Written by Trisha Ries
There is a local Pioneer floating around these parts. Here is tale of a man often seen by the river, who is strong as an ox and adorned in overalls. I’m talking about Marty Cox, of course, the man who is a jack of all trades and co-founder of Chiques Rock Outfitters.
What was your inspiration behind Chiques Rock Outfitters? “An economic downturn in the trucking industry forced me into a layoff after moving to Louisville, Kentucky for Yellow Freight. Ms. Tibbens and I took up kayaking the summer of ‘08, she on the Susquehanna, and myself down South. I moved back, we purchased five canoes, six kayaks, and the necessary insurance and started Chiques Rock Outfitters.”
You currently run out of two locations, are there any plans to expand your locations? Has there been any progress with your GoFundme? “We purchased the property on Furnace Road when it was finally decided by the powes that be to break ground on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail. Since the trail bisects the property, and us being an outfitter, it was just a perfect fit. The earliest deed on the property was discovered to be 1721. We are constantly researching the place and it’s historic relevance to the industry that once adorned the banks of the Susquehanna. The house is from right around that time. We figured that there were wood framed structures prior to the stone house that still stands today. The place was about a month from falling in when we bought it. The GoFundme page was started to help offset the cost of the repairs that are needed to restore it as our home and preserve the history that once was.”
Is there something that you offer at one location vs the other? What else do you offer outside of rentals for the river (canoes, kayaks, etc.)? “We are steadily growing into a full service outfitter like the ones at Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, and along the rivers in West Virginia. We rent and shuttle kayaks and canoes, we rent bicycles for the trail, and we have climbing available through an adventure company called Valley To Summit, LLC. With the completion of the trail to Columbia, we can now offer package deals such as: climb for 4 hours, have a hearty campfire lunch, kayak to Columbia River Park, and bike back to the Base Camp. All in one day.”
I know that you come across a lot of wildlife along the river, what is the craziest/coolest thing that you have experienced on the river? “The River Otters have to be my favorite. That and the many eagle sightings that we have year round.”
You’re quite involved within the community, what groups do you currently work with? “We work with a lot of scouting groups and groups from the area universities. We are also big fans of PA Rivertownes.” It’s never too early to be thinking ahead, and wishing for warmer weather. Does Chiques Rock Outfitters have anything new and exciting planned for the spring? “A new collaboration with the kind folks at Cycle Works in Wrightsville will allow us to put better quality bicycles into the operation. We are also going to be running as many package deals as we can. Let’s face it, the less gasoline that we have to use in the way of shuttling people and boats, the better off we are as a society. We are totally looking at some cross country ski rentals and the opening of our general store on the Furnace Road premises.”
I know that you also run Uber in the city, do you ever sleep? What is your favorite thing to do when you have a minute to yourself? “When the income stream slows down from boating, biking, and climbing, the bills keep coming, thus the Uber. That and whatever else I can find to do. I also like to hunt waterfowl on this magnificent resource that graces us to the west. Someday we would like to begin guiding waterfowl hunts, as well.” If you are a river rat or just looking to have an experience of a lifetime, look no further. Chiques Rock Outfitters has your back, and so do the awesome people that work there. Thanks, Marty!