you're of age and make smart decisions. Feel free to trade your Smirnoff Ice for beer with fellow rafters.
  • People have died on the river. Some, myself included, ask, "How is this possible?" upon realizing that most of the river is ankle deep. It's possible by people not making smart decisions, including kayaking at Ohiopyle from an illegal launch site in rough water with a kayak designed for still water.
  • Please don't jump off of rocks close to rafts. I know you wanted to splash me, river rats, but that water is cold and I was trying to eat Bud Murphy's pizza.
  • Eating on the river is highly recommended. Pick up some Bud's pizza, throw some alcohol in a cooler, and for the love of the Youghness Monster, make smart decisions.
  • Beware of mine drainage. You'll recognize it by the smell of sulfur and the orange shoreline.
  • Take life jackets. You won't actually need them, but you'll be fined $80 if you're caught without them.
  • There are some patrols on the river. They do watch for shenanigans, so even though getting caught, say, without life jackets or with underage drinkers or with weed and a baby is unlikely, it is possible.
  • Don't get out in the rapids.
  • Don't go down in an inner tube because you will hit rocks and it will hurt.
  • Take water.
  • Take sunscreen.
  • Don't take anything valuable, anything you're afraid to lose, or anything you don't want to get wet.
  • Don't get in the water in Connellsville until you pass the graffiti bridge. The best swimming spots are after it, and otherwise you'll encounter jumpers.
  • Always be polite, wave to the river rats, and respect the river kings and queens.
  • Enjoy the free relaxation!

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