Sandusky River
June 5, 6, 7, 8, 2014



Heck Bridge Sign

Trip leader Steve secured permission from the ODNR to camp at the, Heck Bridge Scenic River Access area, between Upper Sandusky and Tiffin. There was nothing but a short downhill drive into a 75 foot round, stoned parking lot. Steve arrived first pulling his newly built 8 canoe, canoe trailer. Loaded on it was a fire ring, full size picnic table and a PORT-A-POT. Since there isn't any development in this river access area, the port-a-pot was an excellent addition for the weekend and the motion sensor light inside worked great after dark, right ladies? Ted, Tom, Tony then Jock all joined Steve within 30 minutes of each other. Newer member Chuck showed up after work happy to be free for the weekend. With a non motorized weed whacker a camping area was quickly cleared and camp was set up in the early evening. Individual suppers were then cooked which led into a great campfire. The cool evening was very quiet and just beautifully serene.

Friday morning was cool enough for light jackets which kept the mosquitoes at bay. A 9:00am shuttle was scheduled but first a guest visitor was arriving. Christina Kuchle, Northwest Region Assistant Scenic Rivers Manager from the Division of Watercraft joined the club for Fridays paddle. After she pulled in, her kkkayak was thrown onto the canoe trailer and off they went. The put in was in Upper Sandusky at the Stepping Stone City Park named for the stones across the river. Legend has it that the stones were put in by the Wyandot Indians so they could cross the river to get into town. Chuck's wife Nikki was waiting for the paddlers at the park and joined the other 7 for the 10.25 mile trip downstream. The steep, rocky bank on the north side by the foot bridge made launching the boats difficult so some portaged across the bridge launching at the shallower but very muddy south shore. At 10:05 am it was off into the water of the Sandusky. The current was moving along at a nice 3 mph which made the paddling easy and the sunny, calm day was just like being in paradise. The Sandusky River was elevated and very muddy looking due to rain a couple days earlier. The USGS stream gauge 2 miles northeast of Upper Sandusky showed 3 feet on Friday dropping to 2 feet by Saturday evening.

Muddy Sandusky River

Chuck was the first to point out a bird very seldom seen, Baltimore Orioles. They were darting up and downstream both days. That beautiful orange color was nice to see framed in the all green foliage. Unfortunately no pictures were captured. Throughout the day 9 deer were spotted including a fawn, a muskrat, turtles, buzzards, hawks, ducks with young, herons and 2 eagles along with one nest. A mature and immature eagle. The take out was at the county road 29 - 37 bridge which was also very muddy. The Sandusky has mostly dirt banks as opposed to some Ohio rivers that have more rocky shorelines.

After shuttling back to camp, Christina parted ways having other commitments and Tony went home to get his wife. They were cheating and using their teardrop camper in the parking lot. When they arrived back, there sat Jamie, coming to her first outing of the year. She was using a hammock for lodging. Coleen graced the group with her presence after working all day followed around dark by Harold and Laurie. Everyone shared laughter until bedtime.

Cooking Pancakes

Saturday was breakfast potluck time. Cheesy potatoes, hash brown casserole, sausage links, scrambled eggs, pancakes, biscuits, grapes and OJ. What a way to start a day! Even after all that food the shuttle was pulling out at 9:25am. Saturdays put in was at county road 16. A 4.5 mile stretch from Fridays take out was skipped due to 2 massive log jams that have been there for years. After negotiating more steep muddy shoreline they shoved off into the nice swift current at 10:17am. They saw the same animals as yesterday including a young eagle with a white head but no white tail feathers. Another eagles nest was also on that section of water. There was a young couple enjoying their kkkayaks on the second sunny still day in a row. Ohio has had its share of rain so far so sunny days were at a premium. The 10.5 mile paddle was accomplished in 3.5 hours. The Sandusky doesn't have much trash floating in it so Tony was hard pressed to find any treasures on the trip.

Back at camp everyone relaxed in the shade or napped. Little ole Jamie had to drive home and Chuck had a graduation party to attend so off they went. The reason for the breakfast potluck instead of the traditional Saturday evening potluck was the Belmont Stakes horse race. California Chrome was racing for a triple crown and the majority of the members wanted to see the race. Steve's daughter works at Carmiels Grill and Bar on the south end of Tiffin which was only 7 miles away. Off everyone went for food, drink and big screen TV's. Unfortunately the 3 year old did not win but everyone had a good meal and got to watch 2 wedding parties having fun in the hotel banquet rooms. Returning to camp some enjoyed the campfire while others played games.

Sunday morning around 6:00am it started to rain so most everyone slept in. At 9:00am it was still raining so the 4.5 mile scheduled paddle was canceled. Slowly camp was packed up, including the port-a-pot. Jock and Ted headed for home with the rest driving around 8 miles west to eat lunch at the New Regal Cafe, home of famous ribs. With the sky still spitting rain they departed for home after licking their fingers of lip smacking ribs.

Sandusky River

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