PaddleFest Makes for a Relaxing Weekend Excursion

Allegheny Recreation and the Allegheny Outing Club partnered to host the 2022 Paddlefest at Woodcock Lake Park on Saturday, Sept. 17. Students met at the second-floor entrance of the Henderson Campus Center at noon. Around fifty students signed up, but only about thirty made the trip. Outing Club chartered a Hubbard bus to get students from campus out into the Meadville wilderness. During the smooth ride through the wooded countryside, a red-tailed hawk emerged and glided to the adjoining field, probably to capture his lunch. 

The bus arrived at 12:20 p.m. and dropped attendees off at the boat launch by the portapotties. It was relatively humid, with partly cloudy skies, a low tide and a slight easterly breeze. Due to this, paddlers kept to the left side of the lake so they would not experience difficulties returning to the dock. The Allegheny Rec Team explained they came earlier in the morning to set up a wide array of kayaks and paddleboards, while the Outing Club vehicle came late with the canoes due to difficulties with the trailer hitch. Jared Luteran, director of Allegheny Recreation, reviewed non-motor boating safety instructions such as lifejacket wearing and keeping hands on the t-grip of the paddle. 

Michel Ford, ’25, rowed off into the steady, murky water at the bow of a red canoe. Toward the dam, a couple of canoers perched on the rocks. Ford enjoys spending time on the water because it is “pretty chill” and forces them to get a good workout. 

Ford shouted “Ahoy!” to a gray canoe, whose shipmates were no strangers to the water. Peyton Bender, ’26, has always been called to the water and loves swimming and boating.

Ford  also spotted what he at first thought was a blue jay but was actually an eastern kingbird. 

Canoes were not the only equipment available; Phoebe Tebbs, ’26, paddleboarded across the water. Phoebe said she found the experience fun and peaceful and enjoyed the “sway of the water.” Azalia spoke highly of the “perfect weather.” 

As it was approaching 2 p.m. and everyone was rounding up watercraft to depart, one first-year fell into the depths! She was fine — besides misplacing her sunglasses. The Rec team and a few others packed up, and all were soon off, just in time for students to head to Wing Fest.