Ohiopyle isn't in Ohio. The little Fayette County town, located in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania, has been a family destination for a long time. Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania gets it's unique name, most believe, from a combination of Native American words which come together as "Ohiopehelle" which, when translated, means "white, frothy water."
|The main falls at Ohiopyle State Park in Pennsylvania -- June 17, 2016|
The town, itself, is complete engulfed by Ohiopyle State Park...a sort of western Pennsylvania mecca for kayakers, rafters, hikers, campers, and cyclists. The main feature of the park is the Youghiogheny River Gorge which meanders its way through the park. The "Yough" offers some of the best whitewater rafting and sight seeing east of the Mississippi River.
|That's me on the left with my mother, Kathy Raymond, and my brother, Jacob Raymond. Based upon what I know from the background we were hiking the Ferncliff Natural Area -- 1980|
|A seven year old me sitting next to the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park -- 1980|
My earliest memories of Ohiopyle is with my mom, dad, and brother. We would make the 90 minute trip from our home in Bedford, PA for a day of picnicking and hiking. Apparently, my mom and dad were just passing on to my brother and I a love of Ohiopyle that started, possibly, with their parents. My first time back to Ohiopyle as a young adult was in June of 1995 shortly after graduating from college. It was my first time white water rafting on the Yough. My brother, and a group of his friends, organized a trip and asked me to join them. It would be the first of 10 trips (so far) that I've taken on the river with White Water Adventures.
|My first time down the Yough. Clockwise starting with the front of the boat: Jason Cole, David Raymond, Jacob Raymond, Beau Henderson, & Sean Turner. Wow...no helmets required in 1995!|
It was, a little more than ten years later, that my love for mountain biking would bring me back to Ohiopyle. In 2006 Bill Graves and I made the first of three mountain biking/camping trips to the park. We had no maps...but I knew that there were a lot of trails around the river. We ended up climbing Sugar Loaf Trail and riding the Sugar Loaf Mountain Bike Area. It was quite the climb in the August heat. What I remember the most from those first trips back to Ohiopyle was cooling off in the river after our rides, stumbling upon an "all you can eat" buckwheat & pancake festival, and the campgrounds in the park. My mom and dad took me on a lot of camping trips...but never here. Ohiopyle was quickly becoming one of my favorite places.
|Baughman Rock Overlook with my 2006 Stumpjumper -- May 2007|
|Cooling off in the Youghiogheny River after a mountain bike ride in Ohiopyle -- August 2006|
|Riding the Sugar Loaf Mountain Bike Area with my 2009 Specialized Epic -- April 17, 2009|
|Yes! An "All You Can Eat" buckwheat & pancake dinner -- April 17, 2009|
|Camping in the Hickory Loop of the Kentuck Campgrounds at Ohiopyle -- April 2009|
By the summer of 2009, I had decided to start passing on the beauty of Ohiopyle to my son, Alex. We spent three amazing June days camping in the Hickory loop. Alex was only 10 years old at the time and wasn't old enough to raft the lower Yough...so I booked us a rafting trip on the middle Yough...which is much more kid friendly. Alex's love affair with the park had started. We spent three perfect days enjoying all that the park had to offer.
|Alex survived his first rafting trip on the Youghiogheny with the help of his guide, Corey -- June 2009|
|Alex's first camping experience -- June 2009|
|Taking a hike around Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle with Alex -- June 2009|
A camping trip to Ohiopyle has now become almost a yearly thing for my family. I first took Robin to the park in 2011 when we were dating. Her daughter's, Mia & Blythe, have been there with us and come whenever they can. Mia, in particular, seems to really enjoy herself there. My daughter, Emma, and her boyfriend, Cole have been there with us. Alex, who is now 17, wouldn't miss the trip to Ohiopyle for anything. Even my dad and Mary Jane come to visit at least one of the days we are there to sit around the campfire and have dinner with us.
|Getting dinner ready with Robin -- August 2011|
|Hanging out with Emma Kate -- July 2014|
|Robin & Mary Jane dodging rain drops at the campground -- August 2012|
|Robin at Ohiopyle -- 2014|
|Blythe and Mary Jane -- August 2012|
|Mia & Vader in Ohiopyle -- June 17, 2016|
|Enjoying Ohiopyle with Mary Jane, Robin, and Dad -- June 17, 2016|
There's never a shortage of things for any of us to do there. We will usually plan a white water rafting trip for one of the days (although I've yet to convince Robin to go with us down the lower Yough). We all love Cucumber Falls and the trails that lead down to the river where we will spend an afternoon skipping rocks. Most of us have braved the Natural Water Slide (those who haven't enjoy watching us glide through the rocks). Robin and I really enjoy hiking the Fern Cliff Area opposite the town...the same trails that my mother and father took me on as a child. A few years ago, we discovered the Ohiopyle Bakery and Sandwich Shoppe. No trip is complete until Alex picks up his chocolate chip cookie sandwiches and Robin & I grab some coffee. It's all part of the experience!
|Rafting the Lower Yough -- Left to Right: Chris Lowe, Alex Raymond, Devin Seiger, Emma Raymond, Cole Bixler, David Raymond (Mia is somehow hidden from view in this pic!) -- July 19, 2014|
|Rafting the Lower Yough -- Left to Right: Devin Seiger, Chris Lowe, David Raymond, Alex Raymond, Mia Arnold-Scott -- June 15, 2016|
|Successful trip with White Water Adventures -- Left to Right: Devin Seiger, Chris Lowe, David Raymond, "Smiles" the awesome guide, Alex Raymond, Mia Arnold-Scott -- June 15, 2016|
|An ultra cool pic Alex took of me standing BEHIND Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park -- July 2015|
|Another great pic Alex took of me behind Cucumber Falls -- July 2015|
|Robin & I exploring Cucumber Falls on her first trip to Ohiopyle with me -- August 13, 2011|
|Alex and his friends skipping rocks in the Yough -- July 2015|
|Skipping rocks in the Yough -- July 2015|
|Hiking the Ferncliff Area at Ohiopyle with Robin -- Memorial Day 2015|
|Gliding through the Natural Water Slide -- July 18, 2014|
|Alex on the Natural Water Slide -- July 18, 2014|
|Next to the Natural Water Slide...I think that the Ohiopyle Bakery & Sandwich Shoppe is Alex's favorite place -- June 19, 2016|
|The cookies. Alex makes a daily trip to the Ohiopyle Bakery & Sandwich Shoppe to get them while we are there -- June 19, 2016|
I'm not really sure if the tradition of trips to Ohiopyle State Park began with my grandparents, George & Rose Morosky...or if it started with someone else on my family tree. Regardless, I'm so thankful that my mom and dad continued the tradition with my brother and I when we were little. Passing on Ohiopyle to my family is something that I'm more than happy to do. I hope that the tradition stays alive for as long as that river keeps running.
Life is a journey...not a destination.
David A. Raymond -- June 20, 2016
|Father's Day weekend with my dad in Ohiopyle State Park -- June 17, 2016|
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