Charles Mill Reservoir
July 15, 16, 17, 2011



Charles Mill Sign

Trip leaders Harold and Laurie were the first to arrive at the Charles Mill Park and Campground. With water levels being low in the very hot summer month of July, it made sense to lake paddle for the outing. Charles Mill is a Corps of Engineers lake built for flood control on the Black fork of the Mohican River. With a maximum horsepower for motor boats being 9.9, you did not need to worry about wakes that could capsize a canoe.

Tony and Alice pulled in soon after, towing their little teardrop camper. After working up a giant sweat and playing a few games of cornhole with Harold and Laurie, it was off to the Oak Park Tavern for air conditioning and snacks. Being 3/4 mile from the campground made it very convenient.

Back at camp, other members started rolling in. Laurie's sister-in-law Syndia, Jamie, Tom, Liz, Coleen and Wil all sat up tents on the two campsites OHCRA had reserved. Ted and Connie arrived and checked in to the cabin they rented for the weekend. It did not have running water but the air conditioning was cold. Ted, Connie, Alice, Tony and Wil went to the tavern for supper and to hear an acoustic guitar player while the others got a small campfire flickering in the fire ring. This was a very laid back and relaxing trip for the club members. Some stayed up late while others crashed early.

Since there wasn't really a canoe route planned for Saturday morning, Harold cooked a Mt. Gilead Man Breakfast in dutch ovens for everyone. Tony added biscuits in another. There is an on going joke about Wil and his love of gravy. Harold just happened to have a packet of brown gravy and soon it was bubbling and ready for consumption. After stuffing themselves, the lawn chairs were utilized for verbal social interaction to help aid in digestion. Tom took advantage of the spare time to shave. Shave??

The Catfish

There are geocaches around the lake and Tony wanted to paddle 4 miles upstream to find one. When loading the canoes there was noticed a very dead and very large catfish lying on shore. It must have weight 30 to 50 pounds. There was talk of sushi. Did not happen!!

Tony and Wil were paddling solo while Liz and Coleen, Harold and Laurie, Tom and Syndia went tandem. It was close to two miles of lake paddling before reaching the inlet to the lake. The lake effect on the river was evident for a long ways, as every stroke was needed to keep the crafts moving. The shade of trees along the river was a welcomed relief from the hot burning sun. There were trees that needed ducked under and after about the third time, the tandem paddlers gave up and went back. Tony and Wil plodded on, crossing a small dam and paddling under interstate 71, where they arrived at the cache area. It was in a nature preserve called Gilliom-Cherp. The GPS coordinates took them to a hollow tree surrounded by poison ivy. No container could be located so it was assumed that spring flooding carried it away. The two headed back downstream and into the lake. As they were approaching an area of boat docks a pontoon boat was honking and waving at them. Thinking the watercraft wanted to dock they maneuvered out of the way. It turned toward them and then they recognized Ted, Connie, Jamie and Alice. The 4 rented the pontoon boat for a couple hours to cruise the lake.

Harold brought along his ole aluminum Grumman canoe with its sail rig and proceeded to assemble it. The wind was moving enough to try, so off he went to sail on Charles Mill Lake. Most of the other folks walked to the swimming beach to try and follow the sailing canoe and to also swim. The water was very refreshing. Members Dan and Carolyn showed up but only had two hours to play. They paddled around the campsite area, visited with the few members at camp, then headed out.

Big Daddy Skillet

After everyone else returned to camp, but before the potluck, or picnic as it was called, Larry and Sophia joined the group to spend a few hours visiting. Harold got a fire and charcoal going and produced the Big Daddy skillet. Hamburgers were cooked in the skillet along with hot dogs over the hot coals. There were side dishes too many to name and as always, there was way too much food. But everyone tried to eat it all. After the meal was finished in drives Lance. He got more than enough leftovers to fill his plate.

When the dust settled on the picnic there was hillybilly golf, cornhole and shut the box games. Larry had to line everyone up for the traditional group picture then he and Sophia bid everyone goodnight and headed north to home as did Coleen. A small Indian fire was kindled as folks settled down for the evening. As the evening air cooled the campers slowly drifted off to their sleeping quarters for the night.

Sunday morning was on the cooler side, being relative to the 90 degrees the day before. With a light fog over the water Tony and Wil paddled the still lake to an island that held a geocache. After the easy find they wondered through the misty fog enjoying the morning. Back at camp it was cook your own breakfast. With nothing again planned, people emerged from their dens at a slower pace to start the day. After a couple more games Ted and Connie drove off southwest which started the downhill slide of the weekend. Jamie exited as did Tony and Alice, pulling their camper down the road with the heat of the day cranking up. Others soon followed until the campsites were bare, waiting for their next temporary inhabitants.

It was a fun filled weekend with great people, games, good food, paddling and just being out of doors. And for those of you who have ever wondered, there were more ladies than guys at this outing. As always, OHCRA outings are a great time with the next month providing another opportunity for paddling, fun and relaxation.

The Lake

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