Licking River / Dillon Lake
July 15, 16, 17, 2016



Dillon Lake Campsite

It was a hot, sultry day as OHCRA members slowly made their way to the Dillon Lake State Park Campground. Liz arrived followed quickly by Wil then Steve with his canoe trailer. Chuck, Tony and his pup Muffy, who met up the road in Heath, pulled in together. Chuck's friend Brad joined the club for the weekend to experience what the club is all about. They had 3 campsites reserved and it was good thing as the campground was very busy. The clubs new 10 x 20 canopy was set up as a sun shield. That blazing sun and high temperatures made sweat pour from every pore imaginable. Larry and Sophia showed their presence but stayed in a hotel in Zanesville. It was good to see them after so long. Harold, Laurie, Collen and Paul Kerlin rounded out the members enjoying the wonderful weekend.

Sitting around socializing and munching on snacks everyone just relaxed. The evening campfire was soon lit with laughter and games being had. Even after darkness descended the air was so warm that tent windows were left open for ventilation. The star lit night is what summers are all about.

Licking launch site

Saturday morning came in like a lion as the sun climbed into the sky. Breakfasts were had and talk of canoeing soon followed. The water levels in the rainless past days was a concern but a decision was made to shuttle up to Brownsville road just east of Newark. The USGS stream gauge read 1.52 feet. In Steve's full size van there were 9 people (Laurie didn't paddle) all trying to give directions. Wil hit the nail on the head when he referred to "A van full of Alpha's".

The water looked paddleable from the bridge and soon all the boats were off the trailer. Steve drove down to an access road off Ballard road which was where the river meets the lake. Larry and Sophia were not paddling the river just milling around on the lake so Larry graciously drove Steve back up to launching point. The 9 people and one dog were dipping paddles into the Licking River at 10:45 am. Wildlife were enjoying the warm day as they saw a couple eagles, blue herons, soft shell turtles and a couple nice catfish. The catfish were on the end of a locals fishing line and he said he has been fishing the Licking for 50 years and those were small ones. Around the halfway point of the 11.5 mile trip was the blackhand gorge. Lunch was taken in view of the massive rock formation, in the cool shadows of a rock wall on the opposite river bank. Chuck and Brad were paddling tandem and at one curve with a large branch sticking out into the water, those two went over. Poor Brad lost his glasses in the swift water and could not find them. 2/3 of the way the slack water from the lake slowed the flow of the river. With no flow, no breeze and the hot sun beaming down, the paddlers soon grew tired and were ready to get of the river. At 3:30 pm the vehicle was sighted.

Blackhand Gorge

Back at camp clothes were changed and cold drinks came out. Chuck drove Brad to Mt. Vernon to meet his son and get a pair of contacts. When they got back it was feast time. Chuck cooked a beer can chicken over the fire and Steve had sweet corn. As always there was way too much food to remember or eat. Games of cornhole commenced after supper with Chuck and Wil being the undisputed champions. The campfire drew everyone around as darkness grew but not for long. Everyone was so tired that tents called early and off they went.

Sunday morning was the coolest morning and felt great. The new monthly potluck breakfast was pretty much ready by time everyone stretched and groaned awake. Steve had to work and left at 6:00am. Lucky other cooks were available for the biscuits and gravy, corn mush, hash browns, etc. A couple more cornhole games were played while the sun dried dew on tents then it was off for home. All in all a great trip.


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