Walhonding River
April 9, 10, 11, 12, 2015



Six Mile Dam

Thursday evening Chuck, Steve and Tony met at the Whispering Falls Campground outside Warsaw, Ohio. Its home to the six mile dam, a low head dam 8 miles downstream from the Mohawk Dam and 7.5 miles upstream from Coshocton. Go figure! The weather was rainy with temperatures in the 70's. Spring had finally come to Ohio. Not wanting to cook in the rain, the three headed to Coshocton and found food at the Coshocton Sports Zone, A Buffalo Wings knock off. Back at camp no fire was kindled and the campground caretakers let them use the screen house to stay dry and socialize. Listening to the rain swollen, high river flow over the dam soon sent the campers to their vehicles for the night. No tents were set up in the rain.

Friday morning there was one rain shower around 9:00am with no more expected for the weekend. It was still 60 degrees but winds were picking up. Ohio had lots of rain all week causing flooding of the Mohican and Kokosing Rivers which merge to form the Walhonding. The Mohawk dam was constructed years ago to control flooding to towns downstream such as Zanesville and on to the Ohio River. A shuttle was had to the Mohawk Dam and the water didn't look too bad for canoeing the 8 miles back to camp. Off they shoved at 10:00am in the muddy but fast waters. The winds were gusting to 30-40 mph and if you stopped paddling it quickly turned you sideways in the river. They paddled past 3 guys fishing from a motor boat and greetings were exchanged. A while later the fishing boat motored by with shouts of the "dam gates are opened." The river was rising and they knew it. Since the 3 members were averaging 5.4 mph they made the 8 miles in 1hour 28 minutes, beating the rising water. By the time they drove back for the shuttle vehicle, the water at Mohawk Dam was up 8 feet on the bank. In fact the launch area was mostly under water.

Honey Run Water Fall

A scouting trip was had further upstream on the Kokosing but it was too flooded to even consider paddling on. After a stop to the Honey Run Water Fall it was lunch in Warsaw at an ice cream stand. The deep fried broccoli bits were great. Back at the campground, the water going over 6 mile dam was 2 foot higher than in the morning. The water just poured over the falls. Harold and Laurie arrived in camp around 3:00pm and Chuck had to leave to attend his sons' father weekend at the Kenyon College, 40 minutes away. Liz and Coleen pulled in after detouring around the same flooded roads Harold and Laurie found. Wil and Gloria showed up pulling their Tab camper with grandson Carter joining them. The temperatures were dropping so a campfire was built and enjoyed. Coleen had a moment of fun by tipping over the new reclining chair Steve was sitting in, landing him flat on his back. Chuck made it back to camp before bedtime and everyone just relaxed and de-stressed.

Saturday morning was still and clear. A jacket felt good but sunshine was rising. Steve, Liz and Chuck cooked breakfast of pancakes, hash browns and sausage for everyone. What a way to start the day. There was no hurry to get on the water as they were only paddling 7.65 miles downstream to the Coshocton City Park. Chucks son Sam joined the group for the paddle, in a kkkayak (but so was Chuck). Vehicles were shuttled and soon 9 people in 7 boats braved the high waters to see squirrels, groundhogs, birds and an eagle nest along the route. There was also "White Women's Rock" and a beach ball for their viewing pleasure. The 7.65 mile trip only took 1 hour 20 minutes and they could almost paddle up to the parking lot through the flood waters.

White Women Rock

After unloading at camp, Sam said goodbye and most of the other folks headed to Coshocton to shop. First was the Surplus Barn, then Goodwill and finally an antiques shop. The afternoon turned out warm so games were played back at camp. Member Lance from Indiana arrived in time for the monthly potluck. As always there was lots of food. Wil and Gloria's son-in-law Dan (Carters Dad) drove in and spent the evening. Liz and Coleen had other commitments and soon headed home. Another large campfire warded of the now approaching chilly air. The darker it got, the colder it got, with bedtime showing breaths of dragon steam.

Heavy frost greeted the campers in the morning with rain fly's having frozen dew on them. The rekindled fire was a must. No one was in a hurry to leave their warm sleeping bags but when they did Chuck and Steve had hash browns and bacon ready. 32 was the guessed upon low as a cup of coffee from the night before was frozen on top.

Wil, Steve, Harold, Dan and Carter decided to paddle the same route as Friday. As they started down river from Mohawk Dam they noticed small pieces of debris were beginning to float along with them. After a short time they saw that the debris was getting to the size of tree limbs. They then realized that the dam had increased the release. When they got to the take out they saw that the van and trailer were in the water and they could see the level rising. Guess they got off the river just in time. Flood waters can be tricky and dangerous. Always be smart about paddling in flood waters and be prepared for the worst. Use common sense and know your skill level. Until next month...keep the open end up!

High Water at Take Out

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