Mad River
August 15, 16, 17, 2008



Our Camp

The original plans for the weekend was to camp at the Birch Bark Canoe Livery just north of Urbana. Their camping area is normally not busy and no reservations are required. However, our weekend just happened to coincide with a Honda of Marysville outing and they had the whole place reserved and booked. Ted scrambled and made other plans on the Wednesday before and our new campground was at Buck Creek State Park on the outskirts of Springfield.

Harold and Laurie arrived on Thursday evening and enjoyed the area to themselves. Tony showed up Friday morning and the three of them scouted what would be the new start and finish spots. They found a nice take out point in Snyder Park at the intersection of St Rt 68 and St Rt 40. Snyder Park is actually on Buck Creek, which meant we had to canoe upstream, a quarter of a mile. This is on the west side of Springfield, so we would have to shuttle vehicles clear across town approximately 8 miles. The put in was decided to be at St Rt 36 just west of Urbana. There is ample parking for multiple vehicles and we would have a nice 14 mile run on the river.

Arriving back at the campground the three found Michigan member Lance setting up camp at few sites away, and Jock and Debbie were setting up at the OHCRA site. Ted, Connie, Donovan and Paul soon arrived and set up their tents and Larry and Sophia pulled in. They were staying in a motel up around Urbana where the sleeping was more comfortable. Close to dark, Judy and her dog Woody set up camp over with Lance. To top off the evening, Wil and Gloria called and wondered where everyone was. They had not seen the website about the change in camping spots, but once they had the right information, in they came. We now had 15 OHCRA members eating, sitting around a campfire and playing games. In addition, the weather was as beautiful as could be for a mid August evening.

Mad River

After breakfast on Saturday morning we worked, studied, and did our best to figure out the logistics of transporting 15 people, vehicles and boats to their respective places. We thought we had accomplished the task when much to our surprise, in pulls Jonathan, Laurie, Joshua and Jessica. Now we are 19 OHCRA members strong, the most members paddling together at one outing in recent memory. We were lucky in the fact that Ted had his canoe trailer, which hauls six boats, and Jock had his trailer hauling eight boats. There were nine canoes, three of which were solos, and three kkkayaks to move upstream in addition to 19 bodies. Three vehicles and one trailer were left at the take out and everything else went upstream with perfection.

We launched the watercraft, just below the dam at St Rt 36 at 10:30a.m. and cut the cool, swift, moving water with our paddles for the next four hours. With the spring fed current helping us along, we averaged 3.4 MPH for the trip, including a lunch stop. At the dreaded "S" curve just below St Rt 55, Larry and Sophia turned sideways, with both the bow and stern catching on logs. They were stopped dead in the water causing a traffic jam. After a few moves and some luck, everyone got free and stayed dry. Further downstream there is a set of rapids caused by lots of rocks scattered across the river. As we were "running" these, we saw a man sitting in a lawn chair with a beer in hand just watching us. We struck up conversation and he told us that he comes out every weekend and just for entertainment, he watches the canoe livery people capsize. We did not disappoint him as one of our group took a dunking right in front of him.

When we saw the old, giant, Ohio Edison power building, we knew that Buck Creek was near. As we paddled into the creek and started upstream, the water turned shallow and paddling was almost impossible. Jock broke his paddle trying to push off and had to stop at Wal-Mart and buy a Feather Brand paddle for Sunday. It was easier wading and pulling the canoes the last quarter mile to the take out. Sophia recorded at least 20 different bird species and we also saw a mink swimming across the river. Eleven old Joshua, paddled the whole 14 miles in a kkkayak. His longest trip so far and he did great.

Power Plant

We got everything packed up and part of us went to pick up the upstream vehicles while the rest headed for camp. After relaxing a spell, supper was started. Again, there was enough food to feed an Army. Shrimp boil, coleslaw, peach cobbler, fruit, dipping bread, rice, jambalaya, etc, etc. and we were stuffed. Wil, Tony, Paul, Donovan and Judy went geocaching, which lasted until dark while everyone else socialized or napped. A campfire kept the chill off until we decided to retire to our tents, all ten of them. It looked like tent city. In the night the raccoons feasted on the triscuits, chocolate, and whatever else was left on the table. Granddaddy long legged spiders were everywhere especially between the tents and their fly. Jessica said that they are not the most poisonous spider in the world as we all believed. So none of use are smarter than a third grader, let alone a fifth grader!

Sunday morning Jock and Deb treated us to pancakes and sausage while Gloria made scrambled eggs and potatoes. Fruit left over from the night before rounded out a wonderful meal. Everyone packed up camp and as a group, we drove to the north end of the C.J. Brown Reservoir of which Buck Creek State Park borders, and we canoed around the islands and in the areas too shallow for the powerboats. There were two geocaches on the different islands and we geocached as a group. The first was hard to find and Ted, a non-geocacher, came through and found it for us. It actually was the first of a three-part cache. The second cache was never found and as the late morning was turning to afternoon, we headed back to the parking lot and car topped the boats and went our own ways.

The humidity was low, the sun shone brightly, we had a full moon and 19 canoers enjoyed a picture perfect weekend together. Life is Good!!

Group Picture

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