Big Darby Creek
May 16, 17, 18, 2008



The Paddlers

Ted, Paul, Jock and Jock's friend Bevon, met at the "Bill Moose Muzzle Loaders Gun Club" in Darbyville, Ohio for the OHCRA May outing. Later in the evening Judy and her friend Donovan arrived and after dark Wil and Gloria pulled in. It was an early night for the campers but also an early morning as everyone rose to greet the dawning sky.

Around 8:00am, two vehicles were shuttled downstream to a newer ODNR access spot and parking lot off ST RT 22 just outside of Circleville. The shuttlers' passed Tony, who arrived at camp and got his tent set up and was ready to canoe by the launch time of 8:40am. That is the earliest OHCRA has started paddling in many trips and man did it ever feel good. It was a cloudy day, even threatening rain but luckily, none fell. The ever-present 10-20 mph winds created some tracking problems, especially for the solo paddlers.

The water was high from all the rain we have had this spring and it was flowing fast. We averaged four to four and a half miles per hour early in the trip, with a final trip average of three and a half mph. There were also many strainers in the water as Jock and Bevon can attest to. As the lower Darby nears the confluence of the Scioto River, there are many "S" curves. Starting into one such curve the tandem paddlers of Jock and Bevon were heading right into a strainer thanks to the flow and pressure of the water. In a blink of an eye, they were swimming in the cool water. The sunken canoe was pressed up against logs making recovery very difficult. Jock and Tony worked on moving it downstream a few feet until Tony could reach in and tie a throw rope around one of the seats. The folks watching from the other side of the creek pulled on the rope freeing the canoe from its entrapped tomb. The gear was collected, minus one tennis shoe, and the trip continued.


On another "S" curve, Tony was out of control and ended up stuck on a partially submerged log, which OHCRA members refer to as "Water Panthers". While he was sitting there, Paul paddled up behind him and got sucked into an eddy, which turned him sideways, and over he went. After Paul put on dry clothes off we paddled again.

It just goes to show everyone that even very experienced paddler's are at the mercy of the water god's. NEVER under estimate the power of moving water, especially when fallen trees are involved.

We finished our fourteen-mile wild ride in a record three hours and forty-five minutes allowing us to return to camp before two o'clock.

Dutch Ovens

After refreshments some of the folks headed to Chillicothe to a paddle sports shop, but it turn out to be closed. While they were gone in drives Harold and Laurie. They could not paddle this weekend but they did make it in time for the potluck. At cooking time out comes the dutch ovens and man was there food. A spaghetti bake in one pot, spicy bean soup in another, onion soup, Mexican casserole, biscuits, grilled asparagus and blackberry pie. We ate and ate and then let our food digest while sitting in front of a nice oak campfire. Since the firewood ban crossing the state has put a limit on transporting firewood, Jock has had access to good oak slabs from a mill and he has become our campfire hero. Unfortunately for us Ted choose to go home after supper to greet Connie who's been out of town for awhile. After dark some folks played left, right, center while others retired to their tents.

Around 6:30am, Sunday morning, a thunderstorm moved through camp with very loud thunder but not much rain. Since it was cloudy and the weather reports called for rain, everyone chose not to canoe. After breakfast, camp was slowly packed up and everyone left for home.

As everyone drove away, the wind picked up considerably, but all that accomplished was to blow the clouds away to reveal a beautiful sunny sky. Darby-Scioto

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