Mad River
August 23, 24, 25, 2013

By Jock



Jock's Tent

Bevan and I arrived at the Birchbark Canoe Livery at approximately 5:30pm Friday evening. As I knew from previous outings there, I knew where the campgrounds were. We proceeded to ford the little creek that flows between the campgrounds and the canoe livery. We got on the campground side and found out that we were not camping where we usually camp. Come to find out, Ted had arrived at noon expecting to reserve that section for us. He was too late. Someone else was already occupying "our" spot. So we had to go back towards the back of the campgrounds, which some of us thought that it was better, anyway.

Bevan and I proceeded to unload our gear. I had taken my large 6-man tent, which I very seldom use. I had forgotten how to set it up. It didn't help matters that some of the poles were split and the shock cords were broken. We proceeded to set up the tent with Ted's help. We got it up and saw that it was leaning and we could not get it to sit up straight. So Ted thought that we had one too many poles on one side. I said "no, we're missing one". I looked all around for another pole and could not find any. I told Ted, "maybe you're right". So we proceeded to take one pole off one side and put it on the other side. That didn't work, it just leaned in another direction. We decided that we did need another pole. We cut a small branch of an invasive specie bush, whittled one end down to fit. That worked real well. We then finished setting up the tent. Ted happened to look under a bush close to the tent and found the missing pole. Needless to say, we did not switch the branch with the pole--the heck with it!

Mad River

As we were finishing up getting our gear squared away, Steve called me and said that he, Erica and Chuck were stopping at Wendy's at Ubana to eat before they came in. Bevan and I decided to join them there. By the time we arrived we met them coming out of the restaurant as we were walking in. They decided that they were burning too much daylight and wanted to get setup before dark. They took off for camp. By the time Bevan and I got back to the camp, they were set up and Paul Kerlin had arrived and set up, also. Bevan started a fire and the rest of us pulled our chairs up around it. Liz and Colleen pulled in sometime after dark, set up camp and joined us around the campfire. I kept nodding off, so I finally gave up around 10pm and went to bed. The others were still going strong.

Saturday morning's shuttle was at 9am. We were on the road at 8:57am. How's that for timing?!! We parked my truck and trailer along with Ted's SUV at another Canoe Livery in Springfield. We had to pay $5 per vehicle to park there but it was worth it. We could drive right down to the river to load up everything. We got on the river around 10 am. I was disappointed that we did not see hardly any wildlife at all. I saw a couple of kingfishers and signs of muskrats. That was it. Chuck got out of his kayak and helped all the rest of us slide over a small low head dam. Ted dumped and everything got wet that wasn't in bucket or bag including his map. After that he could not tell where we were on the river. Liz and Colleen opted to portage around it. We had smooth going until we came to a strainer where Liz and Colleen dumped. A limb sticking out was going to hit Liz in the chest and she leaned to one side to avoid it and over they went! Liz"s canoe is unforgiving. Paul Kerlin helped them get going again. No further mishaps the rest of the day. We got to the takeout, loaded up, and headed back to camp. We paddled 14 miles total.

Lunch Stop

Of course, we had to stop and get ice cream on the way back. No one got any traffic tickets this time like Ted did last year going through this little burg where the ice cream store was located. Got back to camp and Lance was there to greet us. He had driven in from Ft. Wayne and was planning on paddling with us on Sunday. Erica was off to play in the creek with some of the kids that she had met at the camp grounds. The rest of us relaxed and prepared for the feast. We had plenty to eat. Everything was real good. Steve had soaked some corn and he roasted it in the husk over a wood fire. It was mighty tasty. We spent the rest of the evening around the fire eating peanuts and shooting the breeze. Again, I was the first one to hit the sack. I'm not much of a night owl.

Sunday, Lance was going to rent a canoe because he did not bring his, but he did not like any of the canoe livery's canoes. He offered to ride up to the put in with us and drive my truck back to camp. At 9:09 am we were on the road. Ted opted out of the Sunday trip. The rest of us paddled 5 miles in no time with no mishaps. The water was moving 3 mph. We saw a blue heron on the river along with a couple of kingfishers. Back at camp we all packed up. Liz and Colleen headed to Cleveland, Chuck, Erica and Steve to Galion. Paul was taking a short bicycle ride before heading to Clyde. Lance was off to scout the Wabash River in Ohio for a possible future trip before heading back to Ft. Wayne. Bevan and I was off to see Simon Kenton's Monument before heading to the Hocking Hills.

It was a picture perfect weekend for canoeing. NOTE: Proofread by Miss Deborah as I speak and write in "Hockinese".

Sunday Putin

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