October 13,14,15 2006
The temperature in central Ohio at 8:00am was 30 degrees. It was Friday, October Thirteenth. There was plenty of sunshine but also plenty of wind to help the cold temperatures feel even lower. The leaves were changing colors and starting to look very pretty, that was until the wind blew most of them off the trees. OHCRA’S last outing of the year was on the Kokosing River, between Gambier and the Mohawk Dam and after scouting the river, it did not look very promising for canoeing. Solo canoeists might do OK but tandem? The combination of lack of rain and the Del Co Water Company pumping water from underground wells, made the water level a lot on the low side.
Trip sponsor Tony was the first to arrive. After securing a campsite in the Kokosing Valley Campground (www.kokosingvalley.com) he erected a tarp to help block the wind and built a fire to ward off the chill, while waiting for Harold (who was running late) and his canopy. Ted and Connie were next to arrive and the three started supper. Tony was cooking a lamb roast and wild rice and Connie made chili, all in dutch ovens. Lance rolled in and finally Harold and Laurie graced us with there presence. A real nice tarp “room” was erected for the weekend.
We ate well after dark, only because darkness comes so much earlier now. The fire was stoked higher for not only heat but also light and we also were using an OHCRA taboo item on this trip. A Coleman two-mantle lantern. We needed light on the picnic table for eating and playing games, such as the poker Harold wanted to play with Ted and Tony, and the lantern also gave off heat. Harold won the cards, but mostly because it was his game! We retired to our “winter” sleeping bags for hopefully a warm nights sleep.
At 7:30am, Paul K pulled in to find everyone still in his or her tents and not even stirring. He stoked the fire and slowly people gathered around to thaw out their bodies. It was around 30 degrees or colder Saturday morning with a cloudless sky and so far no wind. After a breakfast of left over lamb and rice and freshly baked bread in a dutch oven, talk about canoeing began. Tony and Paul wanted to canoe, with the other five folks wanting to go to Loudenville to watch a lumberjack competition. After Harold helped shuttle Tony’s truck downstream, they parted ways. Paul and Tony were on the river for 3.5 hours and had a nice relaxing fall paddle down to the merger of the Mohican River. The wind picked up, but was mostly to their backs while the clear water afforded great views of schooled fish passing under the boats. The water was low but paddling solo keep both guys from acquiring wet feet. As soon as they arrived back at the campground, in drives the lumberjack folks. What timing.
The Lumberjack Festival & Fall Foliage Tour was a first for all and the chain saw carving, mobile saw milling of logs, Amish ADZ finishing of sawed timbers and the competition that the lumberjacks went through was truly amazing. After the show everyone went shopping in downtown Loudenville at an Aussie store and ate at a neat café. If you have a chance to check out this festival it is well worth it.
Since Ohio State University was playing Michigan State University we had to crank up a radio and listen. Looking at the campers next to us, it was a good thing we were not Michigan fans! The final outcome, OSU won by a landslide.
We started what has come to be known as “The Feast” by using five dutch ovens to cook garlic chicken breasts, minestrone soup, angel hair pasta w/parmesan cheese, apple cobbler, and mincemeat pie. There also was garlic bread, cupcakes, lemon liquor and red wine to complement the Italian theme. While the food cooked, the cornhole game saw lots of action. Oh, what has happened to us, eating food, food and more food and playing games! Just as the meal was being served in drives Wil. He must have a great nose to smell all that food clear over in western Ohio. After the meal and the clean up, (thanks Connie for doing the dishes), we all pulled up around the campfire to stay warm and socialize. Wil kept talking about setting up his tent but he kept procrastinating. Close to 11 o’clock, it was so cold that frost was already forming on the grass and fallen leaves and Wil still did not have his tent set up. As we all went to bed, Wil just grabbed his sleeping bag and curled up around the fire ring. What a mountain man!
The coyotes were very vocal though out the night and around dawn something in the distance screamed very loud. Paul thought someone got stabbed and he was waiting for the sound of sirens but we now think the coyotes might have found a meal.
Wil was first up in the morning and had the fire cranking as everyone else stirred about. There was very heavy frost everywhere. Near as we could determine the temperature was 20 to 25 degrees. We sat around the fire drinking our morning drinks as the sun rose higher in the cloud and wind free sky. It promised to be a great day. As we sat, the maple tree over head was just raining leaves. As the frost was melting on the yellow leaves, they dropped all around us, even landing in our hot coffee & tea.
The cornhole game was set and Ted and Lance challenged Harold and Tony to a tournament. The best two out of three games determined the champions who get bragging rights for the whole winter. After the dust, dirt, leaves and frost all settled. Harold & Tony emerged as the champions.
The clock was heading towards 11 when Paul, Lance, Tony and Wil went up to the village of Howard to canoe back to the camp. It was a slow relaxing paddle as the sun warmed the windless air. They saw six deer, kingfishers, bluebirds, blue jays, squirrels and buzzards as they drifted downstream. Before they got back to the campground, the other four members had long departed for home, and it wasn’t long before the four of them were also cruising down the highway, looking back at the 2006 OHCRA canoeing season. It was fun canoeing the streams and rivers this year. Hopefully next year will bring out more members and their families for outings on Ohio’s River's.
Don’t forget the annual trip-planning meeting, November 19th at 11:00a.m. in Columbus. Until then…See Ya Around The Bend!!!
Click Here To See How Harold Sounds Like A Politician (Long Download)
View all Pictures of the Kokosing River 2006 Trip