Last weekend, we decided to do a beginner's trip on the Loop. We met at the storeroom at 8am, loaded boats for Laura, Matt, Glenn, Hugh & Peter, and headed out to Ohiopyle. This was Hugh & Peter's introduction to the Loop, and the first Class III water they'd seen from a kayak. The river was higher than I prefer for a beginner's trip - 2.5 feet, as opposed to the normal summer flow of 1.8 feet, but the weather was perfect and there was less carnage than I've ever seen on a first-timer's loop run. We'd meant to meet up with Cornell and Ivan in Ohiopyle, but they ran into some delays in Pittsburgh, so we missed each other. Rumor has it that they had a great time, and ran the loop twice.
Here's what Hugh had to say about the day:
I thought the loop run was excellent. It was nice starting off slowly in the easier first rapids, because it allowed me to get comfortable on the river again. That made it easier when we got into the more difficult rapids. Also, one of the most beneficial things was being able to closely follow others' lines so that I could learn how best to approach a difficult obstacle/wave. What's also really excellent is that the loop provided a nice progression from the middle: It wasn't a huge step up in terms of difficulty, and getting comfortable on the middle really prepares you well for the lower.
I don't think we could have asked for better weather...72 degrees at 10am on Halloween! And it was nice to do just the loop, because it didn't tire me out too much, and gave me plenty of time to get back for Halloween activities.
As my introduction to class III water, it was a lot of fun. Despite having some control difficulties, I felt pretty comfortable. We got down with only one swim, which was nice. And I was glad to have the unseasonably balmy weather, though the water was plenty cold once I got wet.