Rocky Fork Creek
August 14, 15, 16, 2009




The week before the outing, trip leader Lance emailed the list group with our campground information and other details. A couple days later he emailed again informing us that 20 Boy Scouts would also be camping with us, in a place as big as 3 city lots. A decision was made to move camp, to the Paint Creek State Park and Lance reserved camping spots for the members close to the shelter house. Harold, Laurie and Tony arrived around 3 pm on Friday and noticed how close the sites were to the camp store and office, basketball court and the general hub of activities. Driving around, they looked for more private sites that still could accommodate 10 people. While in the camp office, they noticed a paper announcing that this weekend was the Huckleberry Finn Festival and starting at 8:30am, in the shelter house, was a live gospel band, as the first of many other activities planned for the day.

New campsites were found and later arriving members had to search to find the new spots. Deb and Jock soon showed up followed by Lance. A driveby river scouting expedition had us looking at water levels on a very hot and dry summer day. From a vantage point high up on road bridges it looked OK for solo paddlers, but iffy for tandem boats.

Back at camp a fire was lit, not for warmth, but for the mesmerizing affect it has on our soul. Paul and Judy drove in and set up camp around 10 with Rick rounding out the evening at 11.

Remember, this was a busy weekend for the state park and most sites were full. On the next campsites away from us, on the other side of the shower house, there were lots of tents set up and lots of kids and adults milling around. Everything was going great until 2:20am and that's when the drunks started fighting. The two guys and one lady said every cuss word in the book, especially the F word, over and over and one guy kept saying, "you slept with my ex wife". When you have a still night, sound travels very far, so we and maybe the whole campground, heard the whole ordeal very clearly. They never did hit each other but we wished they would have. After what seemed like eternally, one drunken guy drove away and peace returned to the valley.

Barretts Mill

At daybreak there was lots of moisture on the grass and tents and fog hung in the air. As the sun burned through, it promised to be another 90 degree day. We had a voice mail from Ted saying he was not coming so we got around to shuttle. At 9:30, in drives Poling Tim all ready to go. Paul and Judy were not paddling as there was a boat sale at the paddle store in Chillicothe, where Judy went and bought TWO kkkayaks. Not canoes, but kkkayaks. Lance also did not paddle, but he did help us get shuttled and on the water.

The Rock Fork Creek is surrounded by private property but access is easy to come by. We put in at Barretts Mill and immediately found shallow water conditions. Harold and Laurie had to wade and line their canoe a lot on the 5.5 mile trip while the solo paddlers scraped on through. When we rounded the bent at the Seven Caves area, it was like we were in the different world. And it was so cool in the shade of the high limestone walls that entombed us, if only for a few thousand feet. Some of the rock formations were just fabulous. We floated past some guys having a chore of a time paddling rubber rafts, filled with beer, but they seemed happy to be there.

As we neared the merger of Rocky Fork with Paint Creek, the water got shallow and wider. After wading some more, there was the chutes. The chutes is an area of rock about 4 to 5 feet wide and the water just gushes through with great force. There are rapids below the chutes and that makes for some great fun canoeing at higher water levels. Just below that area is a roadside park where the shuttle vehicle was parked. When we arrived, Paul and Judy were there to greet us. Everyone loaded their gear but we were waiting for Tim and Rick. They lagged behind the whole trip, enjoying the easy float, but when they didn't show for a long time, we got worried. Eventually they glided to shore and that's when the rest of us learned that they stopped to go hiking.

Rock Wall

Arriving back at camp, Paul and Judy went to try the new kkkayaks on Paint Creek Lake while Lance and Tim went swimming. Rick went for a jog, Deb and Jock went to town while the rest of the folks just chilled as much as possible on that hot summer day.

The traditional potluck had an American theme that started with hamburgers and hotdogs, then coleslaw, salsa and chips, green beans with ham, pasta salad and lots of fresh fruit. And then there's the desert. How does everyone stay thin when so much food is around? After supper a few of the folks went into Chillicothe to see the outdoor drama "Tecumseh". The rest stayed at camp and played games with a campfire for mental security.

Sunday dawned clear and dewy. Heat was in store again. The kkkayak people went back out on Paint Creek Lake before most of the other members even stirred in their tents. Sitting around morning drinks and relaxing helped beat the early heat and cornhole was played while the boards were still in the shade. Banana Pancakes were supposed to be for breakfast but it never happened as the kkkayak people didn't get back until after breakfast time and ambition just wasn't in store for the cook.

Mid morning saw some go bike riding while the kkkayak people decide to go to the Great Serpent Mound. Tim was staying another night all alone, but others wished they had the choice of staying.

As August goes, it was a good trip but water levels always are a gamble. More rain would have been nice but great food, fresh air and comradely made for a wonderful OHCRA outing. See ya all on the next adventure.


View All Pictures From the Rocky Fork