Karen and Maggie met in Chautauqua County in 1993. Nearly ten years later, Maggie told Karen of her dream to paddle a canoe from Cassadaga Creek, just 1 1/4 miles from the home she shared with her husband and daughter, to the Conewango Creek and then the Allegheny River and the Ohio River and finally ending up in New Orleans.
Maggie initially thought of doing this in one long, multi-month trip. We started talking about how we could do this together. We both had children still in school, supportive husbands but not so supportive that they were in favor of us leaving for three or four months, and jobs that did not provide for lengthy vacations paddling down rivers. So we decided to start in small segments.
It took us eight years to get to Pittsburgh, PA. Our ability to carve time out from our schedules was hampered when Maggie and her family moved to Santa Fe, NM. However, we still made it on the river almost yearly. In 2010, Maggie returned to the east coast and lives in the Boston area. Karen still lives in Chautauqua County. It is still hard to find the time to take. The farther down the rivers we get, the harder it is to plan the trip and the longer we feel we have to be out in order to take full advantage of all the effort that goes into the planning. In 2011, we will be out on the Ohio River for the first time, planning to paddle at least 100 miles in four days.