Paint Creek
June 21, 22, 23, 2013



Paint Creek Falls

Paint Creek and the whole Paint Creek Valley is a beautiful part of Ohio being located west of Chillicothe in the south central part of the state. The ancient mound building Indians enjoyed this area also as numerous earthen mounds attest to. The clubs goal for the weekend was to paddle from a former roadside park just east of Rapid Forge Road on St Rt 50, down to Chillicothe. Jock, Steve, Ted and Tony met Thursday evening at the Water's Edge Canoe Livery on St Rt 772. Owner Dwayne provided a huge campsite in the trees for the club which kept the rest of the livery open for many other activities. There was rain the week prior and the creek was very high earlier in the week but Thursday afternoon it looked great. A good current covered the rocks that can make paddling difficult in summer due to low water levels. A Jock campfire held off the mosquitoes and a slight chill as the four talked until bedtime. Being close to St RT 772 the campers heard cars, trucks and four wheelers during the evening, not to mention the neighbor's dog that barked ALL night long. Close to dawn the same neighbor had a rooster that took up where the dog left off. Both creatures continued for the duration of the weekend.

Friday morning the four members received a huge surprise. Checking the river, the water levels had went down at least two feet. The shoreline at the livery was now 20 feet wider. In talking with Dwayne they learned that the state had closed the dam gates upstream at Paint Creek State Park. Water levels drop fast but the USGS stream gauge still registered 424 cfs of water flow. Anything over 100cfs is paddleable according to the livery. The Friday shuttle commenced at 8:30am for a 14.36 mile canoe ride to Jones Levee Road. There is not a designated take out at that spot and the banks were as muddy as it gets. It was a very warm day with temps approaching 90 and full sun. Lots of birds sang their late spring/early summer songs but the mammals were staying out of the heat, except the human kind. Three miles below the put in is a rocky shelf that creates a water fall. Looking at the right side of the falls thoughts of running them entered and quickly exited the minds of the not so adventurous men. In lower water levels maybe but not that day. After a quick portage the 4 men and 3 canoes were back on the water. The only casualty was Jock losing a 30 year old canoe paddle. Jock and Steve were paddling tandem and got swept into some low hanging limbs. Jock dropped his paddle and it quickly disappeared into the falls. That leg of Paint Creek was delightful and peaceful to paddle. After the five hour outing there was a stop for ice cream while retrieving the shuttle vehicles.

Paint Creek Cliffs

Back at camp the livery was getting very busy. There was a Southern Ohio Cancer Survivors Party in for the evening. After they paddled, there was food and music until 10. Lots of pink shirts were everywhere. Member Butch unloaded gear and sat up camp with Liz joining the outing and setting up two tents. Found out her sister was coming for the weekend also. Wil and Gloria arrived followed by friends of Steve, Chuck and his son Sam. After dark, Harold and Laurie presented their faces rounding out the group for Friday. While enjoying the campfire and BS-ing, they learned that Captain Crunch of the cereal fame was not really a captain. He wears a commander's uniform but as children we never noticed! During the night the serenading of the dog and raids of raccoons kept deep sleep to a minimum. Adding to the mix was the country music upstream at a party on the other side of the river.

Saturday morning at day break the resident rooster took over for the dog, greeting the campers to another sunny, dry, hot day. Gloria went to Chillicothe for a quilting class; Laurie watched camp and the rest headed back to yesterdays take out for the next leg of the river. From Jones Levee bridge to camp was 11.5 miles and the river was fun. Not too low to scrape bottom but good current flow. An eagle greeted the canoers as did the other song birds. Again the mammals kept a low profile. Liz and her sister Jennifer capsized early in the trip. Jennifer had not been canoeing in 47 years but as any real trooper does, she hopped right back in the canoe and kept going. Those two were the coolest of anyone on the water. Eleven members were paddling in eight canoes. No kkkayaks this weekend except all the rentals from the three liveries on the river. The Sunday trip was scheduled for 6.5 miles but as people arrived at camp some wanted to continue on. Harold, Jock, Steve and Tony agreed to go, with Wil shuttling a vehicle for them. That extra 6.5 miles was some of the best of the river at that water stage. 17 miles total for the day. The take out at the Paint Street Bridge was terrible. The banks were muddy and a long portage was had to the car. But it was worth it.

Relaxing at Camp

At camp everyone relaxed until potluck time. Lance showed his noggin with Guy and his girlfriend arriving also. They had the livery shuttle them upstream for a float back to the livery. The potluck as always had enough food to feed an army. Corn on the cob, hotdog noodle casserole, danger dogs, salad, blueberry pie, strawberry short cake, etc. It is really good to be us! Chuck and Sam, Jenifer, Guy and his girlfriend headed for home leaving the rest to enjoy the hot humid evening around a smaller campfire. After everyone except Lance and Steve went to bed, some people came around looking for two kkkayakers that never returned from their outing. They were found much later, having missed the take out at the livery and ending up at the Paint Street Bridge. The lovely "talking Dog" took up chorus followed as usual by Rudy the Rooster.

Sunday again was a beautiful day. No one was paddling but Wil and Gloria had a breakfast surprise, cinnamon rolls wrapped in bacon. Steve added hash browns and ham to a wonderful SOFA style breakfast. Speaking of SOFA, they were paddling the same weekend as OHCRA camping upstream about six miles. The two paths did not cross but it could have been fun if they did. Other commitments saw members leaving to get home and soon the Paint Creek Weekend came to an end. Great weather, water levels, friends and health bestowed more memories in minds brimming with past outings on Ohio Rivers. Canoeing is a great way to see Ohio and dream of how the natives saw our gorgeous state.

Wooden Eagle

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