Licking River, Ky
March 14, 15, 16, 2014




The winter of 2013-14 was one of cold, wind and snow, the likes of nothing seen for 10-12 years. As the date for OHCRA's first outing of the year neared, thoughts of canceling due to cold surfaced. Two days before the outing central Ohio received 3-5 inches of snow. Checking the weather forecasts for northern Kentucky it promised to be in the 50's during the day and mid 30's at night. The outing was on.

Coleen drove from Cleveland to Steve's house, then they drove to Tony's with the three carpooling south to Ted and Connie's home, for a Thursday night sleepover. Wil was already snuggled down when they arrived. As the trio drove south along interstate 71 the snow gradually disappeared with the Cincinnati area showing bare ground and flowing water. Everyone soon bedded down for an early start in the morning.

Camping and cabins were at Thaxton's Canoe Livery near Falmouth, Ky. Owners Ann and Glenn were the most wonderful hosts and had cabins available for those interested. Ted and Connie took one with Coleen and Steve splitting one and Harold and Laurie taking the last one when they arrived later in the afternoon. Only Tony and Wil chose to camp. The water levels were high on the Licking River and Thaxton's did not want them canoeing on that section of the river so Ann showed them sites on the south fork of the Licking. It was flowing along nicely and guaranteed a nice Friday afternoon paddle.

Licking River

Ted's vehicle and canoe trailer was parked in a church parking lot in the very small crossroad village of Morgan, Ky. The four canoes launched into the 3.5 MPH water for a beautiful paddle / float downstream to a city park in Falmouth. The wind was gusting close to 30 MPH at times but the upper 50 degree spring day felt great. Muscles that haven't been used since October were worked into action and the cold water dripping here and there as the paddles switch side to side made them feel alive. Birds were drifting on the currents looking for food such as buzzards, hawks, blue herons, geese and ducks. Squirrels, groundhogs and turtles were active also. At one point three turtles were sunning close together. The first saw the intruders and just walked into the water. The second one saw them and turned 180 degrees and walked into the water. The third turtle was resting on a tree root and when it saw the paddlers, it somersaulted sideways off the root on to the ground. It then flipped 180 degrees bounching off its nose and then turned 180 degrees to crawl into the water. That turtle earned a perfect score of 10 in the turtle gymnastics competition. Later they saw the empty shell of a turtle that became lunch for something. They wondered if that one was from Russia or China and didn't do well in the competition.

Tony is always looking for treasures along the river banks the club paddles and this trip he found the perfect livestock watering container. He pulled it out of a tree and tried to paddle it back to the take out. There was too much resistance which made paddling hard, in addition to the wind fighting him. His treasure had to be let loose to be found by someone else. The 10.5 mile trip was over too quickly but with the wind blowing canoes from shore to shore it was OK to end. Wil drove Ted back to his vehicle and everyone headed back to camp. Two EZ UP canopies were erected with Ted's huge 30 x 40 foot tarp strung over top. It blocked the blowing wind which allowed them to have a soothing campfire to start the season. In this part of Kentucky a person has to call the fire department dispatch and report that they are having a campfire. After a whole boat load of questions, permission is given to have one. When you are finished you must put the fire out completely and call dispatch to report that it is out. What a pain in the butt!

Tony's Tresure

Saturday morning was looking good with temps starting in the mid 30's. The skies were clear and the wind was not blowing. Steve surprised everyone by cooking breakfast of pancakes and sausage to fill everyone's belly. Member Chuck pulled in, having driven 3.5-4 hours in the early morning just to join the group. He loaded his little kkkayak onto the canoe trailer and off everyone went to the 1054 bridge, just north of the village of Berry. This put in was 10.25 miles upstream of yesterdays put in. As soon as the group shoved off and started downstream they saw two otters. They are neat creatures and very curious. They also saw the other animals as the day before and all the living wildlife was enjoying the wonderful spring day. The uneventful trip ended with the shuttle vehicles heading to a small sports bar in Falmouth to watch Ohio State lose in the Big Ten Championships to Michigan. Connie, Harold and Laurie did not paddle as they had plans to attend a stout beer festival in Cincinnati at a local Irish Pub. An early Saint Paddies Day it was.

The rest of the afternoon was lounging in the warm sunshine and relaxing. The club potluck was had when Steve and Wil arrived back from Mass and food they did have. There was leg of lamb, bean soup, ziti and just too many other items to remember. Another phone call to dispatch and the campfire was lit. The full moon rising in the east just added to the ambiance of the evening. Talking and joke telling commenced until the eyelids could not stay open. Steve called dispatch around midnight to report the fire out.

Sunday morning found Chuck sleeping in his van and Steve cooking bacon and eggs for everyone. The OHCRA folks sure are getting spoiled. The sun was no longer visible in the sky and with the wind again blowing; it felt more like March in the artic. Everything was packed up and people were on the road to home before 10. The sun gods blessed the weekend with mostly good weather and 9 members braved the unpredictable March weather to start the 2014 canoeing season. Hope to see everyone on the river and "around the bend" soon!!


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