Huron River
March 19, 20, 21, 2010




The Huron River was first on the list of rivers OHCRA had planned to paddle in 2010. Trip leader Judy, an Erie Metro Park volunteer, secured the Coupling Reserve for the club to call base camp. There is a nice relocated train depot serving as a lodge with a caboose and a box car for sleeping. There are trails through out the area for hiking which abuts interstates I80 and I90.

Friday was beautiful for March with temperatures in the mid 60's and sunny. Tony met up with Jamie who lives near the town of Huron, for some geocaching. Arriving at the Coupling around 3 and not finding anyone there, they cached in the park finding 3 of the 4 there. Walking back to the lodge they saw Paul K who had his new canoe trailer and his new kkkayak. A canoer for years, he is now moving over to the dark side.

Judy and Lance arrived not long after and that rounded out the evening's group. They scouted the river and were surprised at how low it was. 7 days before it had a raging current. But with the wind blowing from the West, it was said that Lake Erie waters were being blown East causing the lake tributary to lose water. This river also drains a very small area.

It was soon time for supper so Judy, Paul and Lance headed out. Jamie and Tony ate earlier so they stayed behind to tend a campfire. Later the group all sat around the hot fire chit-chatting. Jamie wasn't paddling on Saturday and soon headed for home, leaving the four others to slither off to bed. Earplugs were recommended for sleeping as the interstates were very loud.

Saturday dawned on the cool side with windy conditions and temperatures in the low 40's. While everyone was eating breakfast, new member Brad arrived with his kkkayak. Lance was going sight seeing instead of paddling and soon the four paddlers headed upstream to the "Blue Bridge". By river it was a 10.3 mile run, a great distance for muscles not yet accustomed to paddling after a long winter idle. They got bundled up against the weather and launched into the cold, semi shallow but swift water.

Cliffs on Huron River

It felt great to swing the paddle from side to side and watch the underwater world glide past. There are high ridges along this part of the river. One would not think this possible being so close to Lake Erie. The paddlers started seeing animals such as a muskrat, squirrels, deer, hawks even buzzards. But what really made the day were the six eagles they saw. A pair soon after launching, then further downstream two juveniles with two adults. One of the adults was sitting on a nest. They were all just so beautiful.

Brad was educating the group about moon rocks, which they saw many of. A moon rock is a round rock that is supposed to hold a fossilized fish in its center. There were lots showing in the steep hill sides. The wind kept the paddlers fighting to stay on course and every once in a while the sun would wink at them. Arriving at the take out, they drug the boats on shore for the 1/4 mile walk back to camp. Tony portaged his canoe to Judy's waiting truck and loaded it up. Arriving back at the put in, Tony secured his gear and headed for home due to other engagements.

At 4:00 p.m. a gentleman named Bill Graves arrived to give a presentation to the group. He gave the history of the Coupling Reserve. It was a small group, Lance, Paul Wood, Paul Kerlin, Jamie, Brad and Judy. Bill spoke briefly about the other Erie Metro Parks and some of their up coming Canoe and Kayak programs. He answered several questions from the group. The Depot building was the original Monroeville Depot. It was moved to the Coupling Reserve in 1976. The building has been modified and changed since its original home in Monroeville. One of the changes was the stone fireplace, as it was added after arriving at the Coupling Reserve. The land at the Coupling Reserve was donated to St. Pauls Lutheran Church. The Church wanted to make it a retreat center for couples and they decided to make it a railroad theme. It was called the Coupling Family Enrichment Center. The Caboose and Boxcar were donated and together they can accommodate up to 26 people.

Moon Rock In 1989 the Coupling Corp. began leasing the Coupling to Erie Metro Parks; then donated the Coupling to Erie Metro Parks in 1991.

Bill finished his presentation at 6:30 and the hungry paddlers then had dinner. There was no shortage of food. They feasted upon: Irish Bread, Corn Beef, Potatoes, Carrots, Salad, Pork tenderloin, Deer, Chicken, Brownies, Ice Cream and Irish Oatmeal Cake. No one walked away hunger. Paul Wood went home after dinner.

After cleaning up the dinner dishes there was a nice fire in the fireplace of the Depot and good conversation was shared. Lance and Jamie made a quick trip to the Greenway to get some Iron Oar balls that would have fallen from the trains that passed along the Greenway. Bill had mentioned this in his presentation and Lance was curious to see what they looked like. Jamie and Brad then went to their seperate homes while the rest retired to the sleeping quarters around midnight.. Paul and Lance stayed in the Boxcar. Judy stayed in the Caboose.

Sunday morning everyone had breakfast on their own. They decided to hike at the Milan Wildlife Area at 10:30. It was a nice day for a hike. They hiked a little over two hours. They crossed a small creek on a two by four that Brad provided for them while working on their balancing skills. They walked along a ridge then back to an area that local folklore tells about Indians that once lived there. The hikers also saw several types of birds along the hike. They hiked back to a waterfall and close to where a damn once was. At times they felt like Mountain Goats climbing the hills. It did not feel like they were in Northern Ohio but possibly in Southern Ohio. After hiking, the OHCRA members all went their separate ways. Lance went to the Edison Museum. Brad, Paul and Judy all went home. It was the completion of another OHCRA adventure.

Stream Crossing

View All Pictures From the Huron