Every spring, the American Adventurist-based Appalachian Ridgerunner Supreme Expedition Squad, or ARSES for short, host a paddling trip down a 13 mile stretch of the Little Juniata River somewhere between Tyrone and Alexandria, Pennsylvania. Extremely eager to enjoy an adventure after spending much of the winter in hibernation, we loaded the Jeep with kayaks and camping gear, and headed north.
Brandie and I left home at around 5:30 PM on Friday night, and arrived at the campsite three hours later. At 8:30 PM we had just enough light from the setting sun to select a nice flat spot for our tent, but that was the extent of it. We spent the next hour setting up a new tent for the very first time – an REI Kingdom 6. It went well despite holding a flashlight in my mouth for the better part of an hour.
Once the tent was set up, we joined our friends, Al, Mark, and his teenage son, Cam, for some idle conversation around the campfire before calling it a night. As inviting as the campfire was, it was going to be a long day tomorrow, so we had to get our rest!
We quickly discovered that we were near a major, arterial railway, as trains could be seen and heard all through the night; passenger trains, tankers, shipping containers stacked two high. At least once an hour, a train whistle blew, as it approached a nearby crossing.
At the camp office, they told us, “You get used to it.”
Morning came, and we quickly enjoyed breakfast and geared-up for a day on the river. By the time we were ready to leave, Chip, another member of our crew, showed up to join us on the float with his two sons. Brandie and I rode with Chip in his Subaru, while Al and Cam rode with Mark. It was approximately a 15 minute drive to the put-in location south of Tyrone.
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