“What’s the Club about?”
It’s about water. Flat water on lakes, streams, and lazy rivers. High waves and churning rapids. Water rushing between rocks and sliding over ledges. Water rolling into gentle eddies, or drifting slowly through wooded hills, past abandoned settlements, and around islands filled with trees and birds and not much else. Even water from the ocean, reflecting the light of distant stars before breaking in waves upon the beach. Mostly the club is about water.
“Do I have to be a good swimmer?”
Some swimming ability is essential. You will always be wearing a life vest, but it is important to know how to relax in the water. Sooner or later, everyone ends up in the water. Dress for conditions. Neoprene, wool and polypropylene work well, but cotton is deadly. Be extra careful in the spring when the air begins to feel warm, but the water is still cold.
“But isn’t boating dangerous?”
Water is always dangerous. The club makes a special effort to teach its members how to avoid hazards, and what to do when they do get into trouble. Safety sessions and instructional courses focus on safety. Club members also make a special point of looking out for one another whenever they are on the water. During the winter, the club schedules several “rolling clinics” at an indoor pool where members may learn or improve their rolls—a key safety skill for whitewater paddlers.
“What if I don’t have a boat?”
There are lots of club members who will lend you a boat or allow you to paddle with them. The lack of a boat or paddling partner is the smallest obstacle to getting on the water. The biggest obstacle is finding time to take advantage of all the activities.
“Does the club do anything other than paddling?”
A few things. A cross-country skiing weekend in February, hiking and biking trips throughout the winter. But mostly, the club is about water, any type of H2O.
“How often do they get on the water?”
As often as they want. The club instructional courses focus on safely. Club members also make a special point of looking out for one another whenever they are on the water. During the winter, the club schedules trips from March through November. Some members paddle every month of the year, even during the winter months. There are a wide variety of trips for virtually every interest and skill level. There are slow and easy float trips, flat water trips with plenty of scenery, and white water trips where challenge and beauty appear at every twist and turn of the stream. There are trips to Assateaque, to Ohiopyle and a Spring trip to Pine Creek. Some trips take a weekend, but most are one day outings followed by a stop at a local restaurant.
“What if I don’t know how to paddle?”
Paddling is a skill which develops every time you put a blade into water. You can spend a lifetime learning the fine points of paddling, but the basic strokes can be taught in a few hours. The fundamentals of canoeing and kayaking are taught May through mid-September, and instructional sessions on the Dauphin Narrows are conducted every week, rotating Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings so that everyone has a chance to attend. The club has a good number of ACA certified instructors who teach these courses and are always willing to give helpful advise.
“How do I get started?”
First, become a member. Click here membership application. The membership costs $20.00 per year and that gets you the monthly newsletter which lists the CCGH activities. Second, come to the monthly meetings, at 7:00 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month. Listen as the trip coordinators describe the coming trips. Ask them about meeting times, travel arrangements, and the difficulty of the stream.. There are far more things going on each month than you will ever have a chance to attend, so pick the events which interest you most.