Grand River & Conneaut Creek
March 23, 24, 25, 26, 2017



Electric Heater

Harold met Tony at Geneva State Park on Thursday evening to start the 2017 paddling season. Trip leader Liz had decided to base camp at Geneva State Park and drive to both streams, the only problem was, the trip leader didn't camp or canoe. Liz along with many members of the club were feeling the effects of winter colds that have been very severe for the whole winter and hung on for weeks. The campground was deserted as March 23th was cold and windy. Only one loop was open, no water and one port a pot available. Electric was on so both guys tents had extension cords running from the breaker to electric heaters. Harold brought his E Z UP so the clubs canopy wasn't used for just 2 folks. The camp sites in the open loop were very low with standing water around some fire rings. Harold and Tony took the highest sites closest to the port a pot. After setting up close to dark a small fire was built for cooking then playing cribbage until bedtime. Rain was forecasted for the whole weekend but temperatures where supposed to be 50 and 60's.

They woke to a beautiful partly cloudy morning with temps at 44 but rising to 70 by 3 pm. Neither where in a hurry so after breakfast they took both vehicles for a scouting trip on the Grand. They wanted to launch from Tote Road and paddle 5 miles down to the covered bridge and damn at Harpersfield Road. The shoreline at Tote Road is very steep and the ODNR ramp was covered with 6-10 inches of mud. Not wanting to stick in the mud they went downstream 1.5 mile to the Windsor-Mechanicsville Road Covered Bridge in Mechanicsville. Much easier launching and across the street was the Grand River Manor, a bar restaurant. The water level was great and the weather better. The 3.5 mile paddle was easy and peaceful. The high steep banks facing north still had lots of icicles clinging to the wet areas. The wind did pick up with gusts blowing the canoes upstream if they stopped paddling. At the take out it was getting busy with people fishing and just walking around the park area.


Shuttling up to get the vehicle they saw the Grand River Manor was open so inside they went for wings and beer. Talking to workers they inquired about camping in the huge back yard. "IF you buy all your alcohol from the bar, the owner will let you camp for free and use the restrooms during business hours." They made a mental note for the future. The USGS stream gage listed the Grand at 3.35 feet. Much lower and tandem paddlers would have troubles.

Back at camp by 3:30 they played and enjoyed the 70 temperatures. Laurie joined the two misfits around four then her and Harold went back to see the covered bridge while Tony Geocached around the state park. Another campfire and more cribbage rounded out the evening.

Steep Hill

Saturday morning was still dry with temps in the mid 40's. The rain was staying away. Member Ken joined Harold and Tony and with 3 vehicles they headed 25 miles east to Conneaut Creek. The planned take out they saw on the 50 year old topo maps looked like an old dead end road. When they got to the spot, it was the Locust Road Campground. The gate was open so in they went. The owners were on them in a heartbeat saying the campground was closed. After Harold used his charm on them, permission was granted to park two vehicles there and paddle back to the campground. Another mental note for a future campground on the Conneaut. The put in was on State Road where a covered bridge guarded the river crossing. Lots of cover bridges in the northeastern part of Ohio. Many cars were in the parking lot as it was steelhead season. They saw fishermen and most of them seem happy. The 3 guys launched on the Conneaut at 10:50 am in 44 degree temperatures. The water was swift, cold and at the lowest height you would want to paddle. 4 more inches of water would have been better and the USGS gage read 2.1 feet. It was a very nice paddle with fun riffles and a solid rock streambed most of the way. Some spots were tricky and the chance of capsizing in the cold water was on their minds. By time the 5 miles past the temps dropped to 40 degrees. The water and air did not add up to the 100 degree rule. Getting off the water Ken headed for home, Harold to the campground and Tony went to Madison and the Cornerstone Brewery.

Back at camp Laurie entertained Paul Kerlin who brought club memorabilia to give to Collen who soon arrived with Steve and Liz. The trip leader brought chicken for the Soul Theme potluck. There was also black eye beans, jambalaya, baked beans, watermelon and cookies. After socializing for a while it was off to home for the day trippers and finishing the campfire for the campers. Still no rain fell for the entire weekend and with the strong winds you could hear the surf of Lake Erie beating the shoreline. The lake was out of view from the camping area but still close enough to walk to.

Sunday morning was still dry and the two tents came down early as Tony had 3 hours to get home by noon and Harold and Laurie had chores to do. All in all nice rivers to paddle wish it could be done in warmer weather with good water levels.

Group Picture

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