After delivering the van to Emlenton (about 23 road miles), we departed the PFBC access (old Oil City Sand & Gravel Plant)@ 11:30 AM and paddled leisurely down the river headed for Emlenton (I-80).
Had been 32 years since I had paddled this section of the river. Some things were the same as I remembered, other things, particularly the # of homes & cottages, were new.
The bike trail follows river left the entire distance. Stopped below Franklin a ways for the old guy (76) that was with us to stretch. The spot had a couple of shelters and tent pads, tables and port-a-pots for the bike trail. Keep watching for the old tunnel entrance but missed it.
One more stretch break below The Belmar RR bridge for Richard and off we went. Next stop: a nice campsite. About 6PM found a great site river right near the "end of the river" bend. I think at one time it was a Girl Scout camp. Good dinner, nice fire, hot coffee and conversation with great friends and off to bed 10ish or so.
Thurs. morn was cool clear and bright. Breakfast of real coffee, sausage, homemade buckwheat cakes and real maple syrup made by Richard (the old guy) and his brother. 8:30 AM and we're on the river again. 2 hours to Kennerdell and a stop for Richard to stretch. The rest of us walked the entire length of the village (all 200 yds). 1:00 and stopped for the day. A great campsite river right. 1/4 mile up the hill from our site was a nice little waterfall. Water was icy cold but fun none-the-less.
2 paddlers stopped just to hike to the falls and ended up sharing the site with us. Seemed we all had a lot in common besides loving paddling and camping. A great restful afternoon and another pleasant evening and off to bed.
Next morning was another beautiful day. Another great breakfast by Richard and on the water again 8:30ish. About 10:30 had to stop again, but not for the old guy to stretch. The youngest in our midst (5) was sick. You don't want to know the details. 1/2 hr rest and paddling again. 11:30 and we're at Emlenton. The trip was over way too soon.
This is a pleasant section of river despite the preponderance of cottages. An easy, easy, paddle. A great trip for beginners. Saw deer, beaver, an otter we think, 2 bald eagles and 17 heron.
Paddled approx. 41 miles.
2 tandem canoes (loaded to the gunnels) and a WS Pungo
PFBC access permit to use their facilities.
Oil City is on US 62 & PA 8 roughly 1/2 way between Pittsburgh and Erie.
Emlenton, PA is just off I-80
River trail map from PFBC website.