Ready to hone your kayaking skills on one of the most interesting sections of the Susquehanna River? Game for a three-day Pennsylvania paddling getaway?
I have two groups of people in mind for our Expedition Kayaking Skills Workshops:
Recreational paddlers ranging from “mid-level beginner” to “advanced intermediate” who are ready to develop some finesse in their skills on moving water. Do you feel like you’d benefit from stronger water reading, ferrying, and eddy-maneuvering skills?
Adventurers interested in joining one of our longer multi-day expedition, perhaps the yet-to-be-officially-announced Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande trip (here’s a talk Katie and I gave about scouting it). Do you love the idea of a giant self-supported paddling expedition, but feel like a “stepping-stone” experience to learn more about what’s involved would help you prepare?
Over three days, we kayak about 25-miles through a labyrinth of islands in Central Pennsylvania. The paddling is great, but we’re here on a mission to become better paddlers! Our workshop is structured around a series of on-land instructional sessions and on-water practice sessions.
We’ll cover “reading” water features, attaining, using eddies, ferrying, self-defense from on-river hazards, and preparing for a self-supported paddling expedition.
The camping is, well… phenomenal. We spend both nights of the workshop at the same campsite on a mid-river island.
You can bring your own gear to give it a shake-down, or use the boats and tents we provide.
I grew up guiding trips on this section of river and I’m thrilled to return in 2021. Join me this June to level-up your paddling skills. Register today!
Matt Stan, Bad Adventures founder
We keep it to no more than 10 adventurers, plus 2 Bad Adventures guides.
We camp both nights of the workshop on a mid-river island. Dome-style backpacking tents and self-inflating camping mattresses are provided.
Most of our meals are cooked together at camp. Our staff has prepared scrumptious recipes, will provision the trip, and lead meal preparations. Cooking gear is provided and, due to COVID, we won’t ask you to cook with anyone you don’t live with. This is gonna be yummy!
We paddle up to 10-miles per day at a sustained recreational touring pace. When attaining (paddling upstream) through islands on day 2, there are times we’ll sustain a few minutes of higher intensity paddling. I (Matt Stan here) would rate the workshop as 2 to 2.5 out of 5 on the intensity scale.
Some previous kayaking experience is recommended. While it is OK to show up as a beginner, you’ll get the most out of the workshop if you already have strong turning strokes and good basic paddling technique.
This workshop is great for couples, friends, and solo adventurers. The trips we plan seem to attract like-minded people. Odds are, you'll enjoy the company of your fellow paddlers!
There’s no singles supplement fee!
We meet in Riverfront Park in Millersburg, PA at 8:30 AM for a discussion of packing for multi-day paddling. We pass out dry bags and set about moving in!
After a delicious lunch we don face masks for a van ride to our put-in. If the Millersburg Ferry is open, our shuttle includes crossing the river on a historic ferry boat!
We pack our boats, then put-in near the the confluence of Penn’s Creek for an 8-mile paddle to our mid-river island campsite.
We cook a carefully provisioned dinner together at camp and set up our tents and camping mattresses (included).
After a breakfast that can’t be beat, we discuss ferrying, attaining (paddling upstream), using eddies, and “reading” water. We leave camp set up, and head out with unencumbered boats to hone our skills! Over the course of the day, we paddle two laps through islands surrounding McKees Half Falls, a pair of ledges that provide great opportunities for practicing intermediate kayaking skills on moving water.
We paddle 7-miles total today. 3.5-miles are attained up-river and 3.5-miles are paddled downstream. Because of the unique arrangement of islands and ledges, we never paddle more than 1-mile upstream at a time and leverage eddies to avoid prolonged time on a “treadmill.”
The day winds down with a relaxed evening back at camp. Good food. Good friends. This is the life!
All good things must come to an end! We awaken to river sounds, enjoy a big breakfast, pack up camp and point our bows downstream. It’s a 10-mile paddle to our take-out in Millersburg.
