Find more of our kayaking trips, times and distances, here:
The Union County Veterans 4th of July Celebrations, in Lewisburg PA, are always the week before July 4th. This allows them to have the biggest parade around, and huge turn outs, because they are not conflicting with the other area celebrations.
Typically the fireworks, in lewisburg, are set off on Friday night, before the parade on Saturday. But this year the weather forecast (which was, as usually, incorrect) called for storms - so everything in our area was postponed. Fourth Friday in Muncy, and the fireworks in Lewisburg included. We ended up only getting some light showers, but for us, postponing the fireworks to Sunday was great - we could go on Sunday.
Although we've kayaked this section of river several times, we of course could not remember how long it takes. It hadn't rained in two days, so we didn't think the water would be TOO fast, but it should be moving, was our guess.
The goal is to get to a good place to view the fireworks, and slowly float down the river as we watch the show. Or, alternately, find a place to pull off and view the fireworks. We did NOT want to get too far down river and have to watch backwards, or furiously paddle to stay in place.
The fireworks were to start at 9:30, set off at the field beside Riverwoods. We decided to meet at the Milton Island at 8:30, take a truck to the boat launch in Montandon, and be in the water in Milton by 9pm. If the water was too fast, we could stop at the fence, there's plenty of room there to pull up and watch the fireworks. (We've kayaked to the fence for dinner a couple of times now)
There's a new kayak company in Montandon, Bics Watersports. They are located right beside Rics restaurant, and they own the property along the river right beside the bridge. They offer kayak rentals and shuttle service, and had a package for kayaking for the Lewisburg fireworks. Friends of ours were on that trip - we saw them off before we got in the water. They left about 20 minutes ahead of us, and if we do this again, I'd plan on being in the water by 8:30.
Because although the water moves pretty fast around the milton island, we forgot how much the river widens past the island. Which makes the water move much slower. We dwadled quite a bit and were almost not in a good location to see the fireworks when they started. But we DID make it, with some furious last minute paddling. :-)
The view is pretty good for quite a distance - once you get around the bend, you can see the fireworks well for awhile. And because the river is wide, and generally slow, here, you do not need to worry about floating past too quickly.
Because the water levels are much, much higher than we normally see this time of year (not dangerously high - just steady high - we've had a LOT of rain this spring) there were a lot of bigger boats. One of them yelled at us (there was a large group, including the Bics group, 5 of us, and a few others that had independently kayaked down for this) saying that it was illegal for us to be on the river in "those kinds of boats" after dark.
I assure you, it most certainly is not. We not only have the required white lights on every kayak, we also had glow sticks and glow necklaces. I even put glow bracelets on the dogs life jackets, in case they fell in and we needed to find them in the dark.
Any non-powered canoe or kayak on the water prior to legal dawn or after legal dusk
must have on board a hand-held white light, which is to be turned on and held overhead if
approached by another watercraft, in time to avoid a collision. (Motorized canoes must follow motorboat requirements – call the PFBC for details.) When anchored in a non-anchorage area prior to legal dawn or after legal dusk, an all-round (360°) anchor light must be displayed. (See Chapter 4 of the PA Boating Handbook)
We found out that we could have docked at the Bics landing for $5 each, and enjoyed their hammocks, fire pits, and outdoor games. That's a nice option!
But it was late, and we still had a ways to go. There is a much closer boat launch as well, on the lewisburg side of the river. We had not parked there because we were afraid traffic would be too bad getting in and out. In hindsight, I think we'd plan to park a vehicle there much earlier and use that boat launch to exit if we are to do this again.
Mariah Quant Memorial Garden
Along Walnut Alley in Lewisburg
This quiet pocket park provides lovely views of the West Branch, benches, and native flowers planted in memory of Mariah Quant. It has been planted with native species as part of the Chesapeake BayScapes program and is maintained by the Borough of Lewisburg as a public park.
Roughly 5.5 miles from the Milton State Park Boat Launch, to the Chilisquauque boat launch in Montandon Pa. For maps, use 949 PA-405, Milton, PA 17847, USA as the address for the Chilisquauque boat launch in Montandon.
Really though, it wasn't too far to the Chilisquaque fish and game boat launch in Montandon. It's just about a mile from the bridge, although it does feel longer, because that part of the river is very wide and slow. We got to the boat launch at about 10:30. So our trip from the Milton Island to the Chilisquaque boat launch took about an hour and a half. I'd plan on two hours, to be safe, especially if the water is any lower, which it often is.
The one thing I'd do differently is be sure to put a glow stick at the ending boat launch - out on a tree branch where it could be easily spotted from the river. We had marked it's gps coordinates, and that definitely helped, but the last thing you want to do is pass your exit in the dark.
We had beautiful weather, it was cool but not cold. The fireworks were really well done, another show by . The dogs stayed in the kayaks and stayed dry. It was a beautiful night, and a lot of fun!