State 18 of 50: PA (second paddle): Clarion River

Mild, western PA river with small ledge drops and quickwater
Date Paddled: 11/8/16
Nearest City: Clarion
Put-In:  River Road
Take-Out:  River Road
Duration:  3 hours
River Miles: 7
Shuttle:  bike
Weather:  mostly cloudy, 50’s
Difficulty:  quickwater, class I
Cfs:  600

With no need to rush home from western Pennsylvania. we decided to seek out another river to paddle.  The Clarion, flowing generally north from the hills NE of Pittsburgh toward the Allegheny River, came up in our search as a class I/II river that actually had enough water flowing!dscn4433We made our way several hours north from the Yock, meandering through the rustic hills on windy back-country roads, for a peaceful, if unspectacular, paddle on the Clarion.  The section we selected provided an easy bike shuttle on adjacent River Road; the section immediately upstream looked more enticing (better rapids and scenery) but presented a far longer and more difficult shuttle.dscn5383We shoved off early in the afternoon careful to dress warmly for the shallow but quickly-flowing waters of the Clarion, under cloudy skies, and brisk air and water.  The paddle was relaxing, looping back and forth between nice forested hills.  We saw a few kingfishers, mergansers, an eagle, but no signs of people, though River Road was almost always close by on the right bank.This is the kind of paddle that makes you think that it’s way better than being at work! Next time we visit the Clarion, we’ll be sure to paddle the section upstream where it’s designated a Wild and Scenic River.

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