My wife has agreed to go on the overnight trip in spite of the possibility of bears and so I have vacation in the middle of June and am planning on the Shawville to Karthaus run. I was wondering if it’s legal and or difficult to find a camping spot somewhere in the middle of this trip. I was also wondering if anyone knows how difficult to portage around or go through Moshannon falls it is likely to be mid June.
Snakes, not bears…
I’ve paddled the West Branch many times, and think you need to be more concerned about racoons, skunks and rattlesnakes than bears. You should take procautions to avoid bears (and sknunks and raccoons: Bear-bag your food, cooking gear, and smelly stuff; don’t sleep too close to where you cook or poop; and make a little noise as you enter a wooded area) but more importantly watch where you put your feet. Use a walking stick to probe deep grass before you step into it (especially where it is directly next to sunny/rocky areas), and be careful when portaging on rocky shorelines. Bears in PA is one of those things, while you need to be prepare for them, you probably never will see one in the wild.
As I recall, there are plenty of beautiful camping spots along either shore. Any private land not open to camping is sure to be posted (look for yellow signs every 50 feet).
As far as the portage, I think I remeber a path on the river-right side, but I’ve not paddled that section in 5 or so years. The folks at Loves Canoe Rentals in Ridgeway, PA I’m sure will know. Here is thier website.
This river, despite being dead, is one of the most beautiful, and non-populated (except fot the trains) that we have in PA. I hope you enjoy yourselves.
KARTHUS TO KEATING
I WOULDN’T WORRY ABOUT BEARS. PA ONLY HAS BLACK BEARS AND THEY ARE MORE AFRAID OF YOU THAN YOU ARE OF THEM. ALTHOUGH THE SUGGESTED CAUTIONS ARE GOOD.
NEVER PADDLED AS FAR UP AS SHAWVILLE BUT HAVE DONE THE KARTHUS TO KEATING RUN SEVERAL TIMES. YOU CAN CAMP VIRTUALLY ANYWHERE AND THERE ARE SEVERAL NICE SPOTS BY CREEKS, ETC.
THERE ARE NO HOUSES, ETC. AND THE RUN IS, AS MENTIONED, QUITE REMOTE. PADDLING IS EASY.
YOU SHOULD HAVE A GREAT TIME!
I live along the lower…
…Susquehanna & hope to one day do as much of the West Branch as possible from as close to the headwaters as possible. This river has an amazing history & the West Branch figures very prominently in the story.
Will be looking for your trip report.
West Branch by power boat?
Concerning the West Branch (and Karthus to Keating in particular) if the water level at Karthus was over 3 feet, could a flat bottom boat powered make it? Any experience with this?