The weekend trip to the Mahoning River was a challenging but enjoyable event filled with obstacles, food and outdoor fun. Paddlers began showing up on Friday to the West Branch State Park in Ravenna Ohio. The campground was nestled next to the Michael J Kieran Reservoir and offered beautiful views and outstanding facilities. Joining our group of enthusiastic paddlers were Ron and Jilinda, Ruth, Laura, Rhonda, Eric and Mary, Steve, Harold, Colleen, Chuck and Rhondas friend Jill.
Saturday we started towards the river around 9. It was a clear morning and we were ready for our day on the river. We dropped the trailer off at a nearby golf course for our take out, as the proposed nature center was not finished, then travelled to the Foster Metro Park to began our 9 mile trip.
The Mahoning River was deeper than some of our past rivers fluctuating between about 5 - 8 feet deep with high banks surrounded by mostly woods and even a few homes in the more populated areas. There was a lot of debris in the river and though it was a marked water trail this trip was to become a real challenge. We took our canoes and kayaks over logs, trees and brush, portaged up steep banks through quick sand like mud and even pushed our way through live downed branches as we were not to be stopped. We did stop for lunch after our second impassable log jam and portaged our boats through the woods on the East side of the river and found an acceptable spot to launch for the second half our trip.
The OHCRA group worked well together and finished what should of been a three hour run in about 5 hours. We were a tired group ready for showers, food and beverages.
The theme for the potluck was "Grandmas Kitchen" and we shared corn on the cob, fried chicken, great side dishes and many other goodies made by our group from memories of earlier days. Everyone shared in conversation about our recent conquest and enjoyed good conversation around the tables and campfire.