There is an event that takes place about a mile or two -probably more like 3 miles perhaps -from my home every year, on the last Saturday of March and it's something that really brings the old village to life!
It's a canoe/kayak race on the stream that runs through the ghost town of Peale down in the woods here!
This race has been happening for I think forty plus years now if I'm not mistaken and it's become really popular and quite well known too. It's one of the better white water races at least in the eastern part of the United States, for sure.
It begins at the bridge in Peale that crosses over the Red Moshannon Creek and proceeds seven miles downstream to the bridge at the foot of Cooper Mountain on Route 53 where the Red Moshannon and the Black Moshannon streams converge and from there, the water goes on to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
The son of my neighbors and good friends has taken part in many, many of these events and this past Saturday was no different. As I was coming home from helping at a funeral dinner at our church, I saw the neighbors' son pulling away from his parents home and motioned to him to pull off for a minute so I could find out how he made out this year.
No big surprise to me when he said he'd taken Second Place! So congratulations to you -Howie Pillot -for another race well done!
This year though the race came very close to having a tragedy as one of the participants had his canoe flip on him near the finish line and he was seen floating in the water near the bridge. Someone on the sidelines managed to pull him out and began doing CPR on him and the local EMTs and other emergency personnel were notified. Initially, he was taken to a local hospital and from there transferred to Pittsburgh to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The reports from the local newspaper today say he is in critical condition there. (I was going to link this to the story from the local paper but they don't have archives in place to my knowledge on their website so the story would end up being replaced tomorrow.)
Anyway, the racer involved was George Lockey, a 62-year-old man from Kylertown, a little village about 4 miles from where I live. George is a retired firefighter from Washington, D.C. and since moving back to his (and his wife's) home area, he's been really active in many events of the outdoor variety, especially hiking through many of the forest areas in about a 3-4 county radius. He also is an excellent photographer and has a portfolio of many, many woodland scenes of this region as well as some really outstanding pictures of wildlife in the region too -especially of some of the rattlesnakes he has encountered in his hikes.
I wish I could find his website with his photography posted there so everyone could see some of the fantastic pictures he has taken and also, as a way to show folks the beauty of this region. Words really don't do it justice but George's pictures do just that!
So please, say some prayers for George that he has a full and speedy recovery and also for his wife, Sharon, and their family as they go through the waiting process at the hospital.
(If anyone reading this is on Facebook, you can access a fan page about the Red Moshannon Race via Facebook and see some of the terrific photos posted over this past weekend of various racers running the rapids on this race.)