The Susquehanna River is a beautiful venue for our program.
Awake to gentle river sounds and morning bird calls. Tents and camping mattresses are included.
We'll bring a single-person 16-foot sit-on-top touring kayak, paddle, lifejacket, and dry bags for you to use.
Polish up those eddy turns and water-reading skills!
Learn how to approach multi-day wilderness paddling trips.
Friendly, accommodating, fully credentialed, and always professional.
We’re talking about meticulously planned yummy provisions!
Ride in style in a comfortable Ford Transit passenger van.
We’ve got the medical kit, navigation, and rescue equipment covered.
We'll keep each other safe by wearing masks when we can't be socially distanced.
Transportation to and from the workshop, accommodations the night before and the night after, your personal clothing and gear on the packing list, and guide gratuity.
You don’t need to be a professional athlete to take part in this program! However, you do need at least a little base level of fitness. We’ll be on-the-water paddling at a sustained, moderate touring pace for about 3 hours each day. We’ll also practice skills including attaining through moving water that require kayaking at a sustained, medium to high-intensity for several minutes at a time.
We’ll spend several hours practicing skills at a pair of ledges called McKees Half Falls. It’s a class II to II+ feature in most water levels.
It’s A-OK to arrive as a beginner. However, you’ll get the most out of the workshop if you already have strong turning strokes and good basic paddling technique.
The workshop is designed for “mid-level beginner” through “advanced-intermediate” paddlers.
If you’re flying in for the workshop, Bad Adventures staff will pick you up from either of these Harrisburg International Airport-area hotels between 7:00 and 7:15 AM on the first day of the workshop:
We’ll drop you off at your hotel again on the last night of the workshop. Please note that we can’t get you to the airport in time for a flight on the last day of the workshop.
The workshop meets in Riverfront Park in Millersburg, PA, a town park at the confluence of Wiconisco Creek and the Susquehanna River. Please arrive by 8:30 AM and park on the east side of River Street.
Expect daytime highs in the 60’s to 80’s and nighttime lows in the 40’s. The workshop will take place rain or shine.
You may! Please start by contacting us with a description of your boat. Large touring kayaks and tripping canoes are appropriate for the workshop. Recreational kayaks lack the carrying capacity required for our two nights of backcountry camping.
We tent camp on an island for both nights of the workshop. Dome-style backpacking tents and self-inflating camping mattresses are provided. (You may also bring your own.)
I (Matt Stan here) suggest packing 30-degree sleeping bag. See the packing list for complete details.
Nah. That’s pretty unlikely. The workshop is solo-adventurer-friendly!
You can reserve your spot today by paying a $149 deposit. The balance is due 60 days before the course. Be sure to read the complete Trip and Course Policies.
There's no cancellation fee if you decide to cancel 90 days or more before the course and we'll even refund your deposit! However, if you cancel fewer than 90-days before the course, your deposit is nonrefundable. Additionally, there are significant cancellation fees if you decide to cancel your registration 59 days or less before the course. Be sure to read the complete Trip and Course Policies.
We only advertise trips and courses we plan to operate. Since our founding in 2013, Bad Adventures has never canceled a multi-day trip or course. However, we must reserve the right to do so. Be sure to review our Trip and Course Policies.
Yes. However, it’s broken up throughout the day, with lots of opportunity for rest. The unique geometry of our campsite, the ledges of McKees Half Falls, and the surrounding islands let us paddle upstream, hopping between eddies. There are only a few times we have to paddle on a “treadmill.”
Our total distance of upstream paddling is about 3.5 miles. We never paddle more than 1 mile upstream at a time.
Bad Adventure guides will be there to help! However, if you decide to take it easy, you can forgo the second half of day 2 and hang out at camp while the rest of the group returns to the water.
At our island camp, we use river groovers (portable toilets) to minimize the environmental impact of our stay. They’re pleasant to use.
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