Little Muskingum River
August 12, 13, 14, 2011



Ring Family Home

The Little Muskingum River is located in the Wayne National Forest, northeast of Marietta Ohio. The history in the area dates back to the late 1700's when the Northwest Territories was just being explored. For most club members it is a three to five hour drive but it sure is worth it. The weekend's campsite was at the Ring Mill Campground. There is an old stone house that was built by the Ring family who had a gristmill and sawmill in 1846. Four generations of the Ring family lived in the house. The National Forest Service maintains the campground and while there is not water or electric available, the three campsites are free. Being "in the boonies" there is a complete absence of human sounds. It's the closest to true wilderness you can find in Ohio.

Tony was the first member to arrive for the outing, setting up camp around 2:00pm. He then went geocaching, driving the backcountry stone roads in search of treasures. Trip leader Jock pulled in at 5:00pm. He walked like Lurch of the Adams family due to a very sore back. However, being trip leader, he was dedicated to fulfilling his weekend duties. Sleeping in a tent on the ground probably didn't help his back but somewhere it has been said, "What doesn't kill you, makes you tougher". Harold and Laurie drove in around 7:30pm after having car troubles in route. The four sat around a nice campfire until bedtime at which point Lance and Guy showed up, after a four hour drive. This secluded area of Ohio is not always easy to get to. They slept under the stars enjoying the dew filled night air.

Face in Rock Formation

Saturday morning was beautiful as the cool morning air was a relief from the very hot summer the Midwest has experienced. As hot drinks were being created Tony almost blew himself up. He was using an alcohol stove fueled with Heet. He poured fuel into the stove and lit it. Alcohol burns very clean and clear and not seeing any flame, he thought it had not lit. As he was pouring more fuel into the hot stove, it blew flame out of the bottle, shooting four feet across the picnic table. Everything in the flames path was burning as was spilled fuel. Harold was standing nearby and could feel the concussion from the igniting fuel. Luckily, no one was hurt and the only loss was a glove that burnt and a melted baggie. Remember the I D 10 T rule: MAKE SURE ALL STOVES ARE COMPLETELY COOLED BEFORE ADDING ADDITIONAL FUEL.

Since Jocks back was still very sore, he ran shuttle for the group. Harold used Jocks poke boat while Tony, Lance and Guy went solo in canoes. Laurie did not paddle, as the water levels were very low. From camp to the Knowlton covered bridge is a 3.4-mile paddle. It was a test to see if they could boat further downstream as the water was so low. In fact, it was a test in reading the flow of the river. The difference of 1/2 an inch of water made for walking instead of paddling. At least the water was clear which helped in seeing the streambed. After two hours and lots of scraping, walking and cussing, the trip was abandoned. A 1 1/2-hour wait for Jock, who went into Marietta, gave them time to rest, nap and find a geocache that was hid in the covered bridge. There was wildlife to be seen on the river including turtles, fish, even a gar, herons, kingfishers and birds of prey. But the most noticed aspect of the trip was the deep human silence. Only the sounds of nature.

Baked Beans

Back at camp preparations eventually got under way for the potluck. With only six members, you would think there would not be much food. However, this was an OHCRA trip with two kinds of baked beans, hot dogs, scalloped potatoes, chicken and noodles and rice with salsa, hamburger and onions. It was a great meal.

The wood that Jock brought for the campfire was very seasoned locust and it burns very hot and slow. It was another beautiful evening for setting around a fire and talking the night away. Lance was going to sleep under the stars again but with a 30% chance of showers, he was talked into putting up his tent. Good thing. Around 1:00am, there was heavy thunder and lightening. Not a whole lot of rain fell but it was enough to raise the river slightly. Everything was still wet in the morning so everyone just kind of threw stuff in their vehicles. With the 3-4 hour drive home, no one paddled. Good byes were said and another OHCRA weekend closed.

The Little Muskingum area is the closest you can get to true wilderness in lots of Ohio and the members are looking forward to another trip in that area real soon.

Little Muskingum River

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