March 24, 2006
It all started with a paddling club, the Southeastern Ohio Paddlers, talking on their Yahoo group about canoeing the Killbuck Creek in March. Tony wanted to canoe with them but was busy the day they were supposed canoe. Instead he choose Friday March 24th (had to use a personal day before the end of March). Using the OHCRA list group to communicate, three other members were coaxed into meeting at the Comfort Inn in Millersburg on the evening of the 23rd. Harold, Ted and Sir Lance dumps a-lot (who now goes by the name Haywood) met Tony not only for canoeing the Killbuck but to also pour over maps and plan the Buffalo River trip for May. Sure was strange talking canoeing from a hotel room instead of around a campfire.
After a good nights rest, we hit the continental breakfast, securing some fruit for our lunch, then Harold, Ted and Tony scouted the river north of Millersburg. Haywood hit the shower.
Clark Road crosses the Killbuck 11 miles north of town, in the middle of the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area. It has decent access, so we settled on that spot as our launching point. We also check out the St. Rt. 39 bridge at the West end of Millersburg for an exit site. Thatís where the cityís swimming pool and fairgrounds are located. Now the Killbuck has steep, muddy banks on a great portion of the Creek. Access points are very difficult to find and the spot at the St Rt 39 bridge wasnít satisfactory but it would do. A steep, muddy pull up the 8-foot bank and the canoes would be ready for transport home.
We had a plan, so back to the hotel to get Haywood, then off to canoeing.
We got on the river at 10:30a.m. in 34 degree weather. A skiff of snow fell the night before and the air was heavy with moisture. But so far the cloudy skies held off. We reached our first of 6 downed trees that required portaging around in about a mile. With the shore being so muddy it didnít take long to track mud into our canoes. Saw lots of beaver slides on the banks, and the whole area is marshy and swampy with lots of wildlife. Ducks and more ducks, geese, muskrat, blue herons with their rookeries and a bald eagle sitting on her nest. Squirrels scurried about and songbirds flirted ahead of us.
At one portage, Harold was backtracking to reach a log to help him exit the water. His little Mad River Kevlar took on mind of itís own and buckled ole "Scuba Diving Scobie" right into that cold spring water. Good thing he had on a wet suit. Lance, aka Haywood fell at one portage, but he missed the water and just received a mud bath. Ted and Tony kept waiting for their turn but it never happened. It started sprinkling, but that didnít last long as it changed to snow flakes. The temperature fell as the snow changed back to rain. Lance was going to quit at the 5Ĺ-mile point. As everyone else ate lunch under the Homesville bridge, Lance tried to exit the water, but the steep muddy banks wouldnít allow his escape. He decided to join us for the next 5Ĺ miles. We were starting to get a little chilled after sitting in the canoes eating, so off we went paddling hard to warm up. There is a stone quarry south of the Homesville bridge which provided us with a nice gravel bar to stop and stretch our legs and warm up a bit.
The second part of the trip had more water and fewer logjams so we made better time. The clouds started breaking up some and the air even warmed up.
In this kind of weather you need to be prepared. Ted tested some Christmas gifts, Chota water shoes with Brookies inserts, new gloves and a rain jacket while Tony had a pair of new neoprene gloves. Harold got to see if his wet suit still fit after 15 years and Lance proved his canoeing skills by NOT capsizing. All in all a nice day trip to start the 2006 canoeing season. Until April and the Greenville River trip,
See ya on the water!!
View all Pictures of the Killbuck