Lower Olentangy River
May 11,12,13, 2007




Harold and Tony met in the "Where's Waldo" town Friday afternoon and drove down to the "Camp Lazarus Boy Scout Camp", which is just south of Delaware, where they ran into Ron Mills. After getting a key to access the gate to the West Activity Field, OHCRA signs were set out and tents were erected.

There was a small shelter house with two picnic tables and a two-stall pit toilet for our convenience. We also saw that there already were three tents set up at the far end of the field and as we found out later, there was a scout troop having a father, son campout. Up to 150 people were expected. A truck pulled in and the person driving asked us about being there. After we informed him about our reservations, made months in advanced, he left. When he came back, he asked for the key so they could use the field on the other side of the creek. After they all moved over, we had the whole area to ourselves for the weekend. We dodged a very active, noisy bullet there. Tony had been fishing earlier in the day and had enough fish to cook for supper. Along with Ron's bratwurst and Harold's instant potatoes, we ate great. It was kind of a warm up for a trip five of us are taking to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota this June.


Paul Kerlin arrived and the four of us played cornhole until dark. Ron was a rookie at the game but he became a pro real quick, helping his partner win a few games. We then sat around the traditional campfire until the dew was heavy on the grass and eyelids were heavy with sleep

Saturday we awoke to a gorgeous day. Ted and Connie were driving up from the south so Harold and Tony met them at the Thomas Worthington High School at the intersection of State Route 161 and State Route 315. There is a nice landing area close to the ball fields, 10.5 miles downstream from our camp. We parked Ted's vehicle and his canoe trailer, plus Tony's truck for the shuttle back upstream. While they were working the shuttle, in drives Deb and Jock. Now there are eight OHCRA members rearing to canoe the Lower Olentangy River, which looked kind of low and shallow.


As we were preparing the canoes for launching, fathers and sons, some skipping the flat shale stones across the river, bid us farewell. Were they wishing they were in canoes also? The water was semi-clear or to some, semi-dirty and the many rocks, some just under the surface, kept us alert as we darted back and forth. There was some paint left here and there but no one had to exit their canoes because of low water. Another four inches less and it would have been a very different story.

Eight miles north of Interstate 270 on State Route 23 is a Columbus Metro Park named Highbanks. We soon found out why. High shale banks lined the east shore, rising suddenly from fields and residential areas. As quickly as they rose, they were gone until we were looking at a well-manicured country club. About 3/4 of a mile before our take out, there was two small rock dams crossing the river. We "shot" the mini rapids, bumping off the rocks, that was until Ted and Connie tried it and snagged that one rock. Next thing we knew they were enjoying the cool spring water, fully clothed. After their canoe was emptied and the laughter ceased, we continued to the take out. Ron and Tony raced ahead to exit the water and as Ron stood up with one foot on shore and the other in the boat, with the canoe teeter tottering on a rock, he lost it. In one slow gracefully motion he sat back down in his kayak, but continued over the other side and into the water. Ron claims that is an OHCRA first for him, as he has never swamped on an OHCRA trip. Everyone made it back to camp in one piece and found dry clothes.


Instead of having a potluck, we decided to "graze". Wanting to try different foods for the Boundary Waters Trip, one dish was fixed at a time and sampled. The Mac and Cheese with summer sausage, onions and jalapeno peppers was just a big tad to hot. The reconstituted refried beans helped lower the heat from the jalapenos. After playing around with food, we started cornhole games. Jock and Deb had to head for home while the other six enjoyed the evening campfire and socialized.

Sunday morning was cold with just a hint of frost. 37 degrees was the closest estimate. Being Mother's Day, we packed up early, as we wanted to go to Alum Creek Reservoir and try out the kevlar canoes we were taking to BWCA. Didn't want to take a chance on tearing them up on the rock strewn Olentangy. After paddling circles on the wind blown lake and getting the feel of the boats, we said quick good-byes and headed home to Mother's.

Everyone is welcome to meet in June for the Hocking River Clean up. Until then, Stroke and Glide!!


View All Pictures From the Olentangy