Auglaize - Ottawa Rivers
April 7, 8, 9, 2017



Snow on Car

Tom was first to arrive at the Fort Jennings Community Park. Trip leader Wil secured permission for the club to camp in the field and have use of the shelter house that also has a fire place in it. Flush toilets were a plus and welcomed. Friday was cold and very windy. Western Ohio looked pretty good compared to the rest of the state. Central and northeastern Ohio had up to 6 inches of snow fall Thursday evening and emails had some cancellations, until Wil emailed a picture showing party cloudy skies and no snow. Tony met Wil and they met Tom, set up camp and headed out scouting the swollen rivers. The Saturday put in was on county road 19 where the Ottawa River crosses. At that point it's only one river mile until the Ottawa dumps into the Auglaize. The water was high, muddy and swift. The take out was in the village of Oakwood, 15 miles downstream. There is a nice concrete boat ramp and a wonderful parking area. After scouting and finding five geocaches it was back to camp to greet other members.

Harold was at camp when they got back and a group B S ing session commenced after hanging large tarps on the shelter house to block the wind. The emails sent earlier convinced folks to come out and new member Johnathan joined the weekend for his first trip. He blended right in with other members. Ken and Lenny, another new member arrived along with Steve, Chuck, Liz and Coleen. Wil's son Joe came providing acoustical music for evening entertainment along with his son Sebastian and Sebastian's cousin Carter. Part of the club walked a city block to "The Fort" restaurant for food, while the others got a blazing fire started. Later Joe played music and everyone enjoyed the festivities. The temperatures were dropping with a low of 30 overnight.

Shuttling Boats

Saturday morning there was frost everywhere. Hot drinks were had to jump start cold, stiff bodies. Carter's father Daniel came followed by Judy and Mike. Just before the shuttle Lance drove in. There were now 18 paddlers loaded in 3 vehicles for the 18 minute shuttle ride. After getting the trailers downstream they put the first paddles in the water at 10:30 am. The day was very still as the wind blew it's self out overnight. The sun was warming the day quickly and wildlife was enjoying the sun also. They saw an eagles nest along with an eagle, mink, muskrat, squirrels, groundhog, geese, ducks, blue heron and redtail hawks. At one spot Tom was canoeing between two trees in the swollen water. One of the trees was slanted and the force of the water pushed him onto the slanted tree rolling his canoe. Being prepared as he was, his wetsuit kept him comfortable. Never under estimate the power of water. Everyone was required to have either a wetsuit of a change of dry clothes just for the above reason. At 2:40 pm they reached the take out point in the now warm sunshine. The trip back to camp was crowded since there was one less vehicle, but everyone had a ride. The USGS stream gage read 5.75 feet which made an average of 4MPH and except for the one capsize they had a beautiful paddle.

Auglaize Rive

Back at camp people relaxed, some went to church for Palm Sunday services, Wil's wife Gloria arrived and just before the potluck, Denny and Kathy came by. Comfort food was the theme for the potluck and there were lots of it. Denny's smoked beef, meat loaf, mac and cheese, chili, redbeans and rice, chicken and noodles, coleslaw, cookies and pies. Games were later played and another wonderful campfire rounded out the evening. No music Saturday as Joe had a paying gig in town and the grandsons had to go home. Overnight was in the high 40's and comfortable for camping.

Sunday Wil, Gloria, Steve and Liz made breakfast for everyone. Eggs, sausage, ham, biscuits and gravy. They are an eating bunch. Around 9:00 am, 11 people rode 3 miles upstream for a nice warm float back to camp. There were 10 boats on the water at 10:00 am so the saying "10 at 10" was heard. After the hour paddle back to camp tents were dropped and most headed for home. Judy and Mike went bicycle riding then had lunch at "The Fort." They over heard some locals talking about the canoe club in the park. Question is are they die hard canoe people or just really crazy doing what they do? Come to an outing and find out for yourself.


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