A Morning on the Conestoga

Sep 16, 2021 | Blog

Any day that begins with being on the water has the potential to be a great day. Add sharing that experience with others for the first time, it’s nearly impossible to not turn into a perfect day. 

Imagine my excitement when I was asked to lead some of my personal conservation heroines on a morning float! Six of the most dynamic ladies I’ve had the pleasure to meet through my affiliation with the Lancaster Clean Water Partners wanted to go kayaking. I have discovered over the last year that their hard work, leadership and collaboration have made HUGE improvements in our countywide efforts to repair and restore impaired waterways. How could I say no?

The morning of our launch was crisp, cool compared to recent weather, and filled with enthusiasm as we had a morning out of the office ahead of us. When I go on a kayak trip with a new group, I begin with a basic safety talk and highlight the navigation hazards and water features ahead. One of my go-to phrases is “there is no pride on the river” in an effort to put people at ease. The river decided to remind me of my own need for humility by providing a hefty rock to trip over. The splash of my fall nicely punctuated my previous statement, and provided the perfect ice breaker.

With the formalities out of the way, we began our trip. 

We launched from the northern end of the Conestoga Greenway trail on South Conestoga Drive with the plan to float to the Dirty Ole Tavern. Along the way, I took turns engaging with the crew. We shared personal anecdotes and river history, but mostly I watched. You see, as much as I love the river, I love watching people experience the river. It’s surprising what it reveals. I saw a grown woman connect with her inner child, fascinated with aquatic insect life. I saw others show trepidation, confidence, and joy. I saw the thrill of discovery, new perspectives mingled with comfortable familiarity. I saw people who work tirelessly to protect the water take the time to enjoy the water. The river is like that. It weaves the history of its past with the condition of its present with the possibilities of the future. It connects us to our culture, to our humanity and to each other. You need to pay attention, though, because those moments pass like the unending flow of the water downstream. 

We finished the trip with a humble but tasty lunch at the Dirty Ole Tavern. Where my resounding splash punctuated the start of the trip, laughter and pleasant conversations punctuated its end. 

I’m looking forward to the next time I have the opportunity to work (or float) with my friends Allyson, Emily, Lisa, Sarah, Kristen and Lauren on those efforts that will keep the water flowing, clean and clear by 2040. 

In the meantime I have to ask, what’s your story?

Written by Todd Roy, President of the Conestoga River Club. 

To engage with the Conestoga River Club, join the conversation on the Conestoga River Club Community Forum on Facebook or sign up for their mailing list on their website (https://conestogariverclub.org).