If you listen closely, you may hear the waters calling out to you from the river’s edge. I could hear the beckoning when I moved to this quiet little town tucked in a valley of the Allegheny Plateau. Enchanted into dreaming, I saw visions of Lenape tribesmen gliding silently over the water. My senses drew inward like a breath, to a world that, one day, needed to be realized and after the passing of two summers, I could wait no more.
We (my husband and I) were supposed to go to the city for supplies that day, but as the hours melted in the summer sun, so did our ambition to proceed as planned. It was a simple choice, really. Race to downtown Pittsburgh at the peak of rush hour? Or transform a dream into reality. We chose the latter. Next thing I know, I’m headed for Parker.
We pulled into the lot overlooking that majestic temptress in all her shimmering glory, ready to trade our four wheeled rolling vehicle for something a little more… buoyant. And so it was. A feeling of surreal excitement radiated throughout my being as we entered the house of a new experience. Rows of life-jackets dutifully lined the walls, oars ready and waiting in their respective posts, a vast hall encompassing various floatable vessels, and a welcoming, “Hello there!” filled my senses. Ready was the moment and we were with it. As we were guided in the direction of attainment, we suited ourselves, selected our oars and hopped in the transport van which had earlier been graced with the object of our pursuit… a canoe. This trip from Foxburg to Parker marked our first time ever in a canoe on the river. “See you in a couple of days!”, teased the owner smilingly as he waved.
Riding to our launch point, feeling the breeze flowing through the open windows, I thought to myself, “This is the perfect day for an adventure” and when we pulled in to park and unload the canoe, the determination to make it back to Parker in the shortest amount of time possible assumed the driver’s seat of my ambitions. “Not only will we make it back today,” I thought jestingly, “but we’ll make it back in record time!”
“Enjoy your trip!” our guide wished us as we shoved off.
After spinning in circles from one end of Foxburg to the other, we finally got a feel for the water… and the boat! I abandoned my aspiration of being the fastest first time canoer of all and settled back into reality taking in the green, sunny scenery and the sights of wildlife. Breathing the fresh air and feeling the working of muscles that I had forgotten I had, as we paddled forth. For a moment, the Lenape appeared beneath the shadows of the trees, seamlessly slicing through the water on their craft.
We ventured in to the Clarion River and back out again, continuing down the Allegheny over tiny rapids, past some fishermen and back to our starting point at Parker’s Landing. By the time we returned, we were like seasoned professionals steering straight to the cement slope to reconvene with dry land.
What a refreshing way to spend an afternoon. Out on the open waters without a care in the world. Anything less than a storytelling would not have done the experience justice. Less than an experience would not do anything justice! Summer time is short, but the daylight showers us with the opportunity to experience new things. Or if not something new, then something loved. So, if you haven’t yet, then do. If you already have, then do again. The waters are calling you.
Parkers Landing makes your canoeing experience easier and more accessible. All you really need to do is show up! The friendly staff there will help you pick your canoe, oars and life jacket. You will then load up the canoe on their van and proceed to your chosen launch point which would depend on how much distance you wish to cover canoeing. Parkers Landing has various designated launch points for different routes. Other than canoes, they also have kayaks as well as inflatable circular rafts perfect for an afternoon on the river with friends. For more details and pricing, please visit their website.
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