Olentangy River
8-22, 23, 24, 2017



Olentangy River

The August outing was originally scheduled to be on Symmes Creek in southeastern Ohio. After a long scouting trip, leader Ted decided the creek was too small and clogged with debris to paddle, along with a lack of camping opportunities. Stepping back and punting, Tony took the month and scoped out the upper Olentangy River near Caledonia, Ohio. Being centrally located in the state, it saved travel time for many folks. The Riverbend Campground just south of the crossroads community of Claridon was secured for the weekend with 3 wonderful primitive sites and lots of room for all.

Tony arrived early afternoon and set up his teardrop camper then headed back home to get a canoe trailer. Not long after Tom pulled in and set up his tent. Ted and Connie came with their home on wheels, the full size van. Harold and Laurie were next followed throughout the day by Jonathan, Alice, Steve, Coleen and Lance. A pot of chili was made along with biscuits and everyone played, socialized and enjoyed a campfire. The weather was beautiful with temps in the mid 70's and low humidity.

Cutting Tree

Saturday morning was on the cool side for August but sure beat some of the hot, humid weather from earlier in the month. Tony made a sausage, biscuit casserole in a dutch oven since no one was in a hurry to get motivated. In fact the shuttle didn't even start until 10:30 since the trip was only 5 miles. After loading everything in the trailer it was upstream to a Marion County Park called Terradise. It's just a stone parking lot along the river where a stone canoeing launch ramp was built years ago. A major log jam blocked the river and has eroded most of the launch area away. The Olentangy looked on the low side with the USGS stream gage reading 1.55' but into the water they did go, wading to get canoes into some deeper water.

Not far into the run there were some trees in the water and more trees and even some more trees. The Emerald Ash Borer had killed so many ash trees that they were falling every which way, like toothpicks dropped on a counter. Since there isn't a canoe livery on the Olentangy, there hasn't been any reason for anyone to clear the river. Tony tired chopping some limbs but the scope of what it would take to clear their way through was too tremendous. The only folks adventurous (or dumb enough) to tackle the paddle was Harold, Jonathan, Steve, Tony and Coleen. It took 3.5 hours to make the 5 miles back to camp. Lots of climbing over trees, under trees and around trees made for a workout. At one larger tree half out of the river, Harold pulled his canoe across while standing on the tree. While trying to get back in, the canoe moved away and Harold hit the water in between the canoe and tree. At least it was a nice day to swim.

Dragging Canoe

Harold saw a flock of wild turkeys and there were also kingfishers, buzzards and those damn geese. All the other wildlife was absent. Around 2:30 pm they arrived at camp and pulled the canoes up a steep hill then took a much needed rest. Tom and Lance stayed around camp while the others went into Marion for lunch. Tony and Alice's grandson showed up and later Jonathan's Wife Sherry and children James and Torrence came by. 15 members were now enjoying the campground which was very clean, nice and kid friendly. Tony and Alice had their 3 yorkies in camp and there were dogs all over the entire place. Games were being played while whittling away the rest of the afternoon.

Soon it was potluck time. Bratwurst, sweetcorn, potato salad, baked beans, fruit, cheese, etc graced the table and everyone was content. Addison went off fishing and Jonathan's kids went to the playground. Riverbend has lots of entertainment available for kids and adults. In fact Saturday evening was casino night and Harold, Laurie, Alice and Tony spent a couple hours playing craps for fun. The firewood was finished off before midnight as the last person hit the hay.

Sunday morning was relaxing and slowly folks got around and packed. By noon the campsites were empty and the August outing was history.


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