Harold, Tony and Wil met at the Covington, Ohio Community Park on Thursday evening. The Village of Covington gave them permission to camp in the park but the March weather was very nasty. Strong winds with tornado watches, rain and cold temperatures abounded so the village manager offered them the use of a small enclosed shelter house for only $60.00 for the weekend. They jumped at the idea and soon had 2 cots and one small tent set up inside. With two small electric heaters the shelter stayed comfortable but not summer like. There were no restrooms opened nor any running water so alternative plans were made for those. They had carry all gear around 75 yards because the shelter was in the middle of the park away from the parking lot. After socializing until midnight it was time for shut eye.
The trio slept until 8:30 in the morning. Very little light filtered into the shelter and the sleeping bags were too warm to want to leave. After cooking separate breakfasts talk of canoeing in the unpleasant weather turned negative. Canoeing was out of the question for the day. Member Brad met the guys, pulling his recently bought pop up camper. He had permission to park it in the parking lot for the weekend and after getting it set up the four took a sightseeing trip. First stop was to Greenville Falls just outside of Covington. The water was high, muddy and very fast. Rain was spitting and strong winds soon chased them back into the vehicle. Driving the back roads of Miami into Darke Counties they soon encounter the Bears Mill. The old grist mill is on the Greenville Creek which the club has paddled in the past. They got the grand tour of the mill, bought some goods and headed into Greenville for lunch. Danny's Place right downtown had the usual bar food and beer and they were entertained as the staff decorated for St. Patrick's Day. The men's restroom had a one-way mirror which made a person feel uncomfortable while using the facilities. After lunch it was back to camp.
Wil had to show off his new Wal-Mart tent. A $50.00 four season tent for $20.00. Harold had his new homemade, cone shaped windbreaker for an alcohol stove that his skillet fits on one end and flipped over the coffee pot fits. Brad of course had his camper and poor Tony only had a 100-foot extension cord on a spool that got so hot with the electric heater that it almost caught fire. It took a while to figure out what the odor was in the shelter but one touch of the extension cord it was very clear. After playing some games it was time to go downtown Covington for more food. The "Ya All Corner Bar" was first and when they stepped inside, all the locals looked at them, no, stared at them. It was dart tournament night and the locals thought they were there to hustle them. After getting one beer they got out of that place. Next was the End Zone Sports Bar. Drinks, food and games of pool were had then it was back to camp for games of Yahtzee until midnight.
Up on Saturday at 8:30 am to 30° sun but a breeze. Harold was not feeling well and decided to head for home but not until helping shuttle Tony's vehicle downstream. Brad and Tony were paddling tandem and Wil was going solo in canoes. USGS stream gauge read 3.67 feet. As Wil was putting his canoe in the water it rolled on him christening his feet, legs and knees in the cold water. He was fine and at 11:10 am the three paddled away from the park heading downstream. They tried to paddle upstream on the Greenville to see the falls from the base, but the water was too swift. Just downstream where the Greenville flows into the Stillwater is a huge rock dam that required a portage. Back on the water they moved fast. 5-6 mph. A low head dam caused another portage then the river split sending Brad and Tony up on a rock in the middle of the split. They teetered a bit then broke loose heading on the left side. Wil took the right and had to exit the canoe and line it around a bad area. The 5.25-mile trip seemed to take longer than it did but soon the St. Rt.718 bridge came into view. After a muddy drag to the trailer everything was loaded and they headed back to Covington for lunch at Buffalo Jacks. They had now hit every restaurant they could find in town. Deciding to go home to warmer surroundings everyone was on the road by 3:30 calling the Stillwater Outing over.
The Stillwater is going to get tamed maybe later this summer or next. It looks like it can be too shallow in the hot summer months and may have to be a spur of the moment trip. Time will tell. Until next month!!!