Written by Chris Preperato

The Guides

The Guides by Chris Preperato

The Upper Yough was in the middle of nowhere.

According to Bill Kirby, before the highway was built to Friendsville, the drive from DC took about four and a half hours.

You had to travel down winding gravel roads, often poorly marked, to find your way to the bridge at Sang Run. So the Upper Yough was largely a local phenomenon; paddled by the raft guides in Ohiopyle and the small collection of clubs that made occasional trips.

It was also considered a very difficult run. Few people went down the river without a guide. And if you wanted to find a guide, you either had to know people in the Three Rivers Paddling Club, the Penn State Outing Club, or one of the raft guides in Ohiopyle. So for its first fifteen years, the Upper Yough was the domain of a small, elite group of paddlers.

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Wildwater West Virginia

When Wildwater West Virginia was released, it opened the floodgates to outside boaters.

Weekly trips would find boaters coming from across the country to be led down the river by Dan Demaree, Dave Demaree, and Jim Snyder. What only a few years prior had been a scary river was now just a part of the repertoire. And as boaters got better, they began to branch away from racing. From a collection of high school and college-aged kids, bored in the middle of the week, surrounded by an endless supply of great rivers, creek boating was born.