Little Muskingum River
I left home around
8:45a.m. knowing that I had a 3.5 to 4 hour drive to Wingette Run, in
southeastern Ohio, where the canoe livery is and our camp for the weekend. I
drove into Marietta where I see could mud from the massive flooding they had just 6
days ago. Rain from hurricane Ivan dropped more than 5 inches on already
saturated ground, causing the Ohio River and it's tributaries to rise very
quickly. I could see mud lines on trees higher than my truck. At the Myers
general store and canoe livery on State Route 26 in Wingette Run, owner Roger
told me that the water was 5 foot deep in the store and 42 inches deep in his
house next door. Everything in the store was ruined and even the wooden floor
was buckled up. Roger was one very depressed man. He had even remodeled the
store 6 months earlier.
I saw the Rinard covered bridge lying in the creek. The flood picked it up off
its footers and moved it 40-50 yards downstream. That covered bridge was there
for over 128 years. 5 days after the flooding, here I sit at 1:00 p.m. on the
banks of the Little Muskingum at a Forest Service campground, which is closed
because of the flooding, watching a beautiful semi-clear stream rushing by, no
deeper than 2-3 feet. The weather is clear, highs in the lower 80's and no bugs.
I ate a light lunch and headed back to the camping area. Jock arrived around
2:30 followed by George and Marilyn. Then Ted and Jim and Jodi. We all sat
around the evening campfire with our drinks, talking and laughing until sleep
sat in. Midnight??
Woke Saturday to heavy fog in the hills. Temperature in the mid 50s. Got the
fire burning again to take the chill off while lazily sipping coffee, tea, cola,
etc. We were waiting for Harold and Lori to arrive as Jock had talked to Harold
and he was coming down. At 9:02 a.m. we left for the put in spot without them.
We drove the winding, curvy St. Rt. 26 north and parked on the East Side of the
river just north of Rinard Mills.
At 9:42a.m. we
launched the canoes for the 13-mile trip downstream to our camp. The fog was
burning off and a beautiful sunny, low humid day was in store for us. We had one
downed tree to fight through and the sunken covered bridge to portage around.
Some of the riffles were shallow enough that the tandem canoeists scraped
bottom. I saw very little wildlife on this trip. Maybe because of the flooding?
We even slowed the pace down a bit, only averaging a little over 2 miles per
hour, arriving back in camp around 3:30 p.m.
Harold and Lori showed up around noon telling Marilyn, who choose not to canoe with George, that St. Rt. 26 was closed a few miles north of where we put in. They stayed at a forest service campground Friday night, and then found the detour around Saturday.
After a brief relaxing, clothes changing break, we started the potluck. There
was food to feed an army, Polish sausage and potatoes, spaghetti salad, garden
salad, spaghetti with homemade sauce, cornbread, baked beans, hamburger helper,
polish sausage in sauce, etc. Jock disappeared. We thought maybe he went into
town for desert but no; he went down the road to a fish fry at a local church.
With full bellies we all sat around the campfire until bedtime. I was the last
person to turn in and when I lay down and looked at my watch it was only
9:25p.m. I think we all slept well that night.
Sunday morning we
awoke to the sound of chopping. Jock was splitting wood for the fire. A nice
warm bed of coals greeted me as I emerged from my truck into the 50-degree air.
Jock was getting the coals ready for Harold who was cooking all of us pancakes
and sausage on his "BIG DADDY SKILLET." It's one hell of a skillet; I'd say 20
to 24 inches across. After a wonderful breakfast we shuttled vehicles 4 miles
downstream. Back at camp we launched the canoes into another beautiful, sunny
September day. We saw lots of trash from the flood. I acquired an aluminum beer
keg. The beer was gone but hey, there's a $10.00 deposit on those things.
An hour and a half later we took out at the Hune Covered Bridge. After securing the canoes to our vehicles we said our farewells to each other and to another OHCRA canoe outing and the last in Ohio for this year.
That's it for the 2004-canoeing season. Until the 2005 season…
May you never be up the creek without your paddle!!
View All Pictures of the Little Muskingum Trip