Little Auglaize River
MARCH 14, 15, 16, 2008




Wil was the trip sponsor for the March outing and he found us a nice spot to camp and good access to the Little Auglaize River. It was in the small community of Charloe, which was an Indian reservation at one time. That is until the Indians were pushed farther west around 1831.

Wil arrived first and dug a nice fit pit, set up his iron grill and basically got camp ready. Camp was in the local park and we had the use of a deteriorating shelter house but no restrooms. There was however, a convenience store / gas station / pizza shop right across the street. Angel, a very nice woman that gave us full use of the only restroom in the store, owned it. Talk about one busy place. There was traffic in and out all day and evening. It's the only place around for miles and on a main road. We were glad when it closed at 11:00pm and the lights went off.

Paul and Judy arrived next and erected their tents for the weekend, and then Tony drove in, after dark, and cheated by sleeping in his vehicle. It was a cold evening but luckily no rain fell as was forcasted earlier in the week. We sat around and talked while trying to keep a small fire burning in the damp pit with damp wood. We finally got enough hot coals for Tony to cook a baked potato and to help ward off the evening chill.

A few houses away from us there was a party going on as we could hear some good classical rock music. As the store was closing, a female from the party started screaming and cussing and crying. She then walked over to the store and started pounding on the locked door screaming, "I have to call my brother" and "I have to go to the bathroom". They let her in and a few minutes later, she exited and "ran" back over to the party area. After more hollering and cussing, that would even make a sailor blush, she got into a car with someone else from the party and off they went. A little while after that scene, a white van and a small car decided to drag race, starting right next to us. We finally turned in and went to sleep with the chilly March weather. It got down to 32 degrees overnight and frost was everywhere. The house right next to the park has collies and some other type dogs and they thought they would serenade us all night, that was until the gunshots...or firecrackers or whatever the sound was that woke us up at 3:00am. The rest of the weekend, we referred to Charloe as Little Kentucky. For such a small community, there was trash everywhere. However, the people we spoke with were very friendly and we're sure they thought us nuts with us camping and canoeing in such weather. Everyone that drove by, all weekend, just stared at our vehicles and at us

The Store

Saturday morning Wil bought the four of us breakfast pizza. We sat in Angels place and ate, drank coffee and tea and warmed our chilly bones. Around 8:30am, Ted pulled in, by himself, after a two hour, early morning drive. We were also waiting on Wil's friend Denny to join us for the day's paddle. Harold called and said he should be there around 12:30 after a three-hour drive. He was supposed to call Tony's cell phone, and then try to catch up to us at one of the bridge crossings. When shuttling, Tony left his phone in the car by accident. However, we are happy to say that Harold was at camp waiting to greet us on our return. Wil's wife Gloria drove in as she was our shuttle driver for the morning and as we found out later, she was also the chef for supper. We headed upstream to where the Little Auglaize crosses St Rt 114, our launching sight for today. Around 11:15am, the six of us hit the water for a 13.2-mile paddle downstream to camp. We were a 50/50 group of paddlers, 50 percent paddling canoes and the other "misfit" group dinking around in kkkkayaks. The "K" word was used a lot this trip.

The water was high and muddy but very canoeable. The water line on the trees showed that the river was much higher a couple days ago, especially after their ten inches of snow melted. The little Auglaize was dredged many years ago which created high banks that are treeless but grassy, and most of the land around the section we paddled belonged to a hunting preserve, which had lots of posted no trespassing signs. We saw lots of geese and ducks, two deer and the usual groundhogs and squirrels. We thought the water would carry us swiftly downstream but some parts of the river felt like paddling on a lake. We still made good time however, averaging 3.5 miles per hour.

Water line

After paddling, Denny had to leave to help move his mother in law while back at camp; we snacked until Gloria arrived with a large dutch oven full of beef stew. She also had two loafs of fresh homemade bread with which pieces were dipped into olive oil with different spices. It was great. Judy graciously supplied desert of Irish Oatmeal Cake with Nut Topping. After stuffing our midsections, Gloria returned home (Thanks for the food Gloria), Paul and Judy took a walk on the Buckeye Trail and the rest of us walked down the road to a local cemetery to find a geocache. It was an easy find.

Later we played the now traditional Left, Right, Center dice game. Judy and Ted came out winless on the dice but we all were truly winners with Wil's propane heater radiating on us. Ted turned in early, as he wanted to get an early start home, while the rest of us sat around the campfire until the wood burned down. Two kids over at the house next door, the one with the dogs, wanted to outshine our campfire. They started a little fire with some of the trash laying around, then went in the garage and brought out two mattresses and threw them on their fire. They really showed us!!

It was a couple of degrees warmer than the night before and the cloudy sky prevented frost from accumulating. Ted was gone Sunday morning before any else was stirring, except the convenience store which was bustling as usual. No one wanted to canoe on Sunday so we packed up slowly and everyone departed.

We talked about helping the park, which is trying to raise funds to repair the shelter and pump house and we are happy to say that we all chipped in some of our personal money for camping and was able to donate $130.00 to help the residents of Charloe.

So ends the March outing. It's understanding why more members did not join us for this early season paddle. For the most part the weather did cooperate with us but we are ready for summer.

Paddling Away

View All Pictures From the Little Auglaize