Written by Chris Preperato


Meatcleaver by Chris Preperato

Meatcleaver was the only rapid named on the first descent.

It is also one of the names that didnt stand the test of time. Tom was leading the way, and as they arrived at a sharp bend, the “skeleton of an old oak tree blocked the passage”. Tom was able to to get out of his canoe and avoid the tree. Bill was not so lucky. The name “Bickham’s Tree Rapid” was passed down among boaters in the Penn State Outing Club, and the crews they paddled with. Bill would later return and run the river successfully in 1962. But when he stopped canoeing later in the decade, a new era of paddlers was taming the river.

Dan Demaree was leading boaters from all over the United States down the run, and several found themselves upside down over the sharp, shark-tooth shaped rocks at the rapid’s exit. Dan and his brother Dave decided to name it Meatcleaver for the various gashes those boaters had received. He was unaware the rapid had a legacy a decade before he started boating it.