Written by Chris Preperato

Bastard Falls

Bastard Falls by Chris Preperato

Jamie and Tom McEwan were doing handstands on the put-in bridge.

Dan Demaree watched in disbelief at how calm they were before a run of the Upper Yough. He had heard stories of the run from Jack Wright; of rapids filled with large waves and holes, and of epic experiences down in the gorge. He didn’t know those stories were from a high water run, not the normal release level he would be paddling that day. “How can they be so calm,” Dan thought.

Watching the other members of his group disappear over the horizon line at Gap Falls, Dan was nervous. But by the time he was through the bottom hole, he was excited. The rest of the warm-up stretched passed by as a blur, and soon, Dan found himself in the eddy above what the Penn State club used to call Long Rapids. Jack had told him that’s where the run really started to pick up, but he hadn’t told him the line. Looking downstream, barely able to see the bottom of the rapid, Dan guessed where to go. He would soon find out he had guessed wrong, and like other first-timers on the Upper Yough, he’d find himself with a rapid name to mark his experience.