Blanchard River
May 6, 7, 8, 2016



Blanchard River

The clubs May outing was on the beautiful Blanchard River. Camping was secured at Riverbend Recreation Area just outside of Findlay. Riverbend is one of many Hancock County's recreation areas managed by the Hancock Park District.

Tom was first to arrive followed soon by Tony then Denny. From the parking lot you had to portage your gear 170 steps over an old truss bridge to the camping area. Some folks used plastic snow sleds that glide great on the asphalt but met resistance on the green grass. Trip leader Wil pulled in then Harold and rounding out the afternoon session was Chuck and Steve. The six drove into Findlay and visited the Findlay Brewing Company. A small place but big on flavor. They were going to stop for dinner at a recommended restaurant but couldn't get a parking spot due to all the activities in town, so it was back to camp for camp food. Coleen showed up and the seven enjoyed a great campfire until bedtime. It was a warm, star lite evening, beautiful for an early May.


Saturday morning was cloudy and threatened rain. Wil's son Joe and grandchildren Lillian and Sebastian arrived followed by newer member Ken. Boats were loaded on Steve's trailer for the 20 minute drive to Liberty Landing on the western outskirts of Findlay. The USGS stream gauge read 2 feet and the river looked just wonderful. Any lower and rocks could have been a problem. Liberty Landing has steep, muddy banks and it was hard to find a good spot to launch from, but at 10:45am the folks were on their way dodging intermittent raindrops but nothing heavy. Lots of wildlife greeted the watercraft including a bald eagle, Baltimore oriole, deer, geese, ducks, possible golden eagles or immature balds and squirrels. Turtles were sunning themselves and a fish tried to jump into Coleen's canoe.The river looks like it floods quite often and there isn't much encroachment along the shoreline. At one point there was a logjam across the river and Ken tried to hop the log. Only problem was the current was so swift that when his canoe turned sideways the current just spun it over. The force of the water against the canoe pinned it against the log creating one stuck canoe. Ken finally freed it after much pulling and under the breath cursing. The paddle lasted for 18.5 miles ending at the burg named Gilboa at 5:15 pm. The last 5-6 miles was into a 5-10 mph wind really draining everyone's strength. Everyone was very tired after completing one of the longest one day trips in recent memory. Poor Denny capsized while getting out of his kkkayak, right at the landing. Harold and Tony took advantage of the Hillside Winery for a quick refreshment before heading back to camp. The shuttle vehicle was parked right next to the winery.

Mexican Wil

Saturday evening was the 142th running of the Kentucky Darby and Chuck, Tom and Tony wanted to see it. Luckily Tony was able to get it on his smartphone. Way to go Nyquist. After everyone got their bearings and relaxed for a second, it was potluck time. The theme was mexican due to Cinco De-mayo day and Denny even supplied a Pinata for the kids. Sitting around the fire into the evening the days thoughts were relived. Wil brought 3 chairs for 4 people and Lillian claimed her younger brother was a Lilly dipper when paddling. Joe brought out his guitar and played some nice acoustical music for us as the campfire leaped into the air. It was an early evening as the tired folks disappeared into their tents early.

Sunday was on the cool side but the rekindled fire warmed their spirits and soon Chuck, Coleen, Steve and Sebastian were cooking up a storm of a breakfast. The Baughn family, Harold and Tony decided to paddle the 3.5 miles upstream back to camp. The river runs along side the Findlay reservoir and a lowhead dam is located at the outlet of the reservoir. A quick drag around soon had them back on the river and back to camp in one hour and 45 minutes. It was a great weather weekend with great water levels and a great workout with the paddles. Since that Sunday was Mother's Day it didn't take long for camp to clear out.


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