Lance arrived at the Crooked Creek Outpost campground near La Grange, Indiana, on Thursday afternoon, soon followed by Wil. Camp was set up and they scoped out the put-in and take-out for Fridays canoe trip. Tom arrived a while later and the 3 had dinner at camp. Ted and Connie had a mechanical problem while enroute so stayed in a hotel while awaiting repairs. Harold and Laurie arrived after dark and set up camp. It was beautiful weather and a quiet evening in the campground.
The next morning Gloria, Sebastian and Carter arrived for Fridays 7 mile canoe trip. Lance, Harold and Tom paddled solo, with Wil and Gloria paddling, and Sebastian and Carter teaming up. The group put in just below the Mongo dam and headed downstream. It was a great day with sunshine and nice temperatures. The river was fairly narrow and curvy with a steady current of around 2 mph. The water was mostly clear with a bit of brown tannin staining. They saw 2 mink and lots of turtles. The turtles were so used to seeing people they did not even get in the water when people approached. They saw a couple of people fishing and a group of 15 or so from northwest Ohio on the side of the river. The river slowed as they approached Nasby dam with lots of water lillies and a huge number of painted turtles. They decided to eat lunch at the dam pullout.
Nasby dam is an unusual "V" shaped dam. They were trying to decide the reason for the "V" shape, but it looked really interesting from downstream. The party of 15 caught up to them and they watched with amusement as they dragged their rented canoes over the crushed stone to the downstream put-in below the dam. They decided to eat lunch at the dam also. The rest of the trip was unremarkable, but did seem to go quickly. They took out at county road 390 and headed back to camp. Ted and Connie had arrived and set up camp. Ruth and Rhonda as well as Colleen and Liz arrived in the afternoon. After some relaxing and chatting it was realized just how much food the group had so it was decided that they would have a feast on Friday night in addition to Saturday night. They all got stuffed. The camp volleyball court was just across the path from their campsites so they were entertained with numerous games of high energy volleyball as well as an excellent fireworks display across the campground after dark. By evening the campground had many more campers than Thursday night.
Saturday morning was a fantastic, sunny, northern Indiana day. Gloria and Carter left Friday evening and were replaced by Andy and AJ. Saturdays canoeing was to be 10 miles from Indiana 327 to the Mongo Dam. The solo paddlers were the same as Friday along with Ruth and Rhonda in their kkkayaks. Tandem paddlers were Wil and Sebastian, Andy and AJ, Colleen and Liz. The shuttle was run and they met a small group of 3 boats putting on the river the same place as they were. The river was magnificent for several miles, with some excellent obstacles, shallow clear water, nice sunshine and shade. However, they soon ran into a torrent of people. Each group had at least 1 cooler and none seemed to be paddling, either drifting in the current or on the side of the river relaxing. It had gotten so busy that, rather than eating lunch at the campground, they decided to pull out completely for several hours until the hoard of people could get off the river.
Tom and Harold had enough and called it a day right there and brought their canoes back to the campsite. The rest took a long 4 hour lunch and lounged around the campsite. It worked out well that they camped there as they were able to get off the river a while. When they finally decided to get back on the river it looked initially like they had made a good decision as it was quiet when they left the campground. Again a great river with some nice obstacles to negotiate.....for about a mile. They again ran into the great hoard of people, some who they had passed 4 or 5 hours earlier on the river. There were hundreds of boats on that stretch of river. It was different to say the least for OHCRA. It was a new experience for all, but not one that they want to repeat anytime soon. The last mile or so the river widened out due to the Mongo dam, so the canoes and kkkayaks were 3 or 4 across most of the way, reminding everyone of an interstate. There was a backup of people either getting off the river at the dam or taking their boats around the dam. They eventually got loaded up and got out of there as soon as they could. Back at camp everyone made an excellent feast and sat around the fire and chatted as the stars came out.
Sunday was another beautiful day. No one in the group was interested in paddling so they had breakfast, packed up and headed out. Most everyone would like to do the river again.....on a weekday. It was a fun, challenging and beautiful river, but the popularity of the river was overwhelming. Judging from the boats they saw and people preparing to get on the river, it looked like Sunday was going to be another busy day on the Pigeon.