Birchbark Canoe Livery, north of Urbana, Ohio was the destination for the monthly outing. The new owners graciously gave the club a discount on the primitive camping fee and up to 11 members took advantage of the offer. Tom arrived Thursday evening and enjoyed the area to himself. Friday Brad showed up soon followed by Coleen, Ron, Jlinda, trip leader Lance, Tony, Ted, Connie and finally Harold and Laurie. A couple quick trips were planned for the very humid afternoon with Lance taking Brad, Collen, Ron, Jlinda and paddled from the ODNR access off St Rt 296 down to St Rt 36 for a distance of 3-4? miles. Tom and Tony got a shuttle up to Lippincott Road for a 6-mile paddle back to camp. After canoeing (there were no kkkayaks) a few folks went to Urbana for wings and beer before the evenings campfire and games of poker. After retiring for the night the warm, humid air released its moisture as the pitter patter of raindrops lured the campers asleep.
Saturday morning it was still sprinkling around 7:30am so the folks were slow to exit the dry shelters. Coleen had a screen room sat up and Ted added an easy up next to it. With a giant tarp thrown over both and Harold and Tony's plywood picnic tables added in, it created a wonderful area for cooking and socializing. Talk got around to the day's trip and the 14 miles downstream to St Rt 41 was scheduled. The shuttle vehicles were staged and 6 canoes with 7 people shoved off from Birchbark at 11:04am. A late start but the Mad River was flowing so fast and clear that even with a short lunch stop, the take out was reached in 4.5 hours.
The shoreline of the Mad shows lots of animal runs from the water to the surrounding corn fields and stocks of corn were lining the shore. Beavers are the only animal they could decide were doing it and at one small stream flowing in, there was a beaver dam part way up it. There wasn't much other wildlife seen except the usual squirrels, blue herons and song birds. There were other folks on the river, some canoe livery, others in private kkkayaks just floating, fishing and drinking. One group had 6 or 7 kkkayaks with one guy pulling a kkkayak just filled with coolers. At the dreaded "S" curve, were everyone has problems, two of those folks capsized along with Harold from our group. The pressure of water is so unpredictable and the trees around that curve and a few other areas made for tricky maneuvering. It rained on the trip...but only for 10 minutes. A one spot the canoeists paddled into fog for a few hundred yards then paddled right out of it. Pretty eerie. The take out at the St Rt 41 bridge is nice with a stone/gravel bar and well-worn path to the vehicles with plenty of parking. Quickly the boats were loaded and back to camp they went.
It was getting close to pot luck time and everyone was hungry from the upper body exercise. In no time there was fire cooked chicken legs, Dutch oven potatoes, baked beans, tomato salad, cowboy caviar, corn on the cob, peach crepes, cookies and more forgotten about. Games were played, people talked and soon it was campfire time. The evening was mostly clear and the Persaids Meteor shower was happening. A few shooting stars were seen by some.
Sunday morning was cooler with the cold front that came through. Around 6:30am the livery workers arrived, then at 7:00 the Boy Scouts that were camping close to the club drove through to pack up for church, so folks moved a littler early from those nylon shelters called tents. Some planned to paddle from the Lippincott Road access back to camp and at 9:30 their shuttle took off. Others sat in the morning sunshine relaxing. The day promised to be beautiful and as the day progressed members one by one headed for home finishing another wonderful OHCRA weekend.
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