Maumee River
October 17, 18, 19, 2008




It was a sunny, breezy, mid fifty degree, fall afternoon in the little village of Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids sits next to some rapids on the Maumee River and years ago, a two-part dam was constructed for the canal system that passed through this part of the state. There is still a canal lock at this location, which shows the canal system pretty well. The Mary Jane Thurston State Park is within walking distance of the village and borders the Maumee River, which was the clubs destination for the last outing of the year. Looking across the 1/4 mile wide river-lake makes a person feel small.

Tony arrived first and was erecting his tent when in pulls Paul and Judy. After getting situated, the trio walked to town for lunch and geocached on the way back while taking in the park. Back at camp, a face from the past, Tom, came in with his beautiful, homebuilt cedar strip canoe, complete with homemade wooden kkkayak paddle. Following him was Dan who we have not seen in almost two years. Joining the club as our newest members were Marty and Edie, canoers and active cyclists. Rounding out the evening was Harold, Laurie and trip leader Wil. The ten of us sat around a very warm and welcoming campfire and socialized until tent time.

Saturday Morning

Saturday morning was very cool and again the fire was lit and as everyone awoke, they just kind of migrated to the warmth. It promised to be a sunny day and no breeze broke the stillness. While having breakfast in drives "poling" Tim and another potential new member, Rick. He's a kkkayaker, but we will try not to hold that against him. Talked turned to shuttling and how to get 12 people and all those boats upstream, as we did not have a canoe trailer this trip. Harold wasn't felling so well so he and Laurie decided to just paddle upstream a ways. Half way up to the planned launching site there are two creeks flowing into the Maumee, directly across the river from each other. One is named North Turkeyfoot Creek and the other is South Turkeyfoot Creek. Tony chose to paddle up to that spot and meet the other paddlers coming downstream.

That still left nine people and boats to shuttle but somehow it was accomplished. However, with the shuttling logistics came the time factor. The nine paddlers did not get on the river until eleven o'clock. Tony paddled to the mid point and waited until one o'clock but with the wind starting to pick up and blowing from the downstream direction, he started paddling back to camp before rendezvousing with the other folks. Back at camp, Wil's better half Gloria arrived and along with Harold and Laurie and soon Tony, they listened to Ohio State playing Michigan State, which OSU whooped. Around four they were starting to get concerned about the other paddlers and were very close to starting a search party when the paddlers appeared on the horizon, way upstream (you can see a long ways on this straight and wide river). They made camp around five o'clock, then Marty and Edie rode their bicycles the 10 miles back upstream to retrieve the vehicles. The had wind become so strong that Dan went ashore at Turkeyfoot Creek and was going to wait for a pick up from one of us. Somehow, he hitched a ride with a local and made it back to camp around the same time as the others.

Mighty Maumee

Preparations quickly got under way for the Oktoberfest themed potluck. Sauerkraut in different forms, headlined the menu along with bratwursts, potatoes, German casserole, soups, cake, etc., etc. These mid October evenings get dark so quick that we were cleaning up in the dark and migrating over to the beckoning fire for warmth. Tom had prior commitments and had to leave while poor Gloria who is battling a knee problem just couldn't get warm. So she headed for home and the warmth of her own bed while one by one the rest of us drifted off to heavy sleeping bags and shut eye.

The over night low was 36 degrees, so Sunday morning Marty rekindled the dead fire and heat was soon radiating from the fire pit once again. It was a lazy morning with nothing scheduled but enjoying the moment. Tony and Harold played some cornhole, Tim went poling in the rapids, Wil paddled some on the river, Marty and Edie went bike riding and Paul and Judy drove home. Later Rick joined Tony and Wil for a geocaching paddle over to an island to find one of the harder caches there was to find. It wasn't long after, that everyone was packed and driving off saying goodbye to friends and canoeing for another season.

Next month we get to plan yet another years adventures while waiting for winters icy grip to slowly relax. Until then, See Ya....Around The Bend!


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