River Hazards & How To Survive Them – 1 by Tom Watson

I learned the hard way, why, at certain times of the year – during spring flooding primarily – our local river, the Pomme de Terre, is called the Pomme de TERROR! High spring waters flowing down its narrow, meandering channel clogged with fallen cottonwoods and other debris create ongoing hazards around nearly every bend.

Such it was one afternoon when I found myself in my canoe, forced precariously sideways against a dense network of skeletal-like branches of a downed cottonwood. A narrow opening immediately adjacent to the high cutbank was my only possible escape route if I could free the boat from the powerful force of the swollen current.

While trying to wiggle free with a slight downstream lean, I lost my balance and did a face plant into the tea-colored water. The canoe flipped over, caught water and was forced, bow first, into the muddy embankment. Like a spaghetti noodle in a strainer, I was being pushed to the bottom against a nasty jumble of branches.

I groped through the water and found a handhold on the gunnels of my submerged canoe. I yanked it backwards off the bank and could feel the bow swing around and be pulled downstream through a narrow hole in the branches. As the current swept the boat past the tangle of branches, I pushed off the bottom and followed the canoe through the hole into open water downstream. I popped to the surface gasping for air.  Phew!tree hazard

Author: Riverside Recreation

Riverside Recreation opened in the summer of 2011 by Pam and Tim Sneeringer. We are located in Forest County along the Allegheny River in West Hickory, PA. We have an 8 mile canoe or kayak float on the Allegheny River from Tidioute to West Hickory which will take from 2 to 4 hours to complete. A 10 mile and overnight floats are also available. You will be shuttled up river to Tidioute or other designated boat launches and you will float to West Hickory. This stretch of river is calm with a few ripples, a few deep sections and no white water. It’s a very relaxing and enjoyable trip.

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