Tony arrived at the River Bend Park in Elmore, Ohio on Friday morning. The village had given OHCRA permission to camp at the park for the weekend and even supplied a port-a-pot for their use. Harold pulled in soon after and tents were set up. It was a cold weekend with some sun, wind and lows in the mid to low 20's. But it was the first scheduled outing of the 2018 season and like the mailman, neither rain, sleet, snow, well you know.
Harold's canoe was thrown on Tony's canoe trailer and off they went, to Woodville, 6 miles upriver. After lunch at a local bar and grill they used the city park to launch their two solo canoes for a nice float back to camp. The USGS stream gauge was at 2.30 and the guys wished there was 6 to 10 more inches of water. There are lots of limestone shelves across the river creating even more shallow areas. Harold had to get out 5 - 6 times and they both had to portage a low head dam about a mile upstream of Elmore. They saw lots of wildlife, squirrels, geese, ducks, herons, deer and lots of songbirds darting around.
When the two paddlers arrived back at camp, Liz was there with her 13' x 13' wall tent, complete with wood stove. Ken came in followed by Steve and it took them all to set up that massive tent. But once it was up and a fire lite in the stove, it was nice and toasty. The temperature got to 43 Friday afternoon with sun but overnight it dipped to 21 degrees. Chuck joined the group followed by Laurie and close to dark Wil, his son Joe and granddaughter Lillian came to camp, in the cold. Tom, who had foot surgery a few weeks before came out to visit since it was so close to his home, but he left soon after dark. Some folks enjoyed the warmth of the tent while others enjoyed a roaring campfire until it was time to retire to very cold sleeping bags. Body heat works wonders when you have a good bag.
Saturday morning was cloudy with a little more wind than Friday. The tent folks cooked breakfast for everyone which was nice so as not to compete with the cold, numb fingers and gas stoves. Ron and Jlinda made a 2-hour drive to join the Saturday paddle. At 10:40 am 2 kkkayaks, 2 solo canoes, 2 tandem canoes and 8 members put on the water at camp for a 5-mile paddle downstream. The water levels were much better from Elmore down towards Oak Harbor. The wind picked up making exercise for arm muscles not used all winter. Lillian was kkkayaking for the first time. It took her awhile to get the hang of it and everyone decided she paddle 8 miles instead of 5 with all the zig zagging. Hardly any wildlife was out but they did see a flock of turkeys, the geese and an eagles nest but no eagle. There is a low head dam in the 5 miles and most portage around it. Chuck and Ken ran it with no problems.
Steve played shuttle man and got everyone back to camp where he also had hot chili soup waiting for the cold, hungry paddlers. Jamie came out for the day even spending the night in the "hot tent" as it came to be called. Harold and Laurie had to head for home as did Ron and Jlinda before the big potluck. Chuck and Tony went to Oak Harbor playing around while the others relaxed in the "hot tent". Around 6 the potluck began and as always, there was lots of food. The same scenario played out as the night before with some folks enjoying the tent and others at the campfire.
Sunday was the worst day yet. The morning was overcast but very windy. If the tents were not staked down, they would have been gone. Another wonderful breakfast was cooked by Liz, Steve and Wil. They sure could get spoiled by having hot food ready every morning. It soon was time to take the "hot tent" down leaving the potage river outing a memory. 14 members participated at one point or another, not too bad for a chilly March in Ohio. Until next month...
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