Mad River
August 13, 14, 15, 2010



Canoes at Livery

Tom was the first OHCRA member to arrive at the Birchbark Canoe Livery, site of the August canoe outing. It was a very sunny, hot and humid day, as the whole summer has been. As Tom was getting back to camp from bike riding Tony was setting up his camp. The two soon headed into the town of Urbana to meet Harold and Laurie. They all met at Kroger's for supplies then went to Catfish Jones for lunch. Tony is in love with their blackened catfish. After lunch it was back to the campground. No one was allowed to drive across the creek to unload gear in the primitive campground, so everything was carried in or pulled across the foot bridge on sleds. Plastic sleds slide pretty well in the grass but it was still work as too much gear is always brought.

A while later trip leaders Ted and Connie joined the group and after settling in, they, along with Harold, Laurie and Tony went back to Catfish Jones for more fish. Back at camp Larry and Sophia joined for a couple drinks then they drove back to the motel they were calling camp. As darkness advanced, a little Indian fire was kindled and the group sat and talked. Lance arrived and all socialized until bedtime.

Saturday morning it was already hot before the sun came up. The folks who walked over to the parking lot to use the port-a-pots found Jock and Deb. They arrived late and just slept in their truck. In fact, they slept in the truck both nights making tearing down camp easy. Paul let the members know that he and Judy would be there in time for the canoeing. Sure enough in they came close to nine. After shuttling vehicles downstream, the 13 mile paddle commenced.

Lance playing in water

On the river, which is spring fed and only 68 degrees, it was very comfortable. With the treed shoreline, it was like being in air conditioning and the current was a generous 3.5 mph. There were eight canoes and one kkkayak all drifting along enjoying the wonderful day. Lunch was on the sand bar where the dreaded "S" curves are, just below the St Rt 55 Bridge. The river was a little on the lower side this year making the run through the curve unadventurous. A family was float-swimming in the fast current and Tom and Tony just had to swim also. Lance was sitting in waist deep water playing like a child. That cold water was a relief from the heat.

There were rental canoes on the river and Birchbark was having their busiest day of the year. As Tony would paddle past canoes with coolers, he would inform the occupants that he was "The Official Skunky Beer Inspector". Everyone just laughed at him that was until the very last canoe he asked. A cold Bud Lite was offered, but drinking is not allowed on the water. Many inner tubers were floating the river and the thought came up, if your fingers become wrinkled when they have been in water for very long what would their butts look like? There were only two casudies on this trip. Tom slipped on a rock at the St Rt 36 low head dam and went under. Later, at the railroad bridge, a water panther grabbed Lance and pulled him under. No complains on this hot day.

Just Paddling

The take out was where the Mad River Canoe Livery is located, just past the St Rt 41 Bridge in Springfield. By the time the vehicles were loaded, everyone was drenched in sweat. Connie had to head for home from that spot while the rest went back to camp. On the shuttle back, a downpour greeted the travelers. Back at camp Tom then Judy went their separate ways while everyone else ducked into their tents for dry clothes and naps. The rain didn't last long but the ground was muddy and the grass wet. A couple extra tarps were erected but luckily the clouds just teased the campers.

The potluck started close to six and the theme of "cold food" fit the weather nicely. There were lunch meats, ham and chicken salad, all the fixings, pasta's, beans, chips and deserts. And clean up was easy too. Everyone played games of Cornhole or Bocce ball as the hot day slowly turned to dusk. Wil graced the crowd with his presence after a long days work. A campfire was again kindled and as the evening wore on one by one the campers retired to their tents. Wil and Tony called it quits close to one.

Sunday promised to again be a hot and humid day. The group decided on a 7-mile paddle from Lippincott Road downstream to Birchbark. They launched the canoes into the swift current and enjoyed the fog that rose from the water. The air was so humid and hot and the water so cold that fog hung in the air, only above the river, reducing visibility to 50 yards or less. Drifting along, Tony and Wil saw a bottle in the water. They retrieved a 16 oz full bottle of Corona beer. A short ways further Paul pointed out another bottle and this time a full bottle of Bud Lime was hauled aboard. There may have been some unhappy canoers downstream.

Arriving at the livery, the canoes were walked up the creek so as not to interfere with the livery operations. After lunch of left over's the watercraft were loaded and slowly the August outing became history.

Morning Fog

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