Cuyahoga River
August 15, 16, 17, 2014



Camp Hi

Camp Hi Canoe Livery, on the Upper Cuyahoga River, has traditionally been OHCRA's base camp when canoeing the river. Although the livery doesn't have public camping they do let certain groups camp on their property such as the Boy Scouts, OHCRA, etc. Trip leaders Harold and Laurie met the retired couple Ted and Connie on Thursday evening for camping. As it was a cool evening a fire was kindled and the four socialized until Harold had to head home. He's not quite retired, yet, and had to work the next morning.

Friday the other three went to Cleveland to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and had lunch downtown. As they returned to camp, new member Ruth arrived and sat up camp. Next were Tony, then Jock and Bevan. Old time members Don Myers and Pearl Totman stopped by to visit. Pearl ended up staying for two nights sleeping in his van. At 82 years young he can sleep any where he likes. Rounding out the evening was Chuck and another new member, Mitch (Chuck's brother-in-law). Everyone sat around talking and reminiscing about the earlier days of the club with some having a campfire and hotdogs with others playing poker. Every month the same quarters get passed around between the same players. The evening got really cool for August with lows around 50.

As the sky grew from dark to gray Saturday morning the sun showed promise of warmer temperatures. The scheduled paddle was from Camp Hi downstream to the Redfox take out. It's part of the Portage County Park District. The livery does not paddle that direction so the club would have the river to themselves. While staging the boats at the launch site, in drives John and Kathy Zizka followed by their son Jonathan and his son Josh. Rounding out the local group was Larry and Sophia for a total of 11 boats with 14 paddlers. After shuttling vehicles downstream they dipped their paddles into the mighty Cuyahoga at 10:14 am. The water levels were slightly elevated with a 2.5 mph current so the club just leisurely floated down river. There was lots of vegetation growing in the water and flowing in place with the current.

Paddling Downstream

Lunch was planned for the Mantua City Park on Main St. after the five mile mark. Arriving around 12:30 they found a local Lions Club Health Fair was going on. You could get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked and free hotdogs, pizza and pop, all for a good will donation. The lion mascot was also available for pictures. Lunch was one of the longest in OHCRA history. Back on the river they passed the only other canoe on the water. A father-son was fishing. Our resident, club bird expert Sophia and to our surprise new member Ruth, saw or heard the following birds; osprey, chimney swift, kingfisher, blue heron, cedar waxwings, spotted sandpiper, tree swallow, mallard, goose (only one the whole trip), turkey vulture, downy woodpecker, redbelly woodpecker, nuthatch, peewee, chickadee, robin, crow and catbird. One beaver, squirrels and many painted turtles were the only other wildlife seen. The trip ended at 4:00pm, the longest 10.75 mile paddle in recent history for the club. But then, paddling is a journey not a destination.

Arriving back at camp, Jock drove off to Cuyahoga Falls to bring original member Paul Wood to the potluck. The Zikas left to attend an evening concert and the rest just relaxed. As potluck time drew near, Don Meyers returned along with "Snorin" George Thompson and wife Marilyn. As always the food selection was fabulous. New member Mitch made a great pork tenderloin cementing has place in the club. It used to be that paddling skills defined the new members but now it's the culinary skills! There were meatball sandwiches, black bean soup, baked beans, green beans, summer squash, macaroni salad, watermelon and just too much to remember. The weather was great and the old friends talked about the ole days as the new friends listened.

original members

After supper the cameras came out starting with a photo opportunity of five original, founding members. Paul Wood, Ted Spradlin, Don Myers, Jock Klinger and Perl Totman should grace the cover of some historic magazine. Then a group picture was had as the clowning started. As darkness came, the closest members drove home while others enjoyed another campfire and more poker. At some point near nightfall the winds shifted and felt like rain. Since a couple folks had to leave early and rain was on the way, non essential gear was dismantled and stored away. Around 3 in the morning it did start to rain with some bursts heavy at times. The sound of rain pitter pattering on the nylon tents can be so soothing that no one was in a hurry to rise on Sunday morning.

A 6 mile paddle was planned from upstream back to camp but with the rain and some campers leaving early, the paddle was canceled. The other folks packed up and met for breakfast at the Manuta Corners Bar & Grill 3 miles from Camp Hi. As with every trip this year, rain came in on one day of the weekend but with the great company and being outdoors, who could ask for anything more?

possibles box

